Hook, line and sinker 

“I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” In the long, hazy and lazy summer days of my youth you might well have heard such a cry from the river bank of a fishing hole where young boys and girls would while away a Sunday afternoon armed with a long slender pole, a fishing line, a cork floater, a lead sinker and a hook baited with an unfortunate worm dug up from the family vegetable garden. 

Today’s youth, if they are at all interested in fishing, are equipped with much more sophisticated gear and the worm is given the Sunday off. The rod, reel, and the artificial lure have taken over in this era of modernization. The fish are “fried” before they are even hooked. 

 The early part of the week had seen two pilgrimages come to Kalaupapa. First we had our own Bishop Larry with 32 souls from the Hawaiian Islands, ready to be reeled in. 

Then we had Father Lane, pastor of St. Augustine Church on Waikiki Beach, leading 32 pilgrims from the Marquesas Islands. They spoke French and sang in rousing French. They love to kiss on both cheeks and so, by the end of the day, my lips were worn out from all this dual-cheek kissing. No, I did not French kiss. Then the fisher men and women began to arrive for our annual fishing tournament. Once again our very talented musician and electrician spearheaded and oversaw the tournament.

The fishing was done on the shoreline all the way from the black sand beach at the base of the pali on the west side of the peninsula to Kalawao on the east side beginning on Friday and ending on Saturday. 

Our very own Sister Barbara Jean had expressed an interest in participating as she is an avid fisher. However, she did not participate. You see she is a very kind and humble person and did not want to show up others with her fishing prowess. For her it was “‘nun’ of this and ‘nun’ of that.” Still, it was a great two days for the participants. 

A good time was had by all at the dinner on Saturday night at the McVeigh Hall when the competition winners received their prizes. There was plenty of delicious food, including fish, not to forget Mr. Heineken or Miss Corona, to satisfy a hall full of residents and fishers. We do look forward to next year’s event when Sister Barbara Jean plans on participating in the contest — hook, line, and sinker. 


Anchor columnist Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.

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