When I was a teenager, I had been floating around for quite sometime, and decided, to leave Hawaii, and runaway, home, to Beverly Hills. Two years prior to that I had runaway, home, to Hawaii from Big Sur. Before that I had runaway home, to Big Sur, from the valley, yes the San Fernando Valley, long before “OMG”, and “like”, had become part of the vernacular. What was I running from, I’m still not sure, as one of my favorite expressions has become, “Everywhere I go, there I am.” I didn’t learn this, until many years later. But for the time being, I was a teenager, living on my own, for years by then, and how I survived, I truly, to this day don’t know. Apparently “the universe had a plan for me”, as my hippie Mom, Louise would say (very sound, words of wisdom). Some people thought it was perfectly fine, like her, that I galavant about like a gypsy, some not so much, like everyone else. But I had been out of school, for quite sometime, and thought it might be a good time, to at least get my High School Diploma, if I ever wanted to, oh, i don’t know, get a real job. I had been working under the table since I was 11 years old, doing such exciting things, from Cleaning Herb, to Stuffing Envelopes, in a accounting office, but mostly later, being in the restaurant business, which I took to like a kitten to milk, it came so easily to me, a natural born actress, and entertainer, it was my destiny.
But, while I was living in Beverly Hills, going to Beverly High Continuation, I had my family around me, for the first time in many years, and my Sister Karen, had married an absolutely brilliant man, named Charles, she married well, as he was kind, and cool, and smart, and funny, and had a really, great solid family unit, he had grown up in a very stable environment, and it showed. He married well, only in that Karen, was a incredibly beautiful, talented, brilliant, driven woman, and was his soul mate, and this was very apparent from the start. But, as Chuck would quickly learn, he also inherited her Family, that’s what marriage is, right, for better, or for worse. Lucky for Karen, we had been born, from different Mother’s, same Father, and Norma, Karen’s Mother was one of the sweetest, kindest, most solid, normal people, you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my Mom, Louise, so much, it hurt, but she was not the most stable, definitely not normal, or motherly type, like Norma. And I’m being generous! So there was Norma, and then the rest of us.
For instance, there was me, in particular, and I was a nightmare, teenage hormones raging, and 15 going on 45, thought I knew EVERYTHING, and there was a lot of drama that went along with me, there was always a boyfriend,usually twice my age, who sucked, or a friend who, told so and so, this or that, behind my back, and so I hated them that week, or I was simply just miserable, I was a messed up teenager, to the utmost extreme. So one day I called Karen, crying my eye’s out over something, I can’t even remember what it was, and as usual, one of them would come pick me up, usually Karen, and take me home, to their apt., and proceed to cheer me up! So as I waited, crying, feeling as sorry for myself, as I possibly could….. finally, there was a knock at the door, and I took my poor, pitiful, sniffling, red nosed, puffy eyed, self to answer it, and as I looked through the peephole, there was Charles’ smiling, handsome, mustached face, Dodger hat in place, which was normal. Ahh…. relief, the troops had finally arrived. But when I opened the door, much to my surprise, and to the delight of my funnybone, he was wearing, and I kid you not, a Red Hawaiian Spaghetti Strap Print Dress of Karen’s, with sneakers and socks! With the hairy pits, and the white legs, with the white crew socks, and sneakers, and of course the Dodger Blue baseball cap…..I mean, it was a sight, I will not soon forget, if ever.
With the straightest face you’ve ever seen in your life… well, I was laughing, so, hard, as he said “Ready?”, still, not even cracking a smile, I was now crying, again, but the tears were of a completely different nature, joy, and total amusement!!!!
I knew at that moment that this was not a Brother-in-Law, this was a true and bonafide, Big Brother. Never in my life, had I seen anything so funny, and never in my life, had someone gone to these lengths, simply to make me laugh, and smile, and needless to say, it worked. Since that day, I have had a special place in my heart, reserved just for Charles, that image, still burned into my mind. If I had a pic of this, of course I would share, (and he would, of course, have me whacked) but this was long before, the ever present, cell phone camera’s of today, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I do have a pic of the dress on Karen….hhhmmmm, where’s photoshop when you need it!
Jump 30 years into the future, we are once again, as close as that day, he saved my poor little teenage heart, from breaking in two, and closer now, as I am an adult, sober, and smarter, and he has now raised three of his own kids! When I’m in LA, he takes me to the beach with him and I watch him surf, and I splash around in the white water, and we stop at Urth Cafe, for a cappuccino, italian, strong, and delicious, we contemplate the divine pastries, and sometimes even get one, but mostly not, as we are both, always on a diet, and I always remember, what a sweet thing he did for me that day, and many days, months, and years, afterwards. I look forward to this, on every trip out there. Thank you, Charles, you’re one of a kind, and my Sister is a lucky girl, as am I, to have you back in my life! So in my eye’s, he really is “The Big Kahuna”, and always will be. So this was created for him!
One of his very favorite foods, are pomegranates! And the other day, after receiving, yet another, great comment, and compliment on one of my recipes and stories, from him, a writer by profession. And a very nice, and exciting email, I thought I’d march my grown up butt, into the kitchen, and bake something, special for “The Big Kahuna”, I love making things, that are specifically for someone, and this Fat Free, and incredible tasting cake was just what came about! I had bought some Pomegranate concentrated juice, a while back, with a vague idea of what to do with it….. and suddenly it was all clear to me.
Charles, Myself , and Karen at there apt.
Angel Food Cake:
Charles and Myself being silly!!!
To release the cake from the pan use a thin spatula, constantly pushing towards the pan so as to not rip the cake.
The actual dress as worn by Karen!
And just to show you how grown up we are now, here is a picture of us this past Halloween!
Charles, Karen, Myself , and my Brother Jim