Just Tricks, No Treats.

Halloween 1989, Honolulu Hawaii

Halloween 1989, Honolulu Hawaii

Halloween in Honolulu is a big deal. It’s almost like Mardi Gras – people are really into it; I suspect because it breaks up the monotony of Island Life. You know, wearing Reyn Spooner aloha shirts and board shorts every day.

In 1989, for the office festivities, I dressed up as my boss, Lonnie. At the time, I was still active duty military, but Lonnie was a civilian – back then, there just weren’t a lot of genius-level computer guys in uniform, so amongst the nerds, there was a mixture of military and civilians pushing the ones and zeros. Now, Lonnie was very well known among the various agencies at the PJKK (Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Federal Building, now just the Prince Kūhiō Federal Building; where my office was). This was not only because he pretty much ran the systems in the 14th District; he was also super, super friendly, and despite being from Boston, he had made Hawai’i his home, and embraced the culture (and taught me to do so, as well). My costume was perfect, if I do say so myself. Grayed my hair, had a pager, giant cell phone (this was 1989, after all), keys and calculator on my belt, plus a pocket protector that was maxed out on implements, a copy of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Boston magazine, and I bought the most polyester pants and nerd shirt I could find. it was perfect, and my colleagues, both in my agency and throughout the PJKK got a huge chuckle out of it. Now, Lonnie was on vacation back in Boston during this time, so he didn’t get to see it, but when he returned and saw photos on the bulletin board, he actually thought it was him, and couldn’t remember being in the pictures. So, yeah, he got the joke, and appreciated the homage. That’s the kind of guy he was – never took things too seriously, and could always laugh at himself. One of the many things I learned from him.

As time went by, he became more than just my boss – he became my mentor, and more importantly, my friend. When I first moved to Hawai’i, I had no desire to be a computer nerd. None. But Lonnie showed me that the nerds would inherit the earth, and sure enough, he was right (not to mention it’s where the money is). After I moved to DC, our paths crossed occasionally at various IT conferences, and my career had taken me to the same level as he was, and he was clearly proud of what I had accomplished. I owe a lot of my success to Lonnie. Good guy, great mentor, and great friend. It’s been a number of years since we last spoke – that’s how life works; people drift apart.

I found out yesterday that Lonnie passed away at the age of 77. I am completely crushed (not to mention anti-social right now). Thanks for everything, Lonnie – I owe you more than I could ever express.

Since I'm talking about Halloween in Hawaii, this is 1988. Look closely - no, not at me. Yep, that's her. Frick, this was 29 years ago.

Since I’m talking about Halloween in Hawaii, this is 1988. Look closely – no, not at me. Yep. Frick, this was 29 years ago. I feel very old right now.