When I first started entertaining the idea of running a blog, with the subject of the living on Kauai, I ran it by my website person, Imelda. She has been an incredible help sorting out the online presence of myself as well as my wife Jan. If you would like an idea of her awesome work, check out www.hashisfineartgallery.com.
I don’t remember exactly how it all played out, but initially I told her my blog would be titled “Lucky We Live Kauai”. Those of you that have some history on or with Kauai know this phrase. And you realize the influence of the local “pidgeon’ slang in this application. Anyway, Imelda went into auto correct mode and promoted the blog as “Lucky We Live On Kauai." I don't fault Imelda. In fact her “autocorrect” mode has kept me from putting my foot in my mouth more than once.
I guess it just exemplified one of the little endearing idiosyncrasies of living in this incredible place. The many times that I have uttered this phrase is testament to my gratitude and good fortune in calling this my home for so many years. I won’t spend too much time on this, but the subject of the hour seems to be the horrible Corona Virus. Jan and my thoughts go out to all that are struggling with the effects of this tragedy. This too shall pass. It seems that, once again, we are blessed to be living on a small island in the middle of the ocean. The ability to have a clearly definable way of controlling traffic on and off the island is a clear advantage with this virus. Jan and I have been in social isolation for the past 3 weeks. Although finances are a bit of a worry, it’s nice having a chunk of time for the loose ends that never seem to make the priority list in “normal” times.
As I look back at all of the great, and not so great, times I’ve had on Kauai I realize that this place on the planet is not for everyone. I’ve heard many complaints about Kauai. “It’s too hot”, “there’s to much sand everywhere”, “It’s too expensive” or one of my favorites “It’s just a hamster wheel with a view”. All valid, if that’s where your head is at. Over my 30 years on Kauai I’ve come to realize that there a good number of people that shouldn’t live here. Kauai has a way of purging out people that shouldn’t be here. Because of the small community dynamic, accountability is in your face in both social and business behaviors. Of course, the positive side of this is also very evident. The spirit of aloha is alive and well, with a catch. For the most part, you will be treated with the same regard that you extend to others.
Looking back to the things that have nurtured the gratitude that I have for Kauai is the way in which I was able to raise my 3 kids. I raised my kids, as a single dad, having sole custody from their pre teens to adulthood. Most all of my time on Kauai was spent as a self employed general contractor. This always allowed me to structure my time to accommodate time with the kids. The time that we were able to spend with surfing, camping, fishing, sports, school programs, etc, was enviable. Growing my company at the expense of time with the kids was never a priority. I was able to keep job volume at a level where the bills were paid and I got to spend a lot of time with the kids. I guess that I was fortunate that all my kids were “water babies”. We were all happiest when we were near the ocean or streams. I still cherish the memories of pushing the kids, on their surfboards, into waves at the Waiohai. Or, digging big holes in the sand that would keep the kids happy and playing for hours. I believe that the smallness, or intimacy of Kauai was always an attractive trait for me. I have always lived, and worked, on the south side of Kauai. Mostly in the Lawai Kalaheo area. Which is about 10 minutes inland from the beachfront, resort areas of Poipu. People density has increased a lot over the years, but it is still common to drive down the road and wave to a several friends and acquaintances. Or pull up to PK’s (my favorite surfing spot in Poipu) and see old friends, and kids I’ve known since they were toddlers.
No homage to Kauai would be complete without going into my time with my wife, Jan, and how our mutual appreciation of Kauai fueled our relationship. Jan and I met through our work in the construction industry. We seemed to know fairly quickly that we had a compatibility that shouldn’t be overlooked (aside from the fact that she was knock dead gorgeous ) Even before we started dating I was talking about how I loved camping at Polihale. Along with many other similarities in our upbringing camping was yet another common threads in our great childhood memories collection. I knew that if I could get Jan to go camping with me I could die a happy man! Alas, it was written in the stars, and we soon became camping partners. We had 3-4 years where we were camping fanatics ! I mean, honestly, going almost every weekend. Actually, between the courtship and camping in fantasy conditions I look back at this as one of the best periods of my life. Jan I have often spoken about how perfect camping is as a trial for new couples. All coexisting behaviors are on full display. Our typical weekend was to get packed up ASAP after work on Friday. Stock up on food supplies at Ishihara's. Our ideal campsites evolved over time. In the earlier days we used to set up camp mostly right on the shoreline. This evolved into setting up more in the treeline as a deterrent for wind disturbing art projects. In a nutshell, our weekends were a seamless combination of: Art, surfing, fishing, eating, sunning, reading, sunrise shell hunting, stargazing, blazing campfires.
As I have written this blog I have found it so interesting how life has evolved. Priorities shift and change. Time goes by so quickly. My kids are grown and are managing their own households. Jan and I are so appreciative of our part in each others lives. Along with our appreciation of each other we always come back to how blessed we have been to spend this period of our lives in the paradise called Kauai