I took the northern half of Rt. 11 to Kailua-Kona. When I drove into it, I passed the first courthouse three times before I realized what it was. I was a little early, so I sat outside and talked to my mom on the phone for a little while. It was 1:30 am back home, but Mom had been up, so she kept me company until the courthouse opened.
Shortly before entering the building, a man walked down the hill next to the courthouse and who I was. I knew it had to be Dad's lawyer because the only other people here were guards. He led me inside and explained the proceedings to me. The door to the courthouse building was actually a large gate. Just inside the gate were the x-ray scanner and metal detector. Beyond those, there were four chairs against the right wall and then a long table with pews on either side that gave it the appearance of a hybrid buffet restaurant booth and conference room. It was made even more awkward by the unbelievable view of Kailua-Kona and the ocean beyond out of the massive, floor-to-ceiling window that was opposite the gate.
After a riveting conversation with one of the guards about hard-boiled eggs, I was taken into the courtroom. I sat just behind the attorney and waited. The judge came in, everyone stood, he rapped his gavel to seat everyone, and we all waited another twenty minutes until my dad was brought in--he had to travel from Hilo as well. During the wait, it was obvious just how relaxed the people here were. The judge was carrying on banter with various guards and both attorneys.
When Dad was brought in, he was wearing full chains and leggings. It was, without a doubt, a bit overkill. He teared up when he saw me and a couple times during the proceedings when the judge was informed that I was there.
"I understand the defendant's son is present," the judge stared. I rose and introduced myself.
"And where are you from?"
"Ohio, your honor."
"That's a little way away, isn't it?"
"Yes, sir. Roughly four-thousand, four hundred miles."
It was mentioned again in the judge's statements regarding the terms of my dad's release. Something to the effect of Dad having a strong, loving support structure to help him stay healthy and out of trouble. Altogether, the hearing lasted about an hour and a half. I was instructed to drive up the hill to the other courthouse where Dad would be given his personal effects and be released for me to take him home.
Chickens invading the sanctity of the courthouse grounds
are not even given the honor of being birds anymore.
I waited in the parking lot of the second courthouse for two hours before they finally released my dad. He was elated, as was I. I hadn't seen my dad in person for over eight years. It was surreal; still is.
My dad and I get the what-have-you-been-up-to's out of the way and head for Wal-mart so Dad can get some clothes--or at least different pants, he kept the shirt. I took him to a couple of places he needed to go for the courts and then to the bank before heading to meet Teddy. Of course, he half drove me out of my mind with the conspiracies and cult stuff, but you know... He's my dad.
I was prepared to some degree for my dad's eccentricities. I had dealt with a much milder version when he was still in Ohio, and I had been well-primed by Barry the day before. What I was not necessarily prepared for was meeting Teddy or seeing where Dad lived.
Walking up to Teddy's place.
Teddy's neighbor lives in the van on the right.
Teddy set the guy up with some power.
Teddy's mobile e-bike garage and charging station. When we arrived, Teddy was in the middle of building an aluminum mounting lattice to install a large array of 250W solar panels on the roof of this bus.
This is one of thirteen e-bikes Teddy has--and Teddy himself. This Yeti has 6 hours of battery life to push a 1500W motor assist. I test rode it and hit 45 mph before it freaked me out and I had to slow down. It was eerie pushing like I was on the lowest gear on my trainer and flying up a 7% grade at over 30 mph. The off-road quality was simply incredible.
This is Teddy's place. Cobbled together? Yes, but masterfully so. Teddy has 110V power thanks to a large solar array behind the shack and a Tesla wall of Teddy's construction. He has running water from a large cistern he has up the hill a bit. Everything is sturdy, believe it or not, and the wiring is all protected and sealed. Teddy is one major reason I'm planning to go back to do more investigating into this strange sub-culture of people. I must also add that during the conversation about engineering things with Teddy, he at one point turned to me and said, "It's really great to finally meet someone else that's from Earth." I knew what he meant and instantly had both admiration for him and empathy.
After leaving Teddy, Dad and I drove another five or ten minutes to his little piece of Ocean View. His dogs met us with vigorous excitement to see their master--Teddy had been taking care of them while my dad was gone.
Dad's van on the left, my rental in the center, and his Avalon on the right--the only vehicle of his five that runs.
Walking back towards the shack.
Side yard, and...
My dad's abode.
There is a toilet in the shack, but it isn't connected to anything--supply or drain. So...
Make sure to let your carburator cool for at least five minutes before serving...
The floor space is somewhat limited, but I'm told there's a guest room in the works...
...that's missing a door and stairs--it is also not accessible from the inside and happens to be where the haphazardly cobbled together power distribution wiring is.
Spare bits and access to the "basement" storage area where a broken-down motorcycle resides with some half dissected electronics from the late 80's.
There is a view...
...of the evidence of my dad's dispute with the refuse collection company.
What home is complete without cats? Well, none in Hawaii--they're just as prevelant as the chickens.
"Let's go check out the chicken coup."
This is where the chickens would be if the roof was there. Oh, and some more wall--definitely more wall.
This is where the eggs will be collected--along with the tetanus...
It's worth mentioning that my dad is nowhere near as handy as Teddy, but he used to have some respectable skills. They've left him, I suspect. No running water, or potable water storage for that matter. The only power comes from one of four generators in various states of disrepair and is routed through a frightening array of scrap bits of wire. The hot tub shell you saw in the full shack pic is purportedly for collecting rainwater for the plants.
During this tour, Dad made two great points for living the way he did...
"Stop for a second," he said, as we made our way back to the chicken coup, "listen."
I stopped and listened. I have heard silence before, but to see the expression on his face you would swear he was listening to the most moving symphony ever composed.
"I don't hear things beeping, buzzing, ticking, or whizzing by. At night, I can see every star in the sky."
The reverence he had for the island as he spoke about it began to break my heart. He knew he had to come back to Ohio; his father and his sisters needed him to and he had pissed off a good portion of the Hawaii he loved. But, it's still a little sad that it all had to end this way.
I drove back to Hilo that night with heavy reflection. I barely slept. I dragged as I drove back to Kailua-Kona the next day, and since I've been home, the terrible experiences on the flights home don't even seem worth writing--so I won't.
In three or four months, Dad will be coming back to Ohio. Back to civilization. I can't imagine the culture-shock he'll have to overcome. Before I left, he said, "I know I have to come back, but I don't want to die there. I want to die here." Mark my words, I will do everything in my power to make sure he can when the time comes.