Don Ho can't be dead. That's a little bit like James Brown being dead. Just shouldn't be.
I don't think a dip into the Horse's Mouth has ever given me quite such a shock.
It's funny, now I'm actually sort of sorry that I never went to see him sing. Wouldn't have dreamed of it when I was a kid, of course, wasn't the coolest kid on the block but I wasn't THAT square. But I've been out there a few times more recently - and Don Ho was a cultural icon.
I think the thought of finding out if he was still performing and, if he was, dragging TQ to a concert when we go out there in a couple of weeks, had actually had flitted through my mind. Yes, "Tiny Bubbles" is kind of Hawaiian kitsch, goes nicely with tiki bars, "Blue Hawaii" & Hilo Hattie's, (where I had pretended to want my folks to go acquire the his n' hers matching aloha wear I tried to convince TQ I wanted us to wear on our visit to my folks - unfortunately forgot to muster Dad's complicity in the joke beforehand so instead of playing along, asking for sizes, etc, he was just confused by my very uncharacteristic request).
Thing is though - the kitsch is part of modern Hawaiian culture (just don't imagine for a minute that there isn't a WHOLE lot more to it), and I think most people who grow up there have a warm, if humor-tinged, affection for it.
And that's why I'm genuinely sad about the news. It's awfully hard to imagine him being gone.