I love the shopping center in Ele'ele .. it represents and displays many of the fine qualities within the social fabric of Kauai. This place is inhabited by regular people coming and going in their regular lives on this "anything but regular" paradise in the middle of an ocean. This is a "place displaced" from areas that are typical haunts of visitors who come to enjoy the fantasy they've imagined. This place is alive in a different manner than the beaches, restaurants, and designer shops. This place is home and haven for those who happily and unselfishly give to create the ambiance of Aloha on our island for everyone fortunate enough to touch these shores. Walking the aisles of the grocery store in Ele'ele Shopping Center is where I see my heros .. the beautiful working folks of Kauai.
I made my way to the cards Monday, looked through them for a couple of minutes, then walked to another aisle where I recalled seeing a few more cards. When I got to that aisle, it became instantly apparent the previous selection was much better and I turned to go back to that area. As I turned, a young lady walked up to the cards and was obviously dismayed by the poor selection, so I mentioned the other aisle and she joined me as we trekked back to select cards appropriate to our individual occasions. As it turned out, the really good cards were in packs of 12, with 13 envelopes just in case you blow it and need an extra. I always suspect the extra envelope was done with me in mind since I generally need one envelope in the beginning in order to exercise my perfectionist spacing habits .. sigh.
Nothing is particularly inexpensive on Kauai. Considering the distances involved and the cost of transporting goods, higher prices should come as no surprise to anyone. One need only watch the slow progress of a tugboat pulling a barge full of paper goods in from Oahu to fully grasp the reason for added costs. As the young lady's face became more and more contorted while I watched her turn each box over and look at the prices, it became obvious to me this was a major purchase, and not necessarily a comfortable purchase.
I suck at sending cards. It's not that I don't want to wish everyone the very best during the holiday season, and it's certainly not that I don't wish every human being on the planet wonderful thoughts for a prosperous and peaceful year to come. I just suck at getting the job done. That's why the telephone and the internet were invented .. so "Sucky Card Senders" like me can earn a reprieve from those whom I hope know I love them. I didn't need twelve cards and thirteen envelopes.
"How many cards do you need?", I asked the young lady. "Ten" was her concise and positive reply. She then smiled and began telling me about the people in her life who were destined to be the lucky recipients of her thoughtfulness. "Do you like this card?" I asked her as I held up the box of my favorite. "That's the one I love too!" was her exuberant reply.
I bought a box of cards this past Monday. It was my honor to present ten of them (and eleven envelopes) to a young lady who was ever so thankful. I sent one of those cards to my Son and his wonderful Family and, true to form, there is still one card in the side pocket of my car door. Should have given her eleven!
There is a wonderful feeling which can only be experienced through the act of giving. I walked out the front door of the grocery at Ele'ele Shopping Center enjoying that feeling and there stood four young ladies ... still. Since I was feeling good, and since I'm not exactly the bashful type to begin with, I looked at the group and laughingly asked them if they were waiting for Santa Claus. They were not waiting for Santa Claus. They were in a quandary concerning how to return to Kapaa, on the other side of the island. Seems they had missed the island bus, didn't know when the next bus would appear, and the collective anxiousness to return to their hotel and an awaiting surf lesson showed itself when they told me they were calling for a cab. All of this was expressed in a lovely Australian accent .. nice girls. I wished them well and walked to the car.
My car was facing directly towards those young ladies and you know what happened next. As I stopped in front of them and declared I was going to take them "home", their smiles enhanced an already gratifying day. We had a wonderful drive. I showed them places they probably wouldn't have seen in their short time on Kauai and they filled the car with a vibrant energy I would never have experienced had I not listened to the voice inside, urging me to act with Aloha. The ladies were at the end of a six week odyssey to America ... I hope they liked us. Ladies of Perth, if you are reading this blog I want to say "Mahalo" to you for spreading your wings and letting us experience you. I also invite you to CLICK HERE for one mans view concerning the importance of travel to all humans on earth, our shared home. Ladies, you are great Ambassadors .. keep up the good work!
I'm the lucky one. I am the recipient of happiness which can only occur as a result of giving. I was fortunate to receive a wonderful confirmation of this universal law on Monday at Ele'ele Shopping Center .. where a good person sits, waving a bell for the Salvation Army.
I'm a very common man who lives and works on the island of Kauai. I frequently do business at Ele'ele Shopping center. My heroes walk those aisles of the grocery store, stand in line at the bank, and buy a prescription for their colds at the pharmacy. By their example I am learning Aloha .. hoping one day I will be someone's hero too, as I'm certain all of you will be ...
Aloha et Au revoir,