Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Meet Blackie

Living on a tiny, palm-strewn rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 5000 miles from any reasonably large land mass, has always appealed to a variety of "characters" - myself included.

On this island, there is perhaps no bigger character than the "loveable, humble" (his words, not mine) Blackie Gadarian. Resident curmudgeon, prolific writer of letters to the editor in the local presses, boat yard & machine shop operator, dispenser of barnacle encrusted wit & wisdom... Blackie, can be found dressed always in trademark bright orange workshirt & black trousers or shorts ( testament to a deep-rooted work ethic difficult to find in these days & times). Always quick with the ever-present middle finger & a harsh word or three, he's has been a Lahaina fixture since the mid-1970's.

 Machinist, bar owner/operator, jazz enthusiast and so much more, Blackie once operated a popular restaurant & bar where on any given night, you could walk up the stairs and catch musicians like George Benson, Emil Richards, Maynard Ferguson, or half of the orchestra from the Tonight Show sitting in & swinging with the local house band.  I was once booted from the bar many years ago for drinking too slowly and refusing a refill (by no means free).

Love him or hate him, the man has undeniable style. Now in his 91st year, we met at Blackie's Lahaina home where, as I set up the camera, I was liberally peppered with Blackieisms... "People
move to Hawaii to fail again".... "I don't believe in Aloha... it's all horseshit", "that man who sent you is a nice Jewish boy, but he don't want to learn nuthin'...", "I have no friends... "

You may not have any friends, but there are plenty of admirers Blackie. You can count me as one of them. We know that deep down, underneath that crusty exterior and orange shirt beats a heart of gold!

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