Today, after hula practice, my son Elliott had a nice fresh lei. We decided to pay a visit to his grandparent's grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, or as we know it, Puowaina, or "Hill of Sacrifice."

I mentioned about the earthen underground ovens that were there in ancient days to bake the flesh off of the bones of humans. Usually Ali'i or Chiefs sacrificed during war and battles. Long before it became a place to bury the remains of Servicemen and Servicewomen. Many killed in warring conflict as well. Ancient wars. Modern wars. Hill of Sacrifice.

We spoke to "Nana" and "Poppy", my Mother and Father, updating them on happenings with Elliott regarding college and hula. Reflected awhile. Then departed, sharing Aloha with another family near our car visiting a deceased Loved one.

As we departed, Elliott asked a question about Nana and Poppy being buried together and I mentioned about his rescue from the East Coast. As we drove, I asked Elliott if I shared the story of the Vienna Sausage during my sojourn to Washington, D.C. and Maryland. He didn't know about it. So I decided to share that detail of my Journey.

After landing in Washington, D.C. at Dulles Airport in June of 2014, I obtained a rental car and made it to the little hotel nearby to set up my little command center. After resting awhile, I began planning the extraction of my Father from the care home in Maryland set for 3:30a.m. the next morning so I could get him back to Dulles for our flight home early that same morning.

I set the GPS to the address of the Care Home in Maryland and set out on the first of several practice runs. I was trying my best to be low key, so worried that someone would see me there, recognize me, and my Father's new wife would find out, and have her attorneys file some kind of emergency petition with the court.

I was under so much pressure, knowing that if I messed this trip up, attorneys and authorities would block my Father's return to Hawai'i. I didn't have enough money to arrange another flight home, nor to have an extended stay in D.C. to make any court appearances, or hire counsel.

The imminent legal filing in D.C. for his wife to gain Guardianship over him was imminent, and I would lose any custody of my Father to an unknown fate. He would be placed in a care home somewhere and I may never find out where, or gain access to him again. He could pass away without me ever knowing or finding out where his remains were, or the disposition.

Meanwhile, the remains of my Mother sat in my living room on a favorite chair for the past four years, awaiting to be buried with my Father, together, for Eternity, as I had Promised them both.

So getting back to the Vienna Sausage, I had set out South headed towards Maryland. No sooner had I found myself on a large highway or expressway, I was traveling for about fifteen minutes when up ahead, I saw a Toll Station looming, and quickly approaching.

I didn't know much about Toll Stations as we don't have them in Hawai'i and I rarely traveled out of Hawai'i for decades. All I knew was that you had to pay to use some roads, and that the toll wasn't very much, like under a dollar, or a couple of dollars. I also knew that they had collection bins that people could toss their coins into as not to slow down traffic flow too much. I also knew that they had cameras and signs that said if you tried to skip the toll, they captured your license plate, and probably your face as well.

As I quickly approached the Toll Booth, I realized that I only had twenty-dollar bills on me. No small bills and no loose change. I panicked. I thought I would get stuck at the Toll Booth and cause a problem because this backwoods boy from Hawai'i didn't know the basics of the system. I thought I would create a scene, get confronted by a State Trooper, produce a Hawaii ID, get questioned what my business was there, and my story would fall apart, and I would flee, and get tasered or much worse.

So in an instant, I turned an crossed two lanes at relatively high-speed to take a freeway exit right there. If anything, that manuever would have warranted closer inspection of my vehicle by law enforcement, but I wasn't thinking straight, just panicking.

I ended up in unfamiliar territory as I kept driving on the off-ramp and into some commercial-residential area.

I stumbled upon a Walmart and drove to park my car, which wasn't in a large ground level lot, but a tall parking structure, which was confusing in and of itself.

I exited the car and entered the store. My mission was to buy something small and break my twenty into a mixture of small bills and coins so I would be prepared to toss whatever into the Toll collection bin like all the other travelers. I didn't want to stand out from the crowd.

After walking around the store, I stumbled upon cans of Vienna Sausage on sale for 51-cents each. Perfect. If I bought two, they would just be over a dollar and I would get lots of coins. I didn't know if there was sales tax but figured it wouldn't be that much so I would still get some good quarters out it.

So I picked up four cans, and proceeded to the self-checkout section which was empty. I looked at the Walmart person standing there observing the self-checkout section and unlike Hawai'i where they usually are just another Walmart cashier or worker, the woman appeared to be a security guard.

I smiled as we made eye contact and she just scowled at me. I had to remind myself that I was 5000 miles from home, where things are a little different, and smiles are harder to come by.

I scanned two cans and decided that I would buy two at a time to maximize my coinage. After scanning the two cans, I pressed the finish and pay buttons and put in my twenty. Coins fell out as did small bills and I put the receipt and cans on the side. I then scanned the next two cans and pressed the finish and pay button again.

I glanced over to the security guard, and she was watching me intently with the same scowl on here face. I felt nervous, and put in the ten dollar bill that I received in change from the first purchase and out came more coins and a some small bills again.

I quickly grabbed the receipt and bills and cans and turned to exit the store. I glanced again at the security guard who was still intently watching me, scowling and following my every move it seemed. I smiled sheepishly, and quickly exited the store.

I got back to my car, and collected my thoughts and plan of action, then started the car. I didn't know how to get back onto the freeway I had been on, but knew I needed to have my bills and coins next to me to throw into the Toll collection bin.

It was then to my horror, that I realized that I had failed to grab any of the coins that came out of the self-checkout register. I panicked and quickly exited the car, and went down the escalator again into the store and went straight to the register I was at. Nobody was there but people were at other registers around it. I looked down into the coin cup as I approached and could see that it was empty. My Heart sank.

I could peripherally see the security guard watching me come back in the store, and walk back up to the register I had used, but I refused to make eye contact with her and just continued back into the store.

Yes. I went back to the same canned meats aisle. Yes. I picked up four cans of Vienna Sausage again. It was Armour, a brand hard to find in Hawai'i as I always had to eat Libby's. So I figured I could eat them from the can if I got hungry at the hotel during my twenty-four hour stakeout and command center tenure.

I went back to the self-checkout again, to the same machine and again the area was empty, and I glanced again at the security guard, who was again fixated on me. I smiled and received another frowning scowl. I could hear her thinking, in her best Clint Eastwood menacing voice, "Go Ahead and Make My Day..."

I again scanned two cans of Vienna Sausage, and paid for them. Collected the bills and change, and receipt and put them aside, all the while feeling eyes burning into the back of my head like lasers. Two more cans to go. Scanned. Money in. Change out. I grabbed the receipt, and made sure I grabbed all the coins this time, grabbed my cans and proceeded towards the exit.

I glanced up at the security guard one last time. She just stared intently at me. I smiled an awkward sheepish smile. If I was back in Hawai'i, I would have broken out loudly in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator voice, "I'll Be Back..." but I was too nervous and apprehensive and just wanted to beeline out of there before she tasered or maced me.

I made it back to the car, collected my thoughts, a plan of action, and placed my bills and coins next to me, and drove out to find my way back onto the freeway. I ended finding an on-ramp which took me in the wrong direction and drove for a few miles until I found another off-ramp which took me around to get back onto the freeway in the right direction.

As I approached the Toll Booth this time, I was more observant and less panicky. I saw about five Toll Booths and one actually had a person in it on the end. I crossed several lanes and made it to the toll attendant. I didn't want to chance trying to throw money into the collection bin, having it stuck, having flashing lights come on and alarm bells. State Trooper. Taser. Gun shots. You know the story.

The attendant was very nice. I gave him a big smile. He let me know the fee. I gave him exact change. He waved me on. I feel so foolish for not having seen him the first time I approached the booth. I made mental notes to myself that I would drive this route several more times to practice the half-hour run from Dulles to Maryland.

Curiously, I never encountered a Toll Booth on the trip back that day on my practice runs from Maryland back to my hotel in D.C. nor a single Toll Booth on my fateful journey that morning to retrieve my Father. It remains a Mystery to me.

So I ended up eating two cans of Vienna Sausage and when I packed my bags for the flight home, I didn't want to take a chance of having my only bag, a carry on, creating problems with TSA at the Dulles Airport for having cans with liquid in them surrounding sausage.

I just didn't need anything to go wrong as I wasn't sure that I could even get my Father successfully through TSA with only one old military ID from the early 1970's when he was a Captain in the USMC, and now a retired Lt. Colonel.

He didn't even look like the man he used to be in the picture. Plus, he had combative Dementia, and I didn't know if he would even recognize me having not seen him for almost seven months. I worried he would cause a scene at the airport or worse, while going through TSA.

I ended up leaving the six cans of Vienna Sausage over a ten-dollar bill on the dresser in the hotel room when I checked out that early morning for the maids. I laugh now at what the maids must have thought, about what kind of person leaves Vienna Sausage for a tip. People from Hawai'i obviously. Or cans of Spam.

Elliott and I got a good laugh as we arrived at our destination and sat in the car for a little while as I ended the story.

We ended up talking about Spirit, and how I was aided the whole Journey from beginning to finish so many times in memorable distinct moments. I explained about our Iroquois heritage on both the Seneca and Mohawk sides.

About how as soon as I landed, and obtained my rental car, I was in Awe to witness two large and rare Golden Eagles soaring right above me as I drove out of the rental car facility. I watched them for awhile as they seemed to follow my path for quite awhile, until they disappeared through the tall trees.

Feeling so alone, 5000 miles away from home, nervous, apprehensive and yes, scared at times. I didn't think I had anyone to rely upon. But the sight of these two magnificent Raptors, with seven-foot wingspans, immediately gave me a sign of the Ancestors. It was through my Father after all that we held that lineage. It moved me to tears back then, and even now.

Then I told Elliott about the morning of the extraction, when I couldn't sleep, and ended up heading to Maryland at 1:00 in the morning because I had to stop by a Giant Pharmacy to pick up my Father's prescriptions before I retrieved him at 3:30am that same morning.

And how I somehow ended up driving in Virginia, at 1:44am looking for the pharmacy. And about how as I drove slowly through the suburbs, I noticed what I thought was a dog, trotting along side of my car on the sidewalk in this residential area in the dark.

To my astonishment, it was a Red Fox. So surreal. Just trotting along, keeping pace on the side of my car for what seemed like almost a minute, until I slowed down and the fox crossed right in front of my headlights and disappeared into the blackness on the other side of the street.

Then as I shared that about the fox with Elliott, I suddenly became quiet as my voice cracked. Emotions welled and I suppressed the tears which wanted to flow forward. Elliott sensed the emotion and fell quiet too. We sat there for a little while as I regained my composure.

He thanked me for sharing the story with him. I told him I have much more from that Journey to share with him as well, in time.

So now when I see Vienna Sausage cans in the grocery store, I chuckle to myself, and then Gratefully and Humbly remember Magnificent Golden Eagles and Beautiful Guiding Foxes. And two Beautiful Souls, a Mother and a Father, once Madly and Irrepressibly in Love. Ravaged by Heartache. Now Resting Peacefully, again in each other's Loving Arms. For an Eternity...