‘Tis (After) the Season

As I round the corner, I hear accordion music.

There, on a bench outside of Macy’s Ala Moana,

sit an elderly white-haired man with matching full beard,

and a very young blond boy with glasses, maybe 8.

The old man plays a song I don’t recognize,

something Germanic, dancey, very Octoberfest and beer-stein clinking.

The little boy holds an ‘ukulele, but does not strum.

He appears to be waiting for something, ear pressed to his ‘uke.

Maybe it’s a more Hawaiian-style song where he joins in,

one that’s bubbling up on the old man’s playlist, and he’s ready.

As he pumps the instrument, I realize the old man looks like a perfect Santa,

perhaps just recently retired from his seasonal job of Ho-Ho-Ho-ing,

jumping into his new gig with the ease of a quick-change artist.

The little boy could have been an elf, the two

escaping the North Pole for a vacation in tropic climes.

When I walk closer, I notice a cup on the ground.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen buskers outside of Waikīkī.

It’s odd, so out of context; I stop and stand staring at them.

The old man smiles at me while the little boy, sits head bowed, listening for his cue.

I drop a dollar in the empty cup, nod and smile.

The ex-Santa smiles and nods as well,

and the little boy listens to his silent ‘uke.


  1. It was so strange to see buskers anywhere but Waikīkī. And that part of Ala Moana Shopping Center is a dead zone, with almost no traffic. I was thinking that maybe he’d chosen that spot because it’s so dead there they don’t pipe in any ambiance music.


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