Thanksgiving Morn
Thursday, November 22, 2001
Down the Hill

Thanksgiving Greetings,

For the joy of human love, 
Brother, sister, parent, child, 
Friends on Earth and friends above, 
For all gentle thoughts and mild. 

Lord of all, to Thee we raise, 
This our hymn of grateful praise.

DH and I began our Thanksgiving Day by remembering family and calling home.  DH's parents were home, while Mom and my step-Dad were out, likely golfing.

DH gave my sister Joan, on the island of Maui, a ring, thanking Mitch and her for gifting him. 

That's Sam to the left, and DH  to the right, Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel Poke [pronounced poh' keh, “Hawaii’s soul food” of sliced or cubed fresh fish, marinated, raw, seared or cooked] Festival, 2000. 

For his birthday, Joan and Mitch sent him his chef-hero's latest cookbook, Sam Choy's Sampler, with "easy-to-follow, delicious recipes from his restaurants and TV cooking show":

~ Courtesy of  Sam's site.

He handed me the phone, and to hear my "little" sister and I go at it, you'd never guess that I'm not at all a phone person. 

I personally thanked her for their birthday gift to me:  a matching collection of writing papers, message pad, notepad, shopping list and post-its with borders of yellow and white plumeria, my favorite blossoms.

I got caught up with her life.  She is now working six hours a day as a teacher's aide, with two afternoons a week working one-on-one with a blind young boy "with the most beautiful eyes."  Partially autistic, he listens well, she said, but only speaks when emotionally aroused, when he is either extremely happy or extremely angry.

My sister, Joan, is the kindest person, most gentle person I know.  She is one of this young child's biggest blessings. If anyone can reach a difficult-to-reach-heart, it is Joan. She is gifted with the patience of Job and is up to the task. 

A high integrity person, committed to live a meaningful, fulfilling life, she has made courageous, uncommon choices. With a degree in business management, she was in upper management at two of Hawai`i's most prominent hotels in Honolulu and in Kona, where she met her future husband, Mitch, a business graduate from the University of Redlands, originally from Glendale, CA..

In 1983, Joan and Mitch were married on Kiholo Bay's secluded shoreline with a lovely, ancient fishpond fronted by palm trees, located on pristine oasis surrounded by by lava fields and accessible only by 4-wheel drive. I was her matron of honor and they gave us the best wedding gift:  they invited us to join them on the Southern California leg of their cross-California honeymoon. 

They introduced us to the peacefulness of cabin living in serene Big Bear, where Mitch had spent many childhood summers on the lake and later, ski weekends in winter at his Aunty Hazel's cabin on Boulder Bay, just across the way from the North Estates peninsula, where we now live.

After Alana K, their first and only child, was born, they moved to Kula, Maui on the slopes of Haleakalâ.  She commuted down the mountain to the coast and back, working at one of Maui's most luxurious hotels. Her Kula to Makena commute was circuitous, sometimes treacherous, and always long and wearying. In time, she made the decision to leave the business world to devote time and energy to her family and immediate community. 

What a positive difference she is making with her life!  Not only for her family and herself, but now for this precious little boy with the unseeing, beautiful eyes. She will help him see with his heart, of this I am certain.

I am burstingly proud of my "little" sister, who is taller than me and always five years younger.  Listening to her heart, she is remaining true to herself. 

She and her husband Mitch have raised a beautiful daughter, Alana K, who grows more beautiful with the years. Recently, she opened herself up to the spiritual world.  Those spiritual genes are expressing themselves, it seems, and without the slightest bit of prompting from her parents.  



Alana K is a junior in high school and is seriously considering coming to the mainland for college. Right now, she's considering UCLA (where a 4.2 GPA is par for admission), UCSB (Santa Barbara), Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and possibly a smaller school in Arizona with her cousin, Hope, who lives there.

>> Photo of Alana K on her Sweet 16 birthday
Maui, 2000

An excellent, disciplined student, Alana K is also well-rounded with music talent (playing the flute) and volunteer work as an after-school Big Sister. She says she wants to follow my professional footsteps, and our conversation revolved around these future plans. 

I'm off to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner with my adopted family here in California, while Joan, Mitch and Alana K are off to Kula Lodge for theirs.

But before I do, I take a moment to remember President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a father, a brother, a parent, a child,  a friend on Earth, who enjoyed the joy of human love on many Thanksgivings, as we do today. He lost his Earthly life, leaving beyond a young widow and two children, on this day in 1963. 

Today, I remember this great soul who is now a friend above. I thank him for going beyond the expected.  

Today,  I also wish my dear friend, Cia, and my college buddy, Norma Sue "Suzie" Owen from French Lick, Indiana, a happy birthday.  God danced when you two were born.

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself  with words, in response to this journal entry,  you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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September 29, 2001
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