Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Returning the rental car, and the kindness of a stranger

Well, I guess I am more American than I want to admit. You know that American that must have their own means of transportation. Having a car here was great. My own car to get around in with good gas mileage, what a treat. When you travel for this long it helps you get out and see more and give you back that ever so needed sense of independence. We Americans and our little metal privacy boxes with wheels. How do you spell MASS TRANSPORTATION or TRAIN? There is a bus that goes around the island and it is free but it just did not quite work for me. I could not get where I wanted to be and when I wanted to be on their bus.
So I kept the car as long as I could and now I am back at Jamie's to finish my work.

A really nice man from enterprise gave me a ride to Keaau so Jamie could pick me up there.
We took the back road for a while and he told me about living in Hawaii all his life.
He had kids the same age as mine and he told me how he had explained to his daughter that "everyday is a special gift." He said it so tenderly I knew it was one of those times I needed to listen closely. She had lost a lot of friends to death from car accidents, drugs, illness and more and she is only 25.
Life is a gift and life is precious. Maybe it is not fun all the time or a barrel of laughs every moment but yes. He is right. We should not take it for granted. I was so lucky for a long time to know no one or have any relatives I knew who had died. It almost seemed like an abstract idea. Then wham. Reality hit and my Dad died, one of those "Why is he still alive when he is so ill in so many ways and then what? He Died? I did not think he really would." We should all just be grateful for what we have. Don't panic just enjoy.
I asked him if he was Hawaiian which was not a good question to ask and he told me "kind of" because he was born here. I assumed he was because of his accent. So, we got into the whole race and and where are you from discussion vs being native. Oops, I think I have been told native is the wrong word here. It is hard to stay correct. But he did not dwell on the negative at all.
He told me about some of the plants we were passing and how they were not young palm trees they were dwarf palms and how he went to elementary school in Kurtistown. He had purchased land as a young man around Volcano and inherited land from his mother and married land with his wife. He had plenty and some for his children as well. He was kind and friendly and represented the island friendliness very well. He was not rushed or harried and seemed like he would never understand road rage. He would be more likely to help someone along the road, not yell at them.
We said good bye and I must say it was a delight to spend time with him. It is funny how I meet all these nice people and it is strange to think of never seeing them again. What a strange big world we live in. It is nice to know there are so many kind people.

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