Go Ask Daddy About Fellow Passengers, Childish Children, and the Legacy of a Hawaiian Legend

stormtrooper cereal cinnamon toast crunch

Ben Kenobi spoke to me again.

GAD GRAPHICNot actually Obi Wan. But, the voice. Know how he told Luke after he self-incinerated him when he was losing a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader – Use the Force, Luke? Only to me, he says stuff like, Use more cheese, Eli, or, Write about Kesha, Eli.

This time, he was clear, as usual: Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Eli.

You don’t question a dead Jedi. I’d already plopped a rotisserie chicken in my basket ($4.99, Harris-Teeter), and turned on autopilot toward the cereal aisle. I am one with the Force and the Force is in me, I muttered repeatedly.

I found an existential crisis when I got there.

It took the form of a fellow Crunchie, holding a box aloft. She’d carry it toward her basket, then back toward the shelf. Ja … Nein! I imagined the dilemma shouting within her head. (Yes … No! just sounds better in German.) I had to take action.

Doing good, one box at a time

You know, I offered, my daughter just told me that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is basically health food.

I’m listening, she seemed to think. (In English this time.) Yeah, I continued, it was in a post online. They’re whole grain now. So it’s like, good for you. Basically health food. Sold. She smiled at me and nestled the box of delicious in her basket, where it belonged.

cinnamon toast crunch spoon
Here’s to you, Christina. #RaiseASpoon. (Is that even a hashtag?)

Now … onto those girls’ questions.

1. Were the people on the plane ride back Mexican?

Note: This question came after I returned from Cancun for the company trip.

There wasn’t a Mexican majority, at least. The plane I rode home in from Mexico contained roughly the same collection of American millennials, of all shades and creeds, but mostly white, assumably.

mexico cancun
The view from my room in Cancun.

They did, however, save seats for each other, like fourth graders on a field trip. A bit hungover and somewhat sunburned, we all seemed to make it back in one piece. Or at least matching pieces to be reassembled on American soil.

In fact, we saw very few actual Mexicans in the four days down there. Don’t tell my boss, but the only time I really saw Mexicans was when I snuck off the resort to get your swag and eat street quesadillas. I wonder how well I blended in.

2. Can I download books from the iTunes store?

First, can I take a moment to collect myself?

I mean, my girls just asked about books. Books. They’re the rough and tumble type, the cool kids who don’t admit if they like to read. I’ve actually very rarely seen them read an actual book, but I know they have. At least once or twice.

It’s been said that I’m to blame for their resistance to the written word.

Hayden had a book to read for a school assignment in elementary school. I spent 30 minutes at bedtime reading the chapter book to her, even customizing voices for different characters.

She pushed down on my head if she wanted me to change voices. It was a system.

You can download audiobooks and … non-audiobooks (?) on iTunes.

When I visit the library to check out another audiobook, the librarian informs me of this crazy new technology that allows one to … how do you say? … down … load? a book onto your enabled device. Only, my enabled device is less than enabled.

It’s destabilized.

Maybe someday, I tell them and suddenly feel like the curmudgeon who said crazy crap like microwaves and the Internet would never catch on.

3. Am I more mature than (boy’s name removed to protect the ignorant)?

Honey, there are embryos in the DNA of unborn alpacas who are more mature than him.

I’m torn on the answer to this one. I don’t really like to toe the company line on this one and say boys will be boys. It’s a copout, and unfair to us fellas, really. Where do you draw the line with that?

I did boyish things. I never pulled ponytails of girls I liked, but I did make fart noises with my armpit. Yes, I’m sure it was my armpit.

He’s a special case, though. And it has less to do with gender than it does need attention. I feel like you and your sisters always had enough attention. I wanted you to feel like you were my world, but not the center of the entire universe.

That’s a spot where some parents struggle.

Far be it from me to claim to be an authority. But the chopping down trees for no reason, well, I would have intervened, had you done it. Throwing sticks and rocks at kids’ faces. The pets disregarded, the crybaby antics during birthday parties?

I wouldn’t make excuses if were the culprit. There’d be some lessons, there.

They say boys mature slower than girls do. Maybe it’s true. I think the longer a kid goes through life as a dunderhead, the tougher it is to grow some respect. If it’s a foreign concept at age 12, it’s not going to be easy to pick up at age 22, 32, or 42, for that matter.

So, yeah. You’re more mature. But remind me how to teach you that armpit trick.

4. What does Florida State have on the back of their helmets?

florida state football jameis winston quarterback
photo credit: bmward_2000 Jameis Winston via photopin (license)

Not that kid’s initials. They’re miniature tomahawks, given for a variety of accomplishments.

tomahawkA CRUCIAL PLAY | Like, sacking a Gators quarterback or getting away with pass interference.

A SCORE | A Roberto Aguayo chip-shot, for instance.

A TOUCHDOWN | Holy hell, was that Burt Reynolds? (Yes, it was.)

A SAVING TACKLE | Corey Sawyer dragging down a Huskers running back, perhaps.

VARIOUS OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS ON THE FIELD | Deion Sanders-eque showboating, maybe?

[This site is the coolest – it’s an interactive look at every Florida State helmet]

Makes me think of those charts for potty training. Go on the potty, get a star! Or, dinosaur. Don’t judge. Clemson has paw prints (like Blues Clues), Louisiana has flaming chili peppers (for the Ragin’ Cajuns.)

Ohio State has … well, what they call Buckeye leaves. (Looks suspicious.)

If I had a team, I’d give them Cinnamon Toast Crunch stickers. (Sweet.)

5. Does IZ sing any other songs?

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole is most famous for this rendition of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World. It’s one of the greatest songs in the world. Top five, in my book.

Iz, sometimes called Bruddah Iz, was larger than life with hair Troy Polamalu would envy. As a teenager, he was part of the Hawaiian Renaissance in music. He and his brother, Skippy, formed a band called Makaha Sons of Ni’hau.

Iz recorded four studio albums and four more were compiled from concerts and other performances. He blended his ukulele with jazz and reggae beats and remains an icon of his home state. He’s like, to Hawaii what Andy Griffith is to North Carolina.

At the beginning of Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, you can hear Iz say, “this one is for Gabby.” Gabby is Gabby Pahinui, a guitarist who was instrumental, as was Iz, in the Hawaiian Renaissance, which extended way beyond music.

Iz was just 9 when Gabby was born, but he appreciated the road he paved before him. Gabby died in 1980 at age 59. Iz died in 1997 at age 38, and about 10,000 people attended his funeral.

Footage from the ceremony in which Iz’s ashes were scattered at Makua Beach is included in the video above. Hawaiians honked their horns all day on highways the day of his funeral in honor of him. That’s what you call joyful noise.

Someday, I wish upon a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind me

Where trouble melts like lemon drops

High above the chimney top

That’s where you’ll find me

  • From Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

quote god iz


  1. Wow, that first question just makes so much SENSE!! Very logical, is it not?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I thought so, Katherine! I love when kids take such a fresh look at the world, and it leads me back to a different perspective.

  2. John Holton says:

    I’m surprised the PC Police haven’t demanded that Florida State rename its teams. When Deion Sanders played for the Braves, a few FSU fans started the “tomahawk chop” and it sort of caught on, much to the chagrin of many Native American groups, all of whom we heard from when the Braves and Twins were in the World Series in 1991 (quite possibly the best World Series I’ve seen in my 61 years). Hasn’t stopped Braves fans from doing it, though…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Seminole Nation has a say in how everything is portrayed at Florida State. I know there are always going to be those who take offense, though. I’ve even seen college switch mascots because theirs was too Arian and confrontational.

  3. claywatkins says:

    Hey bud, nice post and great song. Wondering how far you live from Raleigh, NC? Coming to town or at least planning to in mid July for a conference…. just wondering. Hope all is well. Your Rockies are looking like world beaters. Have a great weekend.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Clay – great to see you. Raleigh is about 2 1/2 hours drive from me. Email me when you know your plans – maybe we can meet in Greensboro, which isn’t quite halfway for you.

      Hope you’re doing well, too. We need to catch up! I keep hoping this whole baseball season hasn’t been a dream, but I’m still short and my car is beat up so maybe it’s not a dream at all!

      1. claywatkins says:

        Yeah, I watched the game last night – I have MLB TV – it’s a great investment IF the team you follow is out of market. Astros came up short, but had opportunities. They play again tonight and again Sunday on ESPN. Go ‘stros!

        As for July – I am still trying to figure it out and I’ll keep you posted would love to meet you and I like you and still short, sort of wide, and drive a Chevy with 171k on the odometer. Peace

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Maybe your ‘stros and my Rox will be the last teams standing, Clay. You guys are rocking it in the AL.

        My Pontiac is going on 248,000 miles. We should drag race for pinks.

      3. claywatkins says:

        That’s funny / mile high and sea level would be an I interesting story line… time will tell – but my ‘stros are gonna need some healthy pitchers…

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Read that your boys might be buyers at the trade deadline … I hope we don’t monkey too much with what’s got us this far!

  4. If it isn’t already, “raiseaspoon” should definitely be a hashtag! ⬛ Love the view you had! ⬛ No offense to present company, but do boys EVER actually grow up!??!
    Visit me @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      #RaiseASpoon just needs a revolution behind it, and we’re there, Barbara! It was a spectacular view, wasn’t it?

      No offense taken … and as soon as I do grow up, I’ll let you know!

  5. Excellent post, so much, so well done. But…IZ…*tears* …wow…just, wow. Two of my favourite songs, so heartfelt…*sigh* Thank you, my friend.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Annie! Yea, Iz, right? Had you heard that version before? My daughters love him and so do I. Thank you for being here!

  6. ksbeth says:

    i always love their questions and it seems you know just the right thing to answer. glad your cereal is finally deemed a ‘health food.’ maybe they’ll start serving it at spas around the world,

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thanks beth – I think trying to answer them has kept my brain soft and pliable. I’ve been waiting for this day cereal-wise, and will even sketch out what the new food pyramid SHOULD look like (hope I don’t get carried away when it comes to cheese.)

      If they serve cinnamon toast crunch at spas, that will ruin it. It’ll be like when hipsters show up at your favorite restaurant. If they know about it, it’s time to move on!

  7. I basically lived on Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I was a kid. I’m still alive, so I’m pretty sure it’s a health food.

    I’ve been to Cancun twice. Most of the people I saw there were fellow tourists.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You ought to be in the commercials, Aej. I actually poured a bowl in the middle of responding to this when I read your comment (and to prove that I haven’t polished off the box yet.)

      I’ve seen more diversity in a 24-hour Wal-mart than I have in a Cancun resort!

  8. Rea says:

    Ahh I love that song! For some reasons, it’d always make me teary-eyed.
    The armpit fart is a classic! My grandfather taught me how to do it but I’d never really get it right. LOL

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Isn’t it awesome? Especially if you listen to the words, it can make you teary-eyed. I found that as I entered adulthood, my armpit talents dissipated. I had my run.

  9. Hahaha……I remember the armpit trick in school. And I love that song by Iz. 👍✌️😻

  10. mimi says:

    You are so right about not letting the excuse “boys will be boys” be used to infantalize them. One kid i used to babysit used “boys are supposed to be messy” as his reason why he could make a huge mess (especially in the bathroom) and leave it for others to clean. Not this other, i made him do it.

    The one your girl was asking about, he needs to get a clue, and i hope someone gives it to him.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We need to redefine what it means to be boys, Mimi. At some point, we must begin to behave like men.

      Glad you enforced better expectations on the kid you babysat! It’s a bit on all of us, isn’t it?

      I think – hope – life experience will steer this kid in the right direction.

  11. Kim Munoz says:

    I love everything about this post. And am so glad to see that my boys aren’t the only ones full of questions! LOL Cinnamon toast crunch is a fav around here, but lets talk IZ. Having grown up 2000 miles south of Hawaii, this man is the soundtrack of my youth. Have you listened to his other songs? In this life is another good one 😉 I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Happy Fathers Day!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Kim. These girls have 300 questions in the popper at any given time! You should give a Go Ask Mommy post a shot.

      Iz is incredible, isn’t he? I have heard some other music of his, including Sea of Love.

      The weekend was good for me, and Father’s Day passed too quickly.

  12. Happy Father’s Day, Eli!

  13. I witnessed my 11-year-old making the fart noises with his mouth at a party this weekend. It was sad to watch b/c the thing was….pretty girls were watching him. Then he made the noises, and immediately he lost their attention. *shake my head*

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It just wasn’t time, April. A boy has a set number of fart noises he must pass through before he can give a pretty girl the attention she deserves. (I’m only partially sure I have pass through my number.)

      1. Ha! Yes, well time is still very much on his side.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Dinosaurs and football also can become girl deterrents. There is no time limit on those, I’m afraid.

  14. Somehow this one got past me… sorry. I have been saving up all of my “Eli” posts so I could comment.. lol! That is why there are several from yesterday at once.
    Anyhoo… 1. LOVE Cancun and I am certain there are more than one person on each returning flight ✈ that may or may not remember what happened the night before.🍸 What happens in Cancun STAYS in Cancun, right?? 😎
    2. Books in any form are awesome! How wonderful they were asking about BOOKS! 📖 YAH! I wish my daughter read more, but here ADD has always been an issue. It is difficult for her to concentrate. I have suggested audible 📼📖books but her mind still wonders too much. 👀
    3. Boys do grow up.. eventually.. or at least that is what I have heard.. ha ha! 🐌🐸🐶And girls definitely mature faster. I think that is why we have a tendency to date/marry and love 💖 guys who are “older” than us. Older being the relative term in this instance.. 😂
    4. Had no idea that Burt played 🏈 for Florida State! Interesting fact. I did know he played football though… he isn’t aging very well 😩
    5. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s rendition 🎸🎶 is pretty amazing isn’t it? 😃

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You can’t be blamed for letting one get past you, Courtney. You’re a faithful commenter with serious emoji game!

      I rode next to a guy who hadn’t been to proper bed the night before in Cancun, but looked woozy enough for me to plan a great escape to the aisle in case he couldn’t keep his fun down.

      I wonder how your daughter would like those Choose Your Own Adventures books.

      I think a boy should hope to retain a bit of childhood wonder, and temper it with a sense for when the right and wrong time is for it. I’ve yet to master that.

      I haven’t seen Burt lately. I remember him making fun of his forehead creases long ago. Said you could grow corn in them.

      Iz’s rendition is phenomenal. Love the ending in particular. That’s playful. That’s maybe that balance I alluded to earlier in this comment!

      1. You know.. I only take time to put fun emojis in the comments for you!😉 I may put a 😎 or a 😙 and sometimes even a ❤🤔😟😃😣😲😍 at the end of others but I only have fun on your blog telling a story!! 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’m honored, Courtney! I’m such an emoji amateur – or more accurately, a conscientious objector. Glad the posts leave you wanting to leave the love, and not the confusion!

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