You've probably heard by now that Don Ho died. Once upon a time he was huge. He was one of the reasons mainlanders flocked to Hawaii.
You know the image: His guitar strumming Hawaiian songs, shared around a mock mai tai table. It brings a smile to my face. Ho's Hawaiian shirt and beaming face were fixtures of 1970s television, back in the day when broadcasting was still broad.
The nation was in turmoil, young folks were dying overseas, the status quo was in heave ho, and Don just did his thing. He was big time mellow. In a way he was a precursor to Jimmy Buffet, though he was so mellow he made Mr. Margaritaville look like he needed prozac.
Somewhere in my brain there is a lounge act where Ho is always singing. The palm trees are swaying, the man's got a smile on his face, some kind of pineapple juice concoction is chillin' — and so am I.
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By Harry Smith