Published in The Rafu Shimpo on Dec. 12, 2012

They have left. Departed. Vanished. I think. Maybe.

Following a routine “tap tap tap” visit Tuesday, Nov. 6, the “O’s” left without warning or so much as a parting sayonara. After daily visits since March, often multiple times, Haruo and Haruko O-bah-keh disappeared as abruptly as they came. Inexplicable.

As the silent mornings mounted, I checked off each day with crossed fingers, hoping against hope for their return. I was so accustomed to their presence, the voice was a daily disappointment. Three long weeks passed. It was time to give up the ghost, so to speak, and notify CR2S readers of their disappearance.

Then, Wednesday, 28th of November, 3:42 a.m., Haruko returned!

First of all, for whatever reason, I was awake for the joyous moment. Secondly, the echo was a rhythmic *“tap — pause — tap tap tap — pause — tap tap.” The identical synchronization that son Jeff uses every time he announces his arrival. For a split second, I thought it was until I looked at the clock. A smile followed in quiet pleasure; I turned over and went gu-gu in sound, contented sleep. [*The tapping was rhythmic and soft, a feminine touch, ergo Haruko. The following morning, Thursday at 1:43, there was a single ring of the telephone. Most assuredly another sign everything was back to normal.]

Fast-forward to Saturday, Dec. 8. There had been another 12 days of absence and nary a knock nor a turtle dove. This time I had a sinking feeling the nine-month adventure had come to an end, the “O’s” were gone for good; I started to compose an appropriate obituary column.

When that happens: This past Sunday at 3:01 there is a soft, almost delicate “tap tap,” and at 3:39 the now familiar telephone ring. I guessed an announcement of her return. But the no-shows began again Monday. [To be continued.]


My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry. — Maya Angelou

As CR2S faithful know, I’m a collector/believer of stuff like the above. Whether an adage, proverb or golden saying, matters not; a few simple words can be so timeless and memorable. Give it a thought: What comes to your mind after reading those 11 words?

I plucked it out of my memory bank because I’ve noticed so many JA obituary notices lately. To me it describes the difference between upbeat daytime celebrations of life (laughter) that have replaced the lengthy, old-fashioned evening funeral services (crying); less maudlin with younger eulogists voicing upbeat recollections.

CR2S can’t help but take not of the rapid decline of the Nisei generation. It’s a shame there isn’t a joyous social event on the docket that can lure the few who remain to a last hurrah. A calendar has only 12 pages, our clocks only so many ticks. Giving a warm embrace is much preferred over koden.

Maybe that’s why, for the first time in eons, I allowed a birthday to whisk by without so much as a “Where’s my present?” demand.

The problem with being a late *Sagittarian, besides being an archer with a horse’s behind, is you’re too close to Thanksgiving. Almost like having a Christmas birth date; there’s so much rejoicing and celebrating going on, a natal date is easily overlooked. [*A brave and victorious Trojan warrior; unlike the present-day kind.]

Instead of a complaining commentary, I let the 25th slide by like any other ordinary November Sunday.

In quiet remembrance, I did allow myself a bit of free-form reminiscing:My mother always baked a chocolate cake for me, allowing a cherubic yan-cha to scarf down the leftover icing. In Stalag Poston, we allowed holidays and birthdays to slide by without much ado. I remember making a ring out of a toothbrush handle; polishing Arizona rocks into shiny, gleaming rocks; then lacked the stones to make them presents for a special agate.

Even after reaching maturity, the lure of getting something for nothing enticed. Remember the days of gas station giveaways? S&H Green Stamps. Fast-food mugs and cups. I have, and still wear, quality Santa Anita giveaways that date to days gone by. When I go to See’s Candy to resupply my peanut brittle, I welcome the freebie of the day. Even if it’s a hated soft-center.

If you ask my age, no longer do I answer the question with a question: “How old do you think I am?” Or a gruff and crotchety “Old enuf. I quit counting.”

This year my heartfelt response is a very sincere “Too damn old!”


W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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