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Archive for September, 2009

A few weeks ago we had a smoking class at church. No, not that kind of smoking silly. We learned how to make smoked meats and cheeses. It was a great class because all class long you could smell the smell of brisket, pork, ribs, salmon and cheese smoking away. Even now, my stomach is rumbling at the thought of how good the food was.

Anyway, the week before the class I got a random call from a woman named Iris. She heard about the class and was interested in doing a similar class at her work place. She’s recreational specialist for the City and County of Honolulu and she works at Kualoa Regional Park.

I don’t know if you know this, but for five fun-filled summers, I worked at Kualoa as a camp counselor. I didn’t have the privilege of working with Iris, but we definitely worked with some of the same people. So while she was on the phone, I told her that I worked there from ’97-’01 and we exchanged the usual pleasantries.

Summer camp 1999

Kualoa was one of the best experiences of my life. I mean, what other job pays you to go camping every summer? Not only that, but we did 3-day camps so if you had wonderful kids you looked forward to the next camp and if your kids were rotten you were only stuck with them for three days. What a beautiful system!

Not only that, but we got to dress up, plan skits, play games and basically be kids all over again. I learned how to steer a canoe, honed my puppetry skills and learned how to sleep on tables (because someone once told me that centipedes couldn’t climb up table legs).

Man, I wish I still knew where my Bruce Lee costume was!

It was also at Kualoa where I learned the joys of tempera paint. For some reason almost every costume at Kualoa used generous amounts of paint. Of course, many of the activities involved costumes so we must have gone through gallons of the stuff. I’m amazed that no one developed any sort of skin problems over the years based on the amount of paint that regularly covered our bodies.

I’m not sure who I’m supposed to be, but judging by the picture I was some Polynesian member of KISS

So anyway, back to the smoking class. Iris shows up and I walk over to her to introduce myself. The first thing that comes out of her mouth and I swear I’m not making this up is “you’re Scott? I asked about you when we got off the phone. You’re a legend at Kualoa.” The last line she whispered, almost reverently. At first my only reaction was one of surprise. “Legend?” I responded. “I’m no legend. Mr. Bryce, now he’s a legend. Compared to him I’m more of a folktale.”

Right before we took the canoes out (that’s Mr. Bryce on the far left)

Of course over time some things get blown out of proportion and stories get more embellished. Still I would hardly consider myself a legend. There were many great people that I got to work with that had been there as long as I had (and even longer). Oddly enough, there were many of us that worked there at least five years considering the job was really for college students.

But I don’t think I have ever worked with a more talented and dedicated group of people. They amazed me every week with their costumes and creativity. Every week we had to do skits, come up with new dances and songs and keep each other entertained. And I can say with confidence that over those five years I hardly saw anyone repeat a song or skit. Not to say that everything was original, but even the recycled material had tons of new variants added to it.

So a legend? Nah. The only thing I ever did there that even garnered any attention was one costume that I wore at final assembly. I was inspired by my people, the ancient Hawaiians and it consisted of a single piece of fabric.

Look Mom, I tied it all by myself!

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