We’re back from Hawaii (Oahu) and it was an amazing trip! I’ll share with you about what we saw and I’ll give you an update on the not so “Winter” weather we’ve been having. It’s funny. While Pam and I were sitting on Waikiki Beach last week, we got a text from Kandace and she said, “It’s 74 degrees here!” I looked at my phone and it was 82 in Oahu. Only 8 degrees difference! So, much for going to the Hawaiian Islands to escape winter! 🙂 More on that in a moment…
Let me share with you some initial thoughts on the trip.
First, Oahu and the beaches of Waikiki and the North Shore are absolutely phenomenal. There is no question about that. (No surprise there…that’s what you would expect, right?) Pam and I were truly amazed at how blue (crystal clear) the water was in Oahu.
That’s a view from what is called: “Sandy Beach,” where the movie “Here to Eternity” was filmed back in the day. See how clear and blue the water is?
Here’s a shot of the beach at Waikiki.
Here’s the thing that got me at Waikiki. It’s the number of homeless people who just roam the beach, the streets and the public areas. Sometimes you couldn’t even get a seat at a public picnic area because of all the homeless and panhandlers. And the thing is…they will walk right up to you and ask for your bag(s). True story. It was a bit eerie. And the truth is, it’s hard to know how to help people. I want to help people and yet, I don’t want to empower their degradation. So, it’s hard to know what to do.
Some interesting facts…
- There are no snakes on Oahu.
- Most homes don’t have A/C or Heat. The temps average in the 70’s year round.
- Crime is very low. After all, where are they going to go to escape (they’re on an island).
- People have actually built homes in dormant volcano craters. (Not me! I’d never have the guts!)
- Pineapples don’t grow on trees. They grow above the ground and the leaves are razor-sharp.
One of the neatest parts of the trip was visiting Pearl Harbor. It was surreal. To know that 1,177 died on the USS Arizona alone was sobering to say the least. The remains of the men are still entombed beneath the water and a memorial rests on top of it now.
See that film on the surface of the water (below)…
That’s oil still seeping up from the USS Arizona after 74 years. Amazing! And get this. There are fish living in those waters and thriving. Why? Because the oil is not as refined as it is now (making it so dangerously deadly and toxic). The US Navy guide told us the oil back then was like the consistency of jelly and was nothing like it is today.
Here’s the one that got me…
Those are the name of the 1,177 who died on the Arizona at the hands of the Japanese.
But, look closer…
See the name: “C.M. Brown?” I looked for the “Browns” and I saw that name. That was the initials of my grandfather’s name. No, it wasn’t my grandfather who was killed at Pearl Harbor. But, what shook me was the fact that my grandfather was stationed in Puerto Rico during WWII. But, that was someone’s “C.M. Brown.” That was a family who was devastated by Dec. 7, 1941. A day that truly has lived in “infamy” as our President, Franklin D. Roosevelt said it would.
Here’s the draft of his speech to the nation.
Take a look at this man and notice the missing digits on his middle finger of his right hand.
He’s only 1 of 7 remaining survivors from Pearl Harbor who remain alive today. His name is Delton Walling. He is 94-years-old. He was on the USS Pennsylvania in the command tower, when the Japanese attacked. He shares his story with visitors and I had my picture taken with him. Why? Because he’s a hero!
Those missing digits on his finger?? He had “stiff-finger” and was told by the Navy Recruiter he couldn’t enlist in the war. Walling asked, “What can I do to change that?” The recruiter said, “Cut off your finger.” Well, that’s exactly what Walling had done and he entered the Navy. How many young men do you know today who would do that? I know of very few. Whatever you might think of war and protecting the nation…this man showed courage, tenacity and bravery and for that I’m exceedingly grateful! Pearl Harbor left an indelible mark on my life.
By the way, interestingly, I would estimate that more than half of the visitors and tourists on the island of Oahu are Japanese. There were very few at the memorial when we visited last week. Pearl Harbor is a blemish on that nation’s history. It was senseless and ruthless. Yet, forgiveness reigns in the hearts of most Americans (as it should). War is Hell. It truly is. Because we (the United States) retaliated with Nagasaki and Hiroshima (nuclear bombs). Again, whatever your view of war…the men and women who fought for and protected our nation are to be commended and honored for doing their job and giving us the very freedoms we enjoy at this very moment.
There is so much more I want to say. It will have to wait. I’ll update more when I get a minute. That’s a quick summary for now. More to come…
Oh…on the note of our 25th wedding anniversary… This lady is amazing!
This was the last picture Pam and I took together before we headed to the airport yesterday. Let’s just say, “I’m an extremely blessed man!” Why God gave Pam to me I’ll never know. I mean that. I don’t deserve her. I never have and I never will. I’m grateful the Lord took pity on me. Truly, I would never survive as a Pastor without her. That’s the 100% total truth! She’s a fantastic mother and grandmother too! Thanks Pam! Thanks for all you do for me, the family and the church. You are a jewel of unspeakable worth and I praise the Lord for you every day!
Now to the weather…
Is it December or September? Crazy weather! What’s up!
The main thing is El Nino. This has been the strongest El Nino on record. The warmth is declining, but it’s slower than forecasters thought. And it’s gotten all the weather prognosticators worried. They are worried, because they really thought that there would be a flip in the weather pattern by mid-December. This is true of Ray’s Weather, the Weather Channel, Joe Bastardi (Weatherbell Analytics), the Farmer’s Almanac and Judah Cohen (lead forecaster of Atmospheric and Environmental Research). All of these outlets have forecasted a colder and snowier winter and most said we’d have snow on the ground by Christmas. (I shared that several weeks ago.)
Obviously that’s not happening. In fact, we will likely see record high temps for Christmas. Yes, it’s going to cool down for about three days (Friday through Sunday), but we’ll be back in the oven (with temps projected to be in the 60’s to possibly around 70 for Christmas). Crazy!!! So, what’s the deal? Simple. The pattern hasn’t flipped and there is concern that this El Nino has been so strong that it could last through the early part of January with warmer temps into the middle of the month. But, they are all still predicting a “flip” to the pattern where the western US (which is seeing extreme cold and snow) will go warmer, while the eastern US (which is blow-torch hot) will go colder for the remainder of the winter from mid-Jan to late March. Remember, winter is defined from “flake to flake.” First flake to last flake. So, if you’re a snow lover, don’t give up hope quite yet. It looks like it could be a lot like last winter. Remember, we had kind of a “late winter,” and the same could be true again this year.
I will say this. The “teleconnections” in the atmosphere, (which are some very complicated inter-mixing weather patterns that are too detailed and over my head to try to explain), are still leaning to colder. Judah Cohen says it this way:
“This is the most critical time of year for energy transfer… and will likely determine the state of the stratospheric polar vortex in January and weather conditions… for the second half of the winter. …The very mild temperatures will persist likely right through the New Year. …We expect a reversal to much colder winter weather for the Eastern United States and/or Europe for the latter half of January and into February. However, if their isn’t a meaningful change in the polar vortex, there is little reason to anticipate any long term deviations from the mild to very mild temperatures in eastern North America and/or Europe.”
See how he hedged his bets with that last statement? That’s a weather forecaster for ya! I’m scared to say anything anymore because even the smart guys can’t figure out the weather and I guess that’s the way the Lord wants it. And after all…you could just move to Oahu and live with no A/C or heat in the mid-70’s year round. LOL!