Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Big Island salute

Flossie, now considered a tropical storm and not a hurricane, is pounding the Big Island today. There is a large wind farm -- maybe 30 huge turbines -- near the southernmost tip of the Big island (which is the southernmost point in the good old US of A). I hope the storm doesn't blow the turbines over. Can they be folded up like an umbrella (since they can't be furled like the old-fashioned picturesque Dutch windmills)?

I like the Big Island because I have many memories of three different trips.

Sam Kawahara grew up there. I met Sam in San Francisco when he was a student in a training program and I was an instructor. He later hired my boss Charles Whitson and me to spend a couple weeks in Hawai'i doing some training for his staff. Sam very cleverly scheduled the training around a long weekend. He used that weekend to give me and Charles a wonderful tour of the island, generously including us in a huge family reunion that Sunday afternoon (he had married into the Lum clan). Somewhere, there is a picture of two grinning haoles surrounded by the extended Lum and Kawahara families. We drank a fair amount of Primo brand beer on that trip. It's no longer made, and I'm told by friends in Hawai'i that nobody mourned the demise of Primo.

Karin Whitson, Charles' wife, years later became a pastor in Hilo. My family visited Karin and Charles in 2001. Once again, we were treated royally. Charles and Karin became close friends with Sam Kawahara, who had by then retired. Fascinating circle of events and friendships against a backdrop of stunning beauty.

In between these two trips, my wife and I were there for a brief vacation (long ago, before children). We stumbled across a baseball game between the University of Hawaii-Hilo players and alumni. It was fun to see this relaxed game in such a relaxed place. Also on that trip I bought a tee-shirt from the Cane Haul Road company (still in business) with a picture of a box of manapua on it. Man, I liked that shirt. Manapua, not so much, but the shirt was still cool.

On all three trips, we visited the volcanoes, which have fascinated me since I was a kid.

So, Big Islanders, take this storm in stride as you do everything else.


Bleeet said...

You know apart from stunning natural beauty, kind people, diverse fauna, geopolitical strategic importance, and nearly immaculate weather, what does Hawai'i really have going for it? Huh?

I'm not convinced.

Jim H. said...

As they used to say (and probably still do): "Another shitty day in paradise."