Monday, December 1, 2008

Thankful for all the giving

It has been awhile since I have written anything here. But after a great Thanksgiving week I had to sit and write a few thoughts. I spent the evening with Jen and Jill Jackson and some friends from BYU Hawaii. I also saw Quinn Curran and his 9-year girlfriend Darleen. These friends are really an extension of family to me; I cannot help but be grateful for the timeless relationships that have extended beyond the boundaries of the street that they began on. I recall this time of year and the annual Turkey Bowl… even now I can see Zack Chase, little Zack Chase, trying to tackle me and giving it all his effort, he’d take me down now with little more than a push. I remember the year of Hurricane Iniki back in 1992, there was no power and we cooked our turkey in an umu, to this day it was the best tasting turkey I have ever had. I recall that we didn’t need much to be thankful for and that we enjoyed the season with simple things. I remember going up to KGMB and signing with Sister Shumway’s children’s choir, I will never forget waking up on Christmas and forcing our parents to watch on our little color TV. Years later I found a copy of the video up at BYU Library and watched it, there were a few tears of laughter and of joy shed that day.
I am greatful for all the friendships that were created and continue because of the magical place, I consider home.

MeleKalikimaka

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jens B-day

This past week was a great one for me. Mike Jackson came to town, I have known Mike since before I could talk and think of him more of a brother than a friend. It was great having him around, it reminded me of the connection we have with one another and how no matter the space or time there it is, true friendship something that will always remain.
We drove up to Salt Lake and went over to Jens house, it was her birthday and we gathered together with other friends to wish her a happy birthday. Pam Harvey and her husband were there from Kentucky; her sister Cindy was there fresh from her permanent spot as reigning drama queen a Kahuku. Heather and Morgan Merdock showed up too with half their clan 5 and one on the way wow. Little Jill and here family were there, she’s a mom x 2…. errrr I am getting way to old. Cam Ottley showed up later that evening and we all laughed and talked story, it was a great time.
It was nice to hear old names and where and what they were up to, and obviously sad to talk of some of the ones who have not fared so well. But the love that was conveyed while we spoke of these famous Moana street brats was always present. Strange that there is a feeling of family with each other, we can speak of things that no one else can understand, laugh and cry and comprehend. Am I getting a little to deep….
I was happy to hear from Liz Rago and I checked out her blog, I also love looking at Jills blog. I also ran across Jeff and Kathys blog, if there are others out there I sure would like to know so I can add them to my list.
Saturday Mike, Jen my wife and I went to watch the Police, it was totally fun, we bumped into Quinn and Darlean we went out to eat and once again I found myself thinking wow, what a great thing to have, dose every one have this??? A connection that runs so deep, I guess I feel it more because I was living in the South and rarely came across a familiar face. But it could also be the fact that that time in that little town on that little island is a little special. Aloha

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer in Laie

Summer time is finally here, the sunshine has a way to reminding me of the good old’ days. Ward camp, b-b-q’s and just hanging out talking story till the sun went down. I remember riding my bike down Moana street to Mike Jackson’s to see if he wanted to go to Pounders or hike up to Laie falls. Who could have had a better childhood then those fortunate kids who called Laie home?
Summers seemed to last so long and there are so many adventures that fill my mind as I write this that I don’t know where to start. I remember one summer I was about 8 when we decided to start a tree house club in the Curran’s Banyan tree. They were doing construction up at BYU and Quinn and Mike Smith and I would go up there and find everything we needed to build our club. I recall climbing to the top branches of that tree and along with Quinn and Mike building our dream club house. We would swing from branch to branch 50 feet or so above the ground like little monkeys or Tarzan. Sister Curran would hold her breath as child after child would make there way up into the branches and play chasing tag or war, dangling carelessly from a limb and then leaping to another. As an adult now I am amazed that it was even allowed but as a child I was in heaven.
When my dad was a Bishop of the Student ward, we had so many weddings that we attended, so much food would find it’s way into our fridge, Kalua Pig, Chow min, Sheets of guava cake… the list goes on and on. I recall in the 5th grade counting the seconds on the clock with Roger Clarke and Mike Jackson as the bell finally rang, we screamed and jumped up and down, summers here, summers here. That summer I spent a lot of time at the BYU pool and the game room. Memories of riding my bike, through the streets of Laie, heading off to some new adventure, are so vivid in my mind.
As I got older and was in College summer meant that I could make some real money, and I recall the first year that I could push canoes. I had watched others like the Hannaman boys push the tourists up and down the cannels. Chris Ward and I had even broken into PCC to try our hand at it. I remember when it was my turn I was proud of the title Canoe Boy. Summers in Hawaii are special enough but living on a street with 50 kids made it beyond fun. Playing in the streets some new made up game or kick the can would always last forever. I can see the faces, Zach Chase, Quinn Curran, Mike Jackson, Alan Walker, Jimmy Joy… wow that’s a blast form the past. Later when I came home from England my fist summer in Hawaii I spent reminiscing with Anne and Josh Chase and Betsy Smith. I could go on and on with stories and names but I will save that for another time. One last thought and that is for some reason those families are spread out across the world, unlike other places where you can go home and see the families there after years away, Moana Street, just because of it’s nature, is ever changing. I wish there were a way we could all reconnect once again. Ohana is family and there is a special bond for the Moana Street Ohana...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Beautiful Laie

Yes the debate continues, where can a person live in beautiful Laie. It seems that this has been the center of many of the article of this blog. I just can't get over the fact that with things as tight as they are in Laie that there is not a long term answer. The fear of any real answer is that with new housing development the elements that make Laie the place it is changes.
The new president of BYU-Hawaii is caught is a tough position. Hopefully he can feel the unique nature of Laie and not as other haloes want to turn it into another Mililani. The country nature of Laie and the permanent residents are hopefully taken into account. After seeing all the changes over the years, not all for the best for the community, but driven by someone’s agenda.
I believe that there can be a balance of the two and I trust that there are those in the community that feel as strongly as I do that there is a need to keep the small town country feeling.
A few years ago I traveled to Kauai and was surprised at how much it reminded me of Laie when I was a kid and I realized that my little country town had changed right under my nose, I hadn’t even realized it.
So here in my attempt to express my feelings for Laie I hope I don’t come across to sentimental but as someone who really has the best for Laie and those who call it home in mind.
I remember as a young boy walking home from school thinking how lucky I was to have friends that knew me and what I believed. Catching waves at Hukilau and hiking the trails up to Laie Falls playing under the pacific sun I always felt blessed. Later when I went to BYU Hawaii, I was amazed that others wanted to leave and go to Utah. I loved seeing the sun come up as I walked up towards the campus. I was always happy to see faces of those I had always known. The magic is the balance between everything, the cultures, the church, the university and the fact they all come together in paradise make for a place that is often called ideal. How many place on earth can you honestly say are so ideal? So my plea is to protect this place, and not be in such a hurry to change the dynamics. I realize that change must come but let us measure in line upon line. Once we make the change it will not be so easy to turn it back.
My grandfather would tell me of how Laie was when he was young, and how beautiful it was. My good friend Gordon Broad, would tell me of the Beauty hole and of other great times that he had in Laie when he was young. I am not naive to think that I can halt the changing tides, but I do believe that there are some things that should not be tampered with …

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Looking for a way back home


Ever since the day I left Hawaii, I have been planning a way to get back home. How is that possible without me making a million dollars over here on the mainland? So what is the answer to this problem. My boy Aaron Campbell along with Moa Mahe are working on a housing project on 455 acres on the West side of Malaekahana. That’s close to where my Dad was born and raised. Aaron said in an article in the Kaleo, “What disturbed me is that all of my classmates and friends left. I lived in Provo [Utah] for 11 years, and all of my friends want to return. We're not developers in the traditional sense. This project is really hard now, because of the economy. We've got some huge hurdles, but it's not impossible." They have created an affordable housing coalition with over 400 people already signed on. If this isn’t a statement that things are bad I don’t know what is.
In the church we are told to stay home and build our home communities, What can be done to create not only homes but opportunity in Laie? In this digital age there may be more ways to create an income than BYU and the PCC. But still there needs to be more viable places to find employment than traveling to town everyday. I did that for a year and a half just before I moved and it got old very fast.
Even getting a job at BYU dose not mean you will have a home to call your own. There are about 12 faculty families that are not living in faculty housing. And now that the Moana Street project has been stopped there are no other real options.
Even though I don’t really want to see things change too much in Laie, I can’t argue that living in the same house with your mother and father and your sisters and her family is the way to go. I know of a lot of friends that are doing just that.
I think of all the talented people who are not in Laie anymore, what a loss to the community, what could these minds have brought to the building up of our home area?
I get envious of people over here who see their friends at the ball park or out shopping, doing business with each other creating and developing their community as I think of their pride of Saint George and compare it to my pride of Laie I often tear up wondering, what if I never left, could I have made it? Sure I could have just like so many others did. But what about all those that didn’t those who thought they couldn’t, so many names and faces that don’t walk those familiar streets any more. I went to a Kahuku game here in Utah last year and was blown away at the faces I saw… There were more old timer here then back home in fact a lot of the people living in Laie today haven’t been there longer then 10 years.
Still I long to give my children what I had when I was their age and what my dad had and his father…and his father. Then sun on their skin the smell of salt in their nose, sand between their toe and the feeling of Aloha in the people.
I am still searching for my way back home, maybe I will make my millions, maybe that is what is will take.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Island Fever

I just got finished reading that HRI has pulled out of the affordable housing project... I also have heard that the Moana street project is not going to happen. I was happy to hear about Moana Street but honestly the idea of not building any new homes in Laie worries me. I am living in Saint George Utah, and their are many others here too. The main subject of conversations when we meet is how to get back home. I don't know about others out there but from the day I left home I have been trying to figure out how to get back there. The subject of cost of living always arises and the fact that there are no home for sale and even if there were "how could I afford a home in Hawaii”?
Yesterday the thought came to me about the luxury of life compared to quality of life. I was thinking of the depth of friendships I have back home in Laie and the community not just in Laie but the feeling of ohana in Hawaii. I was comparing that to what my kids have here. Funny but their best friends are the kids of my friends from Laie. My boys’ hag out with Matt Wade’s boys and with their cousins, Curtis Reeds boys... It is funny that even here I have gravitated to the friends from the islands. I work with Cam Ottley and Curtis Reed and for Ted Johnson who I first met at BYU Hawaii.
People always ask me how I could live on an island and if I got island fever, I thought about this for awhile and realized that even here in the mainland I have created a little island for myself, I think we all do. I go to work, shop at the same stores, go to the same restaurants, go to the same church… you get my point I get more island fever here in the mainland then I ever had in Hawaii.