Tahoe Pine Nuts: The grandfather of all embarrassments
Special to the Bonanza
A few doors down from KNUI radio was Auntie Henrietta’s Laundry Mat. Auntie Henrietta was the nicest lady on the Valley Island of Maui. I would drop off a basket full of dirty tennis socks, shirts and shorts on Monday, and Tuesday morning would find that basket on my desk at the station full of nice clean, folded clothes, smelling like plumeria.
On rare occasions, a Japanese lady would get in ahead of my clothes and lomilomi some squid that her husband had caught in the reef that morning. I guess it worked pretty well to put your squid in the washer, without soap of course, and run it through the spin cycle.
The only problem was, when my clothes went into the next wash, well, I would smell like squid for a week. That only happened a couple of times, but I lost the same girlfriend … twice.
One particular Tuesday I forgot to take my basket full of clean clothes home to Sprecklesville and awakened Wednesday morning to an empty closet. But no matter, I knew I had a basket full of fresh, clean clothes waiting for me at work.
So, I pulled on my helmet, wrapped a lavalava around my waist, slid into my running shoes, jumped onto my motorcycle and rode into a warm Maui sunrise. This was to be the longest ride of my life.
As I made my turn into Kaahumanu Center, in the middle of the busiest intersection on the Valley Isle, my lavalava got caught up in the sprocket of my rear wheel and pulled off my body.
I climbed off my bike, now wearing nothing but a helmet and running shoes, and yanked on the towel, but it wouldn’t come. It was stuck and so was I. Damn. I couldn’t leave the bike in the middle of the intersection, so I dragged it up onto the median while passing motorists shouted noteworthy and memorable salutations. Then I took off running for the radio station.
As I ran through the parking lot of the shopping center, the security guard thought he had a live one and started chasing me in his little put-put, but I outran him and arrived at the backdoor of the station all out of breath.
Having left my key to the station in the ignition of my bike, I pounded on the door hard enough for Fred Dudulao to hear me from the control room, where he was finishing up the “Pilipino Hour.”
Feeling a little apprehensive, Fred opened the door just a crack, saw a naked man wearing a helmet with a fogged-up visor and slammed the door shut again. I took off my helmet and shouted, “Fred, it’s me, McAvoy, please let me in before I get arrested!” Thankfully, Fred reopened the door and I was home free.
Thirty years later, while crossing a street at Lake Tahoe, a fellow rolled down the window of his truck and shouted, “Hey, McAvoy, the last time I saw you, you were naked in the middle of Kaahumanu Avenue!”
I imagine at my funeral somebody will stand up and recall that incident, while I turn quietly onto my stomach in the casket.
To learn more about McAvoy Layne, who’s spent many of his years at Lake Tahoe impersonating Marl Twain, visit http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
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