Sunday, January 25, 2009

Unknown Greats

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"If you make it plain you like people, it's hard for them to resist liking you back."
Lois McMaster Bujold

If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come." Trad. Chinese

"I find that he is happiest of whom the world says least, good or bad."
Thomas Jefferson
Cloudia’s Gallery of Unknown Greats: There are folks in any community who the “public” (that’s us!) will never get to know, and that’s too bad. We pass them on the street never realizing the amazing stories we will never get to hear. I think of them as “Unknown Greats.” They are celebrities in a certain circle: a profession, hobby or neighborhood; great people like my friend, pilot Gene W. Gene flies those “ambulance planes” around the islands. I know that they are lucky to have him. Though he never discusses it, “Gino” was a copter pilot in Viet Nam pulling our wounded folks out of firefights. No wonder nothing gets him rattled today. There’s no one I’d feel safer flying with; and you’ll never be bored either! Even with my famously bad memory I’ll never forget one story Gene told me about his flying days in Africa. Jobs were very precious commodities to the Africans that he worked with. One day the big boss called one of the local mechanics into his office and fired the fellow with a loud flourish. The man, who had seen much of life, looked back at the boss calmly, and in a soft voice said: “What? You are not going to cut my hand off, kill my family or poison our well? It’s just a job.” Then he walked away with a dignity that I think about whenever I’m upset about some “big problem.” There aren’t many mechanical problems (big or small) that Gino can’t figure out and calmly repair. A longtime Kama`aina with his own rented hanger on the outskirts of HONO airport, he fixes and even BUILDS airplanes! Every pilot in town has borrowed Gene’s time, wisdom, and tools at one time or another. He knows every gaily-painted little private plane at the Lagoon Drive hangars personally. So here’s to Gene W – our first unknown great – who also built my 1973 BMW motorcycle from the frame up. But that’s another story. . .

. . . Got a sec? Save the World! We are all so busy that our “to do” lists seem to get longer instead of shorter. Believe me, I know! But if you could save over 12 feet of genuine Amazon Rain forest (our Earth’s lungs) just by clicking over to a web site would you? I love the feeling of tangible accomplishment every day, just knowing that I’ve made at least ONE good thing happen. And the Rain Forest Site sponsors offer cool fair-trade stuff so shop till your clicking finger hurts!