Oh, Blow The Man Down, Bullies, Blow The Man Down. Way Aye Blow The Man Down.
Kauai. Sunrise. Not a breath of wind. Chuck swam into a perfect day. His buddies bobbed ahead of him in the huge swells. He took a thousand pictures in his head.
Swimming strong with his flippers and handboards he felt the surging tide tug him along. When he looked up again, there was another wave. Then another. He had just enough time to kick the fourteen feet down to the bottom and bury his handboards in the sand. Holding on.
When the wave hit, the impact blew out his eardrums.
It was the hardest he’d ever been hit. By anything.
Until he found out he had cancer.
“It’s starboard and larboard on deck you will sprawl. Way aye blow the man down.”
On his 60th birthday Chuck was set to sail out of Hale O Lono Harbor. His dog Kula sensed something was wrong. She was on deck. Wouldn’t stop barking. Chuck wondered what was wrong with her. When he went to check on her he felt dizzy. Like something was wrong with him. Then he passed out on the foredeck.
The last thing he remembered was being loaded in an ambulance. He woke up three weeks later in the hospital with a tangle of tubes sticking out of him. Chuck had widely metastatic colon cancer.
That hit harder than the waves that almost killed him. Harder than Hurricane Katrina hit when captained in the Gulf of Mexico.
“ Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down. Way aye blow the man down.”
Except for Kula, Chuck doesn’t have any family. What he does have is excellent care from the staff at Hospice Hawaii. And something he truly values. The freedom to live out his remaining days exactly as he wants to. On his own terms. On his boat. With Kula. Buoyed by the sea breeze and the tide.
He’s already found a home for Kula, when the time comes. Until then he plays the guitar a Hospice Hawaii supporter gave him. Chuck gave his treasured Taylor guitar away to a kid on Molokai who helped him with the boat when he was too weak to do the work himself. Chuck doesn’t have much, but thanks to the very unique care
from Hospice Hawaii, he has what he values most. His dignity.
“Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him away. Give me some time to blow the man down!”