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The Balinese Lady

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pablus posted on Tue, Mar 1, 2005 6:54 PM

If you're a neubie and haven't yet realized how fantastically charmed my life usually is then go here and read this thread.


Weep for joy that such a lucky fellow exists.
And please - read on.

I've been, on occasion, posting about my uncle Bill for a couple of years now.
He was a bartender at the Bali Hai in Canton/Massillon, Ohio.

Many of the RatPack and other "mobby" types would come in with their cronies from Youngstown and quaff drinks at a premier Tiki Bar without having to go into Cleveland, a risky proposition in those days.

I've searched for a matchpack - a napkin - anything to place in the Lagoon Lounge as a token of my pride at Bill's former gig.

So, in Massillon this past November, my cousin (Bill's son) and my aunt (the wife) and I go on a Tiki Quest of our own.

We go to the old location and talk to the owner who has lots of info but not one thing from the old place. He gives us a couple of leads but they end up pretty much going nowhere.

It was rainy outside that day, miserable.
We went downtown and asked the antique merchants and thrift shop attendants if they know of a mug or anything. We got nothing. Blank stares and the numb response you'd expect from these folk on a cold, rainy day.

Massillon is an old town. Brick everything.
And we huddled into a little bar in the center of town called "The Hideaway."

While enjoying the drinks, my cousin turned to me and said, "You know, my dad used to run this bar. He named it the Hideaway. It was after he left the Bali Hai."

The waitress looked at him and said, "I thought you looked familiar. I've been here for 20 years and remember 'Ol Sarge (he was an army sergeant). Yeah - it started out as a Tiki bar or something."


"There's still some of that stuff in the basement."

Wide-eyed silence.

"Ummm, can we go look at it?" I ventured.


The sense of excitement overwhelmed as we descended past the cobwebbed, black brick walls.

On the floor - leaning against this dank wall for over 25 years - were 2 rough Balinese carvings and other assorted, damaged tikithings. Wow.

Not being familiar with Witco, other than what I had seen at the Hawaiian Inn, I guessed that these were Witco carvings and immediately coveted them greatly. They were, after all, purchased by my uncle for his very own Polynesian Bar.

We strode back upstairs like little kids who had broken into a candy machine.

I asked to speak to the owner and came up with a figure, $100.00 for both of the carvings, I was sure he would take.

"Not interested." That was gruff snort at the other end of the line... and then... "Well, tell 'em I'll be there in a few hours."

He never showed. And he didn't show for the next day and he wouldn't take or return any phone calls. We had lost.

Well, they had been there for 30 years or so they would probably be there next year when I went back.

At Christmas, this year, my cousin went back to the hinterlands and upon his return to Tampa called me over for a few drinks. A twinkle worthy of St. Nick appeared in his eye as he handed me a large bag. There they were. The 2 Witco pieces from my uncle's past.
"How...?" I started.

He wove a tale worthy of a Kahuna's myth. Intrigue and theft and heart-pounding escapes... and there they were. We treated them and placed them in the Lagoon Lounge and Swanky took this photo.

Ahhhhhh, it looks great there doesn't it?

But there is more.

The next night as we ate dinner at Julian's in Daytona Beach. Swanky leaned over to me and said in his low-keyed southern drawl "There's your Witco piece over on that wall." And there it was. The very same carving, just mounted on a frame.

I wanted to tell the story to Vern as I thought he would get the biggest kick out of it, not knowing that the queen and king of Witco were sitting right there (NeptuneTiki and Wahine) and that bigbrotiki would hear me as well. So I told the tale, including the purloining of the treasure and then pointed across the room and boldly pronounced, "...and there it is right there. The very same piece."

A deep, accented voice booms, "The Balinese Lady... she is very rare. You did the right thing rescuing that piece from the dungeon."

It was bigbro - I had been absolved. All was right with the world.

Hao iĆ¢ oe, Uncle Bill and thanks for the souvenir.

A hui hou.

[ Edited by: pablus on 2005-03-02 06:38 ]


Damn, that reads like fiction! What a great story! Those pieces rightfully belong in your bar - conratulations! Now how about filling us in on the details of their liberation - I wanna hear more! :)


Very Cool!

What a great story!
I like your style man.

Please continue to share more of your great stories, Better yet write them in a book.
Thanks for sharing , looks great.


An excellent read! Exactly how goodies should be found-and appreciated.



Swanky posted on Wed, Mar 2, 2005 6:10 AM

Better yet, make them into more songs like "Hukilau Hurricane"...

On 2005-03-01 23:56, rodeotiki wrote:
Please continue to share more of your great stories, Better yet write them in a book.
Thanks for sharing , looks great.

can you all imagine... "TIKI SCORES".. a compilation book of great stories such as this. i'm pre-ordering now...

I remember the moment you pointed to that mask in Julian's. You're a great storyteller my friend. Mahalo for sharing the drama with the rest of the tribe.


Pablus, that story brought a tear to my eyes and a big ZAZZZ!! to my lips!

That is the BEST story! I love it! My dream is to somehow discover a Witco turtle, goldfish, or gator stool and have a fantastic story to tell. I really want one!


On 2005-03-01 18:54, pablus wrote:
He wove a tale worthy of a Kahuna's myth. Intrigue and theft and heart-pounding escapes...

Pablus, you left us hanging... I imagine any more detail on this might prove incriminating, though.

Thanks for the great story!

I recently met the balinese lady the other night at a party, in her full body glory, only missing one arm. (wich I hope will be found) a girl showed her to me. had her in the trunk of her car. said her mom had it in the back yard for years, along with some similar stuff. I asked if her mom would sell her, and she said maybe. I'd never seen this piece before. about four feet tall, full body, slightly witco style painted. now I must have her.

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