While on special assignment in the Hawaiian islands researching the ever-elusive phenomenon of “White Christmas,” our correspondents stumbled upon an even bigger scoop just when all hope of a good story seemed to have faded. Yes, in a Chronicles exclusive, we bring to our loyal readers our own gift of a story, just in time for the holidays:
Hiking with Obama
It all started just a few days ago, with the deadline for the story on “White Christmas” fast approaching. It seemed to be nothing more than visions of treetops glistening and children listening, with our staff growing ever more dejected and almost as devoid of Christmas spirit as Ebeneezer Scrooge himself. We did snap pictures of beautiful Christmas lights and even caught sight of Yoda, 3PO, R2D2, the Minions, and others. But alas, no one we talked to had ever even dreamed of a white Christmas.
In an effort to reinvigorate our campaign, and with perhaps just a sliver of hope of hearing sleigh bells ringing atop Koko Head on the island of O’ahu, we finally decided to take the advice of many of those whom we had interviewed in Hawai’i seeking information about white Christmas, snow, sleigh bells, and all related things: we went’ for a hike.
Koko Head is a popular hiking destination with promises of spectacular views for those who brave the steep climb along railroad tracks that sometimes cross over caverns below, with lush greenery and dense vegetation bordering on either side. But the payoff is worth the lost calories for those whose legs are tough enough for the trek. The view from the abandoned pillboxes and remnants of other structures is a breathtaking 360 degree panorama of paradise. Strong gusts of wind blow from only one side of the peak as a welcome reward to cool off those who have ascended the summit warmed by the climb beneath rays of the Pacific sun.
Despite the natural beauty of sweeping vistas and bucolic landscapes, disappointment started to sink in as we had come no closer to the mirage we had been chasing all along. We were greeted by no secret revelations at our destination; No signs of a white Christmas.
After a few minutes of recuperation and taking in the surrounding scenery, we started our descent. Not long thereafter, an otherwise seemingly ordinary bearded man approached with a strange request.
“Excuse me. We need to search you for weapons”
“Excuse me. We need to search you for weapons” he said. In response to my befuddled look, no doubt, he added: “I am with the secret service” and flashed a badge.
Perhaps all was not lost! Those who told us to “take a hike” in response to our inquiries about their experiences of a white Christmas may have been giving us riddled guidance to the secrets we were after all along. We may yet uncover the mystery surrounding white Christmas on our walk! But who would have guessed even Santa Clause had to step up security to such an extent? “We have a visitor. It is for security” the man with abundant facial hair said as produced a metal detector and asked us to raise our arms so he could perform a weapons search.
Excited at the prospect of getting an exclusive interview with the jolly old man from the North Pole, we were more than willing to submit to whatever security measures were deemed necessary. After the secret service representatives were satisfied that our pockets concealed nothing more than telephones, cameras, and granola bars, our team assembled at a designated spot along the trail, waiting for the “visitor” to arrive.
Soon enough, a motorcade of vehicles appeared at the foot of the mountain, with a trail of personnel spreading out to secure the area. Finally, we could see a small cluster of a core group making their way up the mountain from below.
The anticipation was building with each step as we watched them approach, wondering with our hearts racing, could this really be Santa Clause? Had he relocated from the North Pole to the island breeze of Hawai’i? Would he bring a white Christmas?
As the group got closer and closer on the steep hillside, we could at last begin to make out just who it was for whom all the security had been provided.
It was our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama! As he approached, we quickly composed ourselves enough to brainstorm a few questions for an impromptu interview seeking answers to the secrets he, too, was undoubtedly after: where had white Christmas gone? Were there any hints to be found on top of Koko Head? Will our days be merry and bright? Will all (or even any) of our Christmases be white?
Although President Obama was cheerful and polite, we cannot provide the full details of our brief discussion, for reasons of national security. We can state that based on the authority of a personal Presidential proclamation punctuated by a handshake, we were reassured that we would have a merry Christmas, and our days would be bright. And sure enough, today, on Christmas Day, it all proved to be true! We did indeed have a merry Christmas, and our days are bright! Even the treetops are glistening, though not with snow, although it is as yet unsettled whether children are listening.
Did President Obama and Santa Claus have a “White Christmas Summit” at the summit of Koko Head? Will we see a resurgence of white Christmases, merry and bright? Or is it best to leave matters of national security and Christmas mysteries in the hands of experts?
For our part, our correspondents are happy simply with the unexpected surprise of having met President Obama face-to-face, and having received his reassurances of a merry Christmas along with a handshake and exchange of pleasantries. Even if our photographer, instead of capturing the moment of our handshake, snapped a picture of the Presidential gluteal muscles getting a workout while scaling the mountain!