There’s an enormous crowd at the tiny lookout above Halema‘uma‘u.
I and Commander Williams, USN Retired, continue along the trail to a place where we’re alone.
Here, however, rather than simply tossing the bottle over the edge,
it appears Joe Montana’s services might be required for a Hail Mary.
Our mission: to offer Madame Pele her favorite beverage.
In a pinch, anything given with the right intent is welcome,
but we’ve come prepared, glistening quart of gin in hand.
“That’s a bit of a throw, Dad,” the Commander observes.
He calls everyone Dad; I’m actually his junior by a few beer years.
“Aye aye, Sir.”
“Maybe we should lighten up that bottle a little so it’ll be easier on your arm?” he suggests.
I concur. “An excellent idea.”
Pele does not mind sharing, I know from much experience doing this.
We each take a sip, a few more, and a couple more just to be sure.
We’re now both very warmed up, my arm feels quite limber,
and in the calm, thin air at 4000 feet, well, I know absolutely
I can make this long, long-distance throw into the crater.
“Ready?” I ask.
The Commander, having wanted to capture the moment for posterity,
appears to be juggling his expensive camera gear due to much sharing of gin.
“Fire away, Dad,” he replies, seeming to be reliving his days on the high seas.
I rear back, trying to avoid tipping over, and put everything I have behind the bottle.
Joe Montana, I am not; clearly the bottle will fall short.
Then, all of a sudden, a gale-force wind whips up out of nowhere.
Miraculously, the bottle soars from just off the ground,
up in the air, and flies out well beyond the crater’s edge.
Stunned, I turn to the Commander, see him struck with the same awed expression.
“You saw that, right?” I ask, breathless.
“Aye, aye, Dad.” He shakes his head. “Madame Pele really wanted to share that gin.”