Remerbering Art Hodge

How do you honor the life of a friend who you shared 50 years on this Earth with? I swam through tubes in coral reefs with my friend Art not knowing if their was an exit – ah the feeling of immortality when young. I body surfed treacherous shore break at Makapuu with my friend. Camping under the shoreline stars and swimming to Rabbit Island surrounded by sting rays. Dived pass the reef at Hanauma Bay, meeting octopus and other wonders. Saw my friend Art suspended in air and time as the car we were driving slammed at 50 mph into an earthen embankment – and  survived uninjured. Scaled down cliffs to abandoned military tunnels we called “the cave” near Fort Shafter on Oahu. Hiked sheer precipices to the summits of the Pali on Oahu to camp overlooking Kaneohe while feasting on akala berries. Watched wild movies and had wild times.
Shared an apartment in grungy old Makiki on the slopes of Punchbowl and became adults together. Became urban bicyclists, ate ice cream by the pint, miraculously found girlfriends, and made a living. Art had a variety of jobs : picture framing, t-shirt printing. After going through a bunch of crappy jobs I went back to school to get a library science graduate degree. We got a nicer apartment in Maikiki and had more adventures and double dates.
    That run ended when I moved to the Big Island for a new library job. We stayed in touch. Art visited me on the Big Island and he went snowboarding on Mauna Kea while I sledded. The first time visiting Mauna Kea we walked from the visitor center through that dry, barren landscape. It was like a scene from The Man Who Fell to Earth. Ended up getting a ride and hiking to Lake Waiau, at the time a phosphorescent green pond at the top of the world – magical.
I moved to Kauai and Art visited me there. He got a job at a Waikiki hotel and kept snowboarding when he could at Lake Tahoe. The years rolled on, we kept in touch – visits, phone calls – he was my touchstone on this Earth, two people who grokked each other and the universe. I came back to Oahu in 1994 for the Dalai Lama’s public talk at the Waikiki Shell and Art attended with me – sublime.
How do you honor the man who kept showing up when you needed help? For packing up the remaining stuff from my late mother’s house in Aiea and taking it to storage on Oahu. For being there again when it was time to take that stuff to Young Brothers to start to my new home on Kauai. I can never say thank you enough dear friend.
   Art longed to be independent and live a simple life. He left the hotel job and moved to the Big Island. The land in Mountain View did not work out, and he found a space to live with a friend from Aiea High School in Volcano. Built is own small cabin in the jungle like he had long planned.
    Art was always active : biking, skateboarding, and when we moved to Honolulu – surfing – which became his passion. Poetry in motion is the phrase that comes to mind. He kept up all of these sports on the Big Island and lived an active, peaceful life. Always in motion and always to the beat of cutting edge music.
The last time I hung out with Art was December 2019 and it was awesome. A real vacation : stayed in Kamuela on the Big Island, boogie boarded for three days at Mauna Kea Beach hotel : soft white sand, nonstop small powerful waves – catch one in, paddle out and there is another one. We hooted in delight catching each wave, smiled at each other paddling back out. It was transcendent bliss. Then on to Captain Cook and snorkeling at Honaunau Two Step. Clear, deep water full of fish, just beyond awesome. The best skin diving either of us had ever done (and we had both done a lot of skin diving) – enthralling. With the bonus of a pod of dolphins hanging out in the bay – unforgettable. Got to hang with Art and his girlfriend Judy and see him smiling and happy – good meals and good times shared.
And now, suddenly he is gone. But never forgotten and he lives on in my heart, in my warm memories. What a rich and awesome life. Art always just went for it, decided what he wanted to do, researched carefully, planned, and go fo um.. He lived the life he wanted  to da max. Way to go dear brother Art. Mahalo and aloha dt Surf on dear brother …