KAHUNA LAGUNA’S MONKEY MASCOT
COMES TO NORTH CONWAY
Somewhere on a little island very, very south of here lived a monkey named Keeko Kahuna. Keeko was a brown monkey who just loved to play and eat bananas. He would get up each morning when the sun was just starting to rise so he could have a full day of play. On this island it was always sunny and warm, just how he liked it, and he had a lagoon to swim in and lots of plants and big palm trees that made his island a fun place to live.
Keeko didn’t know many other monkeys on the island because he was always so busy playing and gathering bananas for his next meal. He did have a best friend, though – a funny, tall purple mask carved of wood which he named Tiki. Keeko often thought that Tiki brought him good luck.
One day, as the two played, the skies grew gray and dark and small drops of rain were falling from the sky, hitting the palms gently. Keeko didn’t like the rain because it got in the way of playing and he knew he had to take cover soon; rain would probably fall fast for a while but it usually didn’t last too long.
LITTLE MONKEY, BIG STORM
The rain was really coming down now and the thunder and lightning was a little scary, but he just kept his cover and he had Tiki to keep him safe. Hours of pouring rain turned into days of pouring rain and strong winds. Keeko did not see another living creature for days. The trees were starting to snap and blow away, and the island would never be the same after such a storm. The water was starting to get deep on the ground so he climbed a palm tree and hung on as tight as he could.
He held on with all his might when all of a sudden the wind took the tree – and Keeko and Tiki – on a ride through the air right into the ocean! Keeko was safe for now. As long as he held on, he knew he could float for a long time. He hugged his friend and said, “Tiki, please keep us safe and help us get rescued soon.” He hoped that his lucky charm could get them out of trouble this time.
The monkey and his friend found themselves floating in the warm ocean water. When rays of sun started to appear through the clouds, Keeko became so tired he fell fast asleep. A while later, a loud noise suddenly awoke Keeko. As his eyes worked to focus he could see a boat in the distance. He was going to be rescued! As the boat came closer, Keeko waved his arms faster and faster. The man at the wheel, Captain McBride, spotted the little brown monkey and wanted to help him, so he pulled up to the floating palm tree and scooped Keeko and Tiki into his boat. The captain was a fisherman from Cape Cod and had been out to sea for days, so he was glad to have company.
FISHING WITH CAPTAIN MCBRIDE
Captain McBride gave Keeko a towel and some food and water, and asked the little monkey where he was from. Keeko did not know and was sure his island was gone anyway. The fishing boat was headed north, and Keeko was having fun, so he told the captain he would just like to see land again. Since the captain had just started his fishing trip he was not going to dock for five days, so Keeko was happy to tag along.
Over the next couple of days Keeko had great fun. They caught lots of fish and pulled up traps full of lobsters. On the fifth day, the fishing boat docked in Portland, Maine. They dropped off fresh fish and lobsters to the local fish markets. The captain had to get back out to sea, so he said goodbye to Keeko and wished him luck.
Keeko and Tiki wandered around the docks for a while and watched all of the people, most of whom were working. The weather was hot and sunny just like at home. He wasn’t sure where he really was but it looked like a lot of fun. He was starting to get hungry when he spotted a big truck with a picture of bananas and vegetables on it, so he decided to take a closer look. As they got closer to the truck Keeko could smell his favorite food. Six days had passed since his last banana. He climbed into the back of the truck and saw piles and piles of bananas, so he helped himself to all the bananas a monkey could eat. He thought, “This place is great! I don’t have to work for my bananas anymore! Someone else picks them for me!”
NEXT STOP: NORTH CONWAY!
Keeko was sitting in the back of the delivery truck eating as many bananas as he could, when he suddenly felt the truck moving. He got up to take a peek out and he could see the ocean getting farther away. He wasn’t sure where the truck would take him but wherever he was going, he was sure that he would have plenty of bananas! The ride was very interesting as the truck sped past passed beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains and forests. Keeko was excited. This was going to be a great place to live!
After a couple of hours, Keeko could feel the truck climbing a big hill so he decided to take another peek. He saw lots of trees and mountains. When they reached the top of the hill, he saw a big building. The truck stopped, and then backed up to the building. When it came to a stop, Keeko grabbed Tiki and a small supply of bananas and jumped out. He was ready to start exploring. He saw the truck driver begin to unload the fruit and take it into the building, so he decided he had time to wander around a little. What a wonderful place this was, with its thick green forest, funny-looking swings and what looked like a tropical lagoon.
OAKLEY THE FOX LENDS A HAND
He wandered around the beautiful grounds full of flowers and the greenest grass he had ever seen. As he sat in the grass he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He looked up and saw a fox staring at him with his hands on his hips. He looked at Keeko and said,
“Excuse me, Mr. Monkey, but can I help you with something?”
Keeko stuttered a little and replied, “Mm…my name is Keeko.”
“And what are you doing here, Mr. Keeko?” said the fox.
“I landed on your island this morning after a terrible storm. My home has washed away so I need to find a new home. Can you help me?”
The fox smiled. “Well, of course I can! My name is Ridgely and this is my home.”
“Wow, you have a wonderful home,” replied Keeko. Ridgely smiled proudly
Ridgely was born and raised nearby and knew his way around. He told Keeko he could stay in his den until they found him a place of his own. Keeko was so happy – and a little relieved – because at that moment he saw his banana truck pulling down the driveway without him!
Ridgely gathered some fox snacks and wanted to hear Keeko’s whole story. Keeko told him about the storm and Ridgely thought he was very brave. Keeko explained that Tiki helped him be brave and also got them rescued. Ridgely had a puzzled look on his face and said, “He looks like a mask. How did he help you?”
“He is my good luck charm and my friend,” replied Keeko.
Ridgely thought Keeko was a little silly, but he was nice enough, so he invited both of them into his den for the evening.
The sun had just about set and it was starting to get dark, so they decided to call it a night. Keeko followed Ridgely past the “lagoon,” down a hill, and into a hole in the ground. “This is your house?” Keeko asked, surprised. “In the ground, with dirt as walls?”
“Yes,” replied Ridgely. “Why do you look so surprised?”
“I guess I just never knew anyone that lived in the dirt before.” Then Keeko realized he had almost forgotten his manners and quickly added, “But thank you for sharing your home.”
As they entered Ridgely’s den, Keeko thought it was a nice little place; though barely big enough for Keeko, Tiki and their host, it would do for now. There was a bed, a couch, a chair and a table. And all of them! Keeko got the couch, Tiki the chair and Ridgely nestled in his comfortable bed. All settled in for the night. Keeko and Tiki had such a long day they slept well despite the lumpy couch.
The next morning, Ridgely cooked breakfast and Keeko brought out the last of the bananas. Keeko jumped up to go outside. As soon as he felt the air he started to shiver. Ridgely came outside and with a big stretch said, “What’s wrong Keeko?”
Keeko replied, “I love to play all day but it’s so cold and the sun is out, I don’t understand!”
“It’s a beautiful day and it’s warm,” said Ridgely, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Keeko continued to shiver “This is not warm for me! Does it get much colder than this?” Ridgely wasn’t sure what to tell him except for the truth. He said, “Keeko, we have great winters here with lots of snow to play in, but the snow is cold.”
Keeko was sad and scared as he thought, “What am I going to do? I need somewhere warm to live!” Keeko wasn’t sure what he would do next, but Ridgely was already thinking about how he could help Suddenly, Ridgely had a great idea and blurted out excitedly, “I know where you could live and be warm all the time: The Red Jacket Mountain View! They are making their indoor pool bigger, it is very warm and has lots of water for you to play in – let’s go see it!”
Keeko looked up with big eyes and a large smile, and said, “That sounds great!” Ridgely was happy to cheer up his new friend.
HIS VERY OWN TROPICAL LAGOON
After breakfast the two friends cleaned up and headed out for a little trip. Ridgely led the way through the woods since he knew exactly how to get there. As they came out of the woods Keeko saw a big white building.
“Is this my new home?”
“Yes!” answered Ridgely.
“It’s so big and beautiful, but where will I live?” asked Keeko.
“Right over there,” said Ridgely, as he pointed to a big building surrounded by dump trucks and bulldozers.”They are building a giant new indoor pool. You’ll have lots of room to swim and play, and it will always be warm there.
Keeko was so excited. “This will be great, I’ll have lots of room and I will be warm!”
Nobody was around so he decided to go in and take a peek. He entered the building through a construction door and explored. He thought this would be the perfect home for him. There were piles of dirt and the beginnings of a pool. A group of workmen were digging a big hole, and Keeko looked in the hole and decided to draw waves in it. The pool would be more fun if it had waves.
The next day when Ron, the project manager, came in, Keeko hid. Ron saw the drawings of the waves and thought, “What a great idea, let’s make a wave pool!” Keeko chuckled to himself and was excited as he watched the workers build a wave pool.
When the crews were finished and had gone for the day, Keeko was walking around and thought about his lagoon back home on his island, and how much fun he had on the rock slides. Keeko drew pictures of slides in the dirt. Ron came in to check the wave pool when he noticed the slide drawings. “WOW! Let’s make giant water slides for the children,” he thought. Keeko was very proud of himself. Each day when the workers went home for the night, he continued to draw his ideas in the dirt and Ron and his crew would make Keeko’s ideas become real. He realized that he hadn’t seen Ridgely in a long time and went for a visit. He told Ridgely all that had been happening and how happy he was, and he invited Ridgely over to see the new water park.
KEEKO MEETS RON
Ridgely was happy to see Keeko and loved the new water park at the Red Jacket.
“The children will love it!” Ridgely said with excitement. “Does anyone know you are staying here?”
“No,” said Keeko. “I hide during the day and play all night.”
“Well Keeko, it’s time to let someone know you’re here.”
“Do you think they will let me stay?” asked Keeko.
“There’s only one way to find out,” replied the fox. Later that day, after all of the workers left, Ron was walking around the project that started as a swimming pool and had turned into a water park. Keeko spotted him and cleared his throat to get Ron’s attention. When Ron saw him, Keeko had a scared look on his face and his eyes got really wide.
“Who are you?” bellowed Ron.
“My name is Keeko. I have been living here for a couple of months now.”
“Why are you living here?” Ron asked. They sat down and Keeko told him the whole story, and explained that he was the one who had been doing the drawings in the dirt. Ron laughed so loudly that his great big beard shook over his chin like a waterfall as he replied, “Well, if you want to live here you must earn your keep and work like everyone else.”
“I would love to work here, but what can I do? I am just a monkey,” Keeko replied.
Ron thought for a minute. “Children love monkeys – you could greet our guests and be our mascot.” “That sounds like fun, I would love to!” said Keeko.
Over the next few weeks there was a lot of cleaning up and preparations made for the grand opening of the new water park. The Davenport family, who owned the resort, decided to name the new water park Kahuna Laguna in honor of Keeko’s favorite swimming spot on his lost island.
THE GRAND OPENING
All of the employees and guests were excited for the grand opening. Just before the big event, Keeko overheard Ron talking with Mr. Davenport about using really big scissors to cut the ribbon for the grand opening. Ron also said someone really important should cut the ribbon since this was such a special project. Keeko just smiled when he heard this, since he was sure they were talking about having him cut the ribbon! He was so proud of himself that he invited Ridgely and some of his friends to come and watch the festivities.
It was all planned for a Monday in August, and Keeko could hardly wait. When Monday morning finally rolled around, he was so excited that he looked for Ron to get some pointers on the ceremony. Ron was talking on the phone when Keeko overheard Ron say, “Isn’t it great that the Governor of New Hampshire himself, John Lynch, will be doing the ribbon cutting?” Keeko became instantly sad. He thought HE was going to be the one who cut the ribbon!
Keeko was so disappointed he left a note for Ron telling him how he felt. Then, he picked up the big scissors and took them with him! Ron didn’t realize Keeko’s feelings were hurt, so when he found the note, off he went on the resort shuttle to look for Keeko. He found Ridgely nearby and asked him to help find Keeko. Fortunately, Ridgely knew exactly where to look and found him in no time. Ridgely told Keeko that Ron was very worried and needed to talk to him. Keeko spotted the shuttle and hopped on, finding Ron waiting inside. They talked for a few minutes and Keeko told him his feelings had been hurt. Ron told Keeko that it was all a misunderstanding, and that the plan all along was to have Keeko help the governor cut the ribbon. Keeko smiled and hugged Ron, and they went as fast as they could to the new water park, which was scheduled to open at any minute. Everyone was waiting as they pulled up to the entrance of the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort. As Keeko stepped off the shuttle carrying the large scissors he was surprised to see everyone there. And together, the little monkey from a faraway tropical island and the Governor of New Hampshire officially opened Kahuna Laguna!
(Written by Linda Boyer of North Conway, NH)