The Lost Christmas Episode

by Liz Clare

There was never a Christmas episode of Five-O.

Or so it was believed.

In 1996, the lost Deford years episodes were rediscovered by Liz and Mary Clare in a drugstore in Kerrville, Texas.

They are now being gradually restored in the Clare family studio.

"The Lost Christmas Episode" is one of the rarest episodes of all, as it was only shown once back in 1965. The next year, Five-O was preempted at Christmasfor Andy Williams and then by the next year the show was recast as the Jack Lord vehicle that is the version shown in syndication today.

Now, each scene is being painstakingly restored to the glory that is so well remembered by those who saw it that they have made it one of the most requested of the lost Deford years.

People used many words to describe Kalihi Valley. The most common ones were "tough" and "poor." To Julian Kala'oka, who had grown up here in one of Kalihi's many rusty trailers, another good one would be "dusty." The red-dirt streets never seemed to be damped down by the usual afternoon showers. It had always seemed to JuJu that the soothing tropical tradewinds had a case against Kalihi's long-suffering and hard-working mothers. They never failed to deposit the red dust squarely on the freshly bleached laundry strung out to dry.

JuJu had never seen Kalihi like it was today. The rain had started a couple of hours ago, light and caressing, a typical rainy-season storm. Now, it was unleashing serious fury. Rain was pouring down the rubber collar of JuJu's raincoat, and rusty orange mud grabbed and sucked at his shoes. Kalihi was in chaos, unexpectedly dealing with a far more ferocious enemy than stained laundry. If this storm lasted much longer -- or got much worse -- their shacks and trailers would start sliding down the valley. What little bit these families had would be lost. And it couldn't have come at a worse time. Christmas was two days away.

When the Governor's evacuation order had come down. JuJu had immediately volunteered to help. As a member of Hawaii Five-O, the state's elite police unit, he was usually busy with felony investigations, which didn't stop just because it was Christmas, or even because there was a flood. Emergency operations were HPD's domain. But his boss, Lloyd Deford, told JuJu "go." Many of the people of Kalihi mistrusted, or even hated, the police. A neighborhood boy like JuJu would be a big help.

JuJu and a couple of dozen other cops fanned out all over the neighborhood, rescuing those who wanted to be rescued, persuading those who needed it, and ordering the rest out of their homes. Other HPD officers brought big sugar-cane trucks down the valley and were attempting to corral the neighbors on to the flatbeds. Controlling a mob of panicked parents, unpredictable children who wanted to go back for their toys, and old ladies clutching mangy cats wasn't easy. It was, in fact, taking too long. The muddy street would soon be impassable, on its way to become a raging channel of rain.

JuJu dodged a plywood reindeer cutout on his way up to the next trailer. He was a big man, but the wind was so unpredictable, throwing big handfuls of rain at his face and legs, that he almost fell in a tangle of Christmas lights that had blown down from the trailer's door. It was buttoned up tight. Maybe the people had already fled the storm -- or maybe they were just hiding, hoping to ride it out.

JuJu pounded on the door. "Sir! Ma'am! Police! You gotta get out of there! Get your family and get on the truck while you still can!"

No answer. He turned away, to wade to the next house, when he thought he heard a cry or a moan.

"You need some help in there?" JuJu yelled. He pressed his ear to the door. Again, silence. He hesitated only a minute. With the lashing storm, the roaring of the trucks, and the hollering of the police and residents, he couldn't be sure he had really heard anything. But it wasn't worth taking a chance on leaving someone behind.

The door was locked, but it only took JuJu a minute to get inside. He had plenty of experience with breaking and entering, and these trailer locks weren't exactly Fort Knox.

The inside of the trailer was clammy and smelled of old food and human perspiration. The only light was a thin flashlight beam lying unexpectedly on the floor. JuJu flashed his big, powerful beam on it, catching a glimpse of plump bare leg.

Quickly moving the beam, he brought her into focus. A young woman was splayed on her back, clutching a hugely swollen belly and weeping with pain and fear. She looked up at JuJu and gasped, "Help me, please help me."

JuJu knelt by her side. "Oh, ma'am, don't do this to me," he muttered to himself. "You gotta be evacuated..." JuJu didn't know much about labor, but he knew enough to see that it was too late to move her. Oh great. He would rather face down a crazed gunman than have to do this. Oh man, this is gonna be hairy.

***

Kawaihao Church was dressed for Christmas in Hawaiian flowers: smiling red anthuriums, delicate white hibiscus, spiky green maile leaves. The few kids who had arrived before the rain came on in earnest were magnificent in gleaming gold robes with white dickeys. The concert was going to be grand.

Except it wasn't going to happen. The weather had ruined everything. Duke had taken the day off work today deliberately -- planned it for a month -- so he could make sure that he made it to the youth Christmas concert. He had told everyone that he wasn't coming in for any reason, even if a nuclear bomb fell on downtown Honolulu. Tonight, he was just going to be Daddy instead of Sgt. Lukela of HPD.

As Sgt. Lukela, Duke had missed too many of his children's little milestones -- the day Hannah took her first steps, the day Eddie lost his first tooth. Hell, he had even missed the night that Charlie was born, because he was out being Joe Supercop on a stormy night not unlike this one. He had been determined not to miss this concert. He had even picked Eddie up after school and given him a ride over to the church. And now look -- it was a bust.

"Kids," Reverend Akaka was saying, "I wish I had better news. The radio is saying there's a no-travel advisory on for tonight. I'm afraid there won't be any concert, at least not tonight."

Everyone groaned. One of the other fathers brayed, "So are we stuck here?"

"Well, no travel is no travel. They're trying to keep the streets open for emergency traffic," Rev. Akaka said patiently. "So I wouldn't chance 'em."

Duke felt antsy. The weather really was getting worse and worse. He should probably leave Eddie here and report for duty. At least there he could be useful, instead of hanging around here with a few high school kids and their grouchy parents.

A look at his son's dejected face made him hesitate. Eddie was 14, and in the past year choir had become the most important thing in his life. When the choirmaster had chosen him to sing an exceptionally difficult solo on "O Holy Night," Eddie just about burst with pride and happiness. He hadn't been able to stop talking about it.

Duke still remembered what it was like to be 14 -- to have everything in the world to prove, and no opportunity to prove it. On second thought, HPD had lots of cops. Maybe he would hang around, at least for a little while.

***

Ted Hada hunkered down at his desk at Five-O headquarters, trying to make himself invisible. Maybe if he was lucky, Chin Ho Kelly wouldn't notice him and would just move straight on to McGarrett's office.

No such luck. "Hey, bruddah," Chin said heartily. "How 'bout this rainstorm?"

"Yeah. Pretty rainy," Hada replied. He didn't look up from up from his paperwork.

"Guess you know why I'm here." Chin jingled a sleigh bell. "Last chance to volunteer for Blue Santa."

"I already gave," Hada answered stoically.

"We need people to deliver the gifts, remember?" Chin whipped out a list of addresses. "C'mon, Ted. You and me -- we'll take some of the addresses on the windward side. Two old plantation boys, see some of our old haunts and bring some Christmas cheer to the kids. It'll be fun."

Hada looked up. "No, thanks," he said, biting off each word. "Chin, you bug me every year, and every year I say no. I hate Christmas, remember?"

"I don't believe that!" Chin protested. "Nobody hates Christmas!"

"I've got a news flash for you, Chin. I'm a Buddhist, OK? And last time I looked, so were you."

Chin was unfazed. "So what? Spirit of the season, bruddah."

"And second of all, I hate Christmas! So get outta my office!"

Chin just laughed. "One of these years, I'll win you over." He jingled his sleigh bell in Hada's face and then went off to pester McGarrett.

Hada sighed. He didn't know exactly why he hated Christmas so much. He had a whole speech he liked to give about Christianity -- about how it was a fairy-tale, cop-out religion for saps, sitting around waiting for a big daddy in the sky to save them. It was particularly satisfying to deliver this speech in front of his Christian buddies, like Duke Lukela, and watch them rise to the bait.

In the end, though, bait -- or BS -- was all it was. Hada didn't know much about Christianity, and almost as little about Buddhism. He hadn't darkened the door of a temple in years. Sometimes, he doubted whether God existed at all. If He did, He was out to lunch. As far as Hada could see, the universe was pretty random.

He hadn't used to feel that way. When he was a boy, his faith in God had been simple and uncomplicated. That was before 1944. He had spent the first part of that year dug into the side of a frozen mountain in Italy, watching his buddies being picked off in the siege of Cassino. There, he earned his first Purple Heart. He had spent the second part of the year in the Vosges Forest in France, where he earned his second Purple Heart. Eight hundred Nisei soldiers had been wounded or killed in a campaign to rescue 140 surrounded Texans. He spent Christmas of 1944 in a hospital. That year, Ted Hada learned that you counted on yourself and your buddies -- period.

Ever since, the false cheer of the Christmas season irritated him no end. Oh sure, he made sure his kids got the material things they craved -- bikes, dolls, and the like. And Miyoshi always decked the house out in holiday regalia, baked pies and cookies, and played some record of crickets singing Christmas songs until Hada felt like throwing the hi-fi out the window. Oh sure, they had a real All-American Christmas at the Hada house.

Even if to most of his fellow Americans, he was still a Jap.

Christmas! Hada pushed the thought from his mind. Forget it!

***

In contrast to Ted Hada, Steve's reponse to Chin was curt and to the point. "Sorry," he told Chin. "No time."

Chin looked disappointed, but he didn't waste time bantering with McGarrett or trying to persuade him to help distribute the Blue Santa baskets. He just nodded and went out to talk to May, the Five-O secretary. She would probably help Chin, McGarrett figured. Women were like that.

It wasn't that he didn't want to help with the police charity drive, McGarrett told himself. He did. He genuinely didn't have time. Not if he was going to develop a solid case against kumu leader Benny Kahuni to take before the grand jury in January. Steve figured bringing down Kahuni would do a lot more to help the children of Hawaii than distributing a bunch of used toys and a dinner that would be eaten in a few hours.

McGarrett had never had any trouble becoming engrossed in his work. He could quite easily work through the night without realizing it. Besides, it made sense to stay here given the bad weather outside. But before he dove completely into the details, he wanted to bring his boss up to date on the latest maneuvers by Kahuni's lawyers to get the case thrown out for lack of evidence. He punched Deford's intercom button and got an abstracted "OK" to visit the inner sanctum. Deford was probably equally absorbed in coordinating with district attorney Walter Stewart on the witnesses for the case.

Steve grabbed his folder and rounded the corner into Deford's office. What he saw brought him up short.

Deford and May had cleared the long formica-topped table from its usual host of papers and evidence. In its place was a pile of toys -- mostly games, but also a bright yellow plastic school bus and assorted stuffed creatures. May was rolling out brightly colored paper decorated with grinning Santa Clauses. Awkwardly, Deford was attempting to wrap it around a large board game called Clue.

McGarrett couldn't help but laugh. "Gift-wrapping committee?"

Deford was unabashed. "Well, Chin said it was an emergency." With a look of determination that he usually reserved for interrogating suspects, Deford managed to tear a piece of scotch tape from the roll and secure one edge of the paper to its opposite number.

Chuckling, McGarrett picked up a bear and adjusted its red bow tie. Then he started to brief Deford on the new developments regarding Kahuni. Deford and May continued with the gift wrapping while he talked, Deford's occasional questions letting McGarrett know that he was listening despite his efforts to wad paper around the next gift.

"Don't forget this doll," McGarrett said as May, smiling but firm, took over the task from the enthusiastic but hopelessly inept Deford. Deford might be the top cop in the islands, but he was never going to get a job in the Liberty House customer service department.

She scowled at him with mock annoyance. "That's not a doll, it's a stuffed animal."

"Whatever, luv," McGarrett said lightly, tossing her the bear.

"When you get those done," Deford told her, "I'll drive you home. I don't want you out in the storm. And I'll take the gifts over to HPD for the delivery."

"Thanks, boss," May smiled.

Deford walked over to his his second-floor window and gazed out at the rain. Usually jammed, King Street was practically deserted. It looked like for once, people were heeding the governor's warning to stay off the roads.

"I think we've got the evidence this time, Steve," Deford said softly. "1966 will be the year we put Benny Kahuni away for good."

"It's been a long time coming," McGarrett said.

"Fifteen years," Deford replied. "I've been on his tail ever since my days with the FBI." He looked at Steve shrewdly. "What are your plans for Christmas?"

"I'll be here," McGarrett said immediately. "Don't worry, Lloyd, I don't plan to overlook a single detail."

Deford's face took on a wry look.

"Wrong answer."

***

In his rubber raincoat, Julian Kala'oka suddenly felt unbearably warm. He ripped his walkie-talkie off his belt and opened the frequency to the evacuation coordinator. It was alive with static, but in a moment Sgt. Sakai's voice came on.

"This is Kala'oka," JuJu said quietly. "I got a woman in labor up here, so looks like I've got a job to do." The woman was still crying. JuJu avoided looking at her while he listened for a reprieve. It didn't come.

"Labor? Auwe!" Sakai replied. "We'll get medical assistance to you as soon as we can. Might be a little while."

"10-4." JuJu thumbed the walkie-talkie off and clipped it back to his belt. Then, he stripped off the raincoat. Gotta be efficient. Business-like. I've been trained. People do this every day.

"OK, ma'am," JuJu addressed the woman. "You got a bed in here? I'll move you someplace more comfortable." He knelt down by her side and started to slide his arm under her shoulders. She clutched him and shook her head fiercely.

"No! It's too late!" she told him, sounding close to panic. Then she grabbed her stomach and raised up on her elbows, groaning with strain. "It's coming! Oh, please God, help me, it's coming!"

JuJu felt the sweat pool under his arms. "OK, OK, that's fine, that's OK," JuJu said. "Everything's going to be OK. Listen, my name's Julian. What's yours?"

"Noelani," she gasped.

"OK, Noelani," JuJu said. "Just calm down, OK? I've done this lots of times."

Round frightened brown eyes locked on his, appearing huge in the harsh light of the flashlight. "Really?"

"Really," JuJu lied. His mind a blank, he waved his flashlight around the trailer. It looked just like the one he had shared with his parents as a little boy. Shabby, tattered, but not dirty. The little touches of people trying to get some pleasure out of a life marked mostly by futility and disrespect -- a beer can, a dog-eared Harlequin romance, some sewing projects -- baby clothes.

The bed looked like it belonged in the dump. He thought again of trying to move her, but it wouldn't work if she couldn't cooperate. She was young but not a small woman. Some towels, JuJu thought. That would help. Towels and water. He started to rise. Noelani grabbed his sleeve. "Don't leave me!"

He gently pried her fingers away. "Two seconds, that's all. I'll keep talking."

He got up and stepped over her. The trailer was tiny. He found it hard to remember how he and his parents had kept from tripping over each other. "OK, Noelani, I'm just getting some towels out of the bathroom here. Tell about me about you. Where's your people?"

"At work," she said, breathing hard between the contractions. "My dad works in the laundry at the Ilikai. My mom takes care of some babies for other ladies that work." She started to cry again. "It's not supposed to be like this! I'm scared!"

"No need," JuJu dropped the towels beside her and scrounged for a basin for water. "I'm a trained paramedic."

"I thought you were a cop!"

"I'm both," JuJu assured her. In reality, while he had the basic first aid training that all cops were required to have, he had actually never delivered a baby, and had always had the sneaking suspicion he might faint if he ever actually saw one being born. Well, he was going to get the chance to find out.

He managed to get a little warm water out of the tap. He hoped it was reasonably clean and not contaminated by the storm that beat on the sides of the trailer. Then he returned to her side. As he arranged his materials, Noelani raised up again and howled again with genuine pain. Feeling helpless, JuJu wet the corner of one towel and wiped her face.

"I love this baby!" she blurted, her breath coming in short, determined puffs. "He's going to be a good baby!"

"That's right, that's right, ma'am," JuJu said.

"I'm naming him Manny, after his daddy. We're getting married -- soon!"

"Where's he at?" JuJu asked. He unfolded a soft, worn towel. "I guess I'll put this here--" Reluctantly, he slid his arm under her again and gently spread the towel under her damp bottom. A feeling of dread crept up his spine. Her stomach was hugely distended and -- and -- moving, somehow. The baby was on its way.

"He's in school. We wanted to get married right away, but my daddy has hospital insurance, from his union. He said for us to wait so I could have the baby on the insurance." Her face twisted. "I guess that doesn't matter now."

"Sure it matters. It sounds like you have a nice daddy, and a nice boyfriend. That's what matters most."

"Dad was mad at first," Noelani admitted. "But then he just wanted to help me have a good baby." Her face contorted and she gasped and clutched her stomach again. She yelled out in pain. "It hurts!"

"OK, now, sweetheart, don't be embarrassed," JuJu said. "It's time for me to take a look." He crawled around and knelt between her legs. He wished he was a religious man so he could pray to God to give him strength. He didn't even know what he was supposed to be looking for.

Using his flashlight, he checked for some sign of progress on the birth. At first, he wasn't sure what he was looking at. Then he thought he did know. "Oh man," he breathed to himself. Then he hollered the only thing he could think of.

"Noelani! Push! Push!"

Go to Part 2

   
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