What the Heck?
People heed call of charity when red Salvation Army bells ring
I met Salvation Army Maj. Neil Saunders at Tamarind Park last Wednesday. He brought me a red kettle, a red Salvation Army apron and two red bells.
"Do I need two?" I asked Saunders, who started ringing Salvation Army bells in 1956.
"You may need a spare," he said.
After he left, I discovered he was right. My one-bell technique sounded desultory, mournful. But a bell in each hand, held loosely, resulted a satisfying tintinnabulation.
"You sound pretty good," said a friend of mine, who happened by. "But the woman ringing a bell in front of Longs has a better rhythm."
I hadn't told everyone I'd be out there. But I did run into people I knew. Campbell Estate Trustee Dave Heenan came by.
"I'm glad you finally found a job you could handle," he said.
"It's a good gig," I replied. "I get to work the corner of King and Bishop."
"Like a hooker?" said Heenan.
"No, this is lunchtime," I said. "That happens later in the day."
Heenan chipped in $20, putting him on the high end of my donors, along with Northwestern Mutual's Dave Bellino. People I knew were more generous than casual passers-by, but there were far fewer of them.
Ninety percent of the people who dropped money, usually a folded-up single, I didn't know. I realized that it was not important who was ringing the bell. It was just important someone was.
I'd sometimes be busy talking to a friend and out of the corner of my eye, notice my kettle surrounded by donors. Many people hurried away before I could say thank you and Merry Christmas. They didn't want to be acknowledged; they wanted to do the right thing.
In an hour and a half, I raised $183.79, some of it, of course, my money. "That's better than $100 an hour, which is great," said Saunders. The Salvation Army turns the money into food, shelter, relief for troubled families, gifts for children and shut-ins.
The fundraising goal this season is an aggressive $750,000. Whether the Salvation Army can raise that much is likely to go down to the last minute. You may be too late to have the fun of ringing a bell, but you still can contribute: salvationarmyhawaii.org.
Leahey Silenced in the Stands
After three decades of calling Warrior football games, sportscaster Jim Leahey had neither an assignment nor a ticket to go to the Sugar Bowl. Fox, after all, would handle the play-by-play. Leahey could stay home.
John Aeto of the Visionary radio group had a different idea. For the company Christmas party last week, he created a Legacy Award. The prize: a round trip and tickets for two to the game -- for Leahey.
Can Leahey sit through a game without calling it? "I don't know how to act," says Leahey. "It's been a long time since I've been to a game as a fan."
"He'll be antsy for the first couple of quarters," says his son, Kanoa. "But I think eventually he'll break down and enjoy himself."
Meet Me in Saint Louis
Whodaguy Ron Jacobs was invited on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe a few Sundays ago to watch a St. Louis Rams game at the enlisted men's club.
There he met a fellow Rams fan, St. Louis native Brandon Miller. Miller, at age 21, had done tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan but had never seen an NFL game live.
Jacobs made some calls to friends in the Rams organization. When Miller traveled home to St. Louis for the holidays, he found himself watching last Thursday's Rams-Steelers game not only in the stadium, but from the sidelines, close enough to see the sweat.
"It's my holiday season thing for this year," says Jacobs.
"When I woke up, I didn't have anything to do today," laughs Peter Merriman. "So I opened a restaurant."
Four months after announcing he was opening on Kauai, Merriman revealed last week he was taking over the Bay Club at Maui's Kapalua Resort, relying on the resort's new organic farm.
"We've just doubled the size of the company," says Merriman, who is looking for new chefs.
A Book for Two Seasons
You're talking to someone in, say, Boston and you mention it's winter here, and they scoff at you.
Because it's not really winter -- it's ho'oilo, the changeable season, which explains why it's sunny one day and blowing down power poles in Waianae the next.
Pretty soon every school kid in Hawaii will know this, from reading Stephanie Feeney's new book, "Sun and Rain: Exploring the Seasons in Hawai'i."
Feeney, who taught education for decades at UH-Manoa, got sick of walking into elementary classrooms and seeing fall leaves and paper snowflakes, Hawaii kids being taught the mainland's four seasons. Hawaii has only two seasons, she points out: ho'oilo and kau wela, our long hot summer.
"I've gotten increasingly upset about this," says Feeney. "It's wrong to teach kids things that don't match their experience. Finally I said, 'I gotta write this book.'"
Fans Announce Warriors Parade
"I totally forgot about Christmas," said Mona Wood. "All I've been thinking is Sugar Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Sugar Bowl."
Wood found corporate sponsors to pay for 20,000 "Warrior Fan" fans to pass out at the game. She hopes they'll help ESPN zoom in on Hawaii fans, not to mention become a collectible. The fans won't be necessary to keep cool, as it's likely to be about 40 degrees.
Saw the prototype, and the fan contains one bit of unannounced info you may wish to jot down: The parade welcoming back the Warriors will be held Sunday, Jan. 20, at 4 p.m., starting at Fort DeRussy and ending at Sunset on the Beach. If Hawaii wins the Sugar Bowl, it's likely to be a mob scene. After all, 20,000 people showed up for a Little League championship.