Friday, June 24, 2011

A Meal Like No Other

No one really noticed the woman sitting at the corner table. I glanced at her as I was seated at the table in front of her tonight. She wore a gray t-shirt and had a glass of wine on her table. I thought she was waiting for someone to join her.

Mark and I sat at our table and laughed about something that happened earlier this evening. The table of three women next to us were celebrating a birthday. A party of four was being seated on the other side of the birthday women.

We ordered our food. The woman left the restaurant, leaving unnoticed.

Noel, our waiter, came over to our table.

"The woman behind you just paid for your meals."

We looked at him, stunned.

"She just paid for everyone's dinner in my station and left me the best tip I've ever had."

Neither Mark nor I have ever had something like that happen to us. Our waiter said it had never happened to him either. I asked him why she did it.

"She said she just lost someone important to her and wanted to put something positive out in the world."

My first thought was, the person she lost must have been a generous soul in order for her to think of others while grieving his or her loss.

As Noel spread the news to the table of women, they too, were stunned. They tried to attain her name and number in order to thank her. Noel said he had her information but she expressed her wished to remain anonymous and he was honoring her wish. He did tell them this woman "lived on Base." (Kaneohe Marine Corps Base is 5-10 minutes away from the restaurant.)

To the woman who paid for dinners at Zia's Cafe in Kailua Town tonight, we feel your loss and we will pay your generosity forward.

Kids Day in Honolulu

The U.S. Army museum sits off Waikiki Beach, between a condo complex and Fort DeRussy, in a low-lying concrete building. The helicopter on the roof and the tank out front give clues to what's inside.

Mark's nephews spent the day with us yesterday. We walked along the beach to the Shorebird restaurant for lunch. We were told the waves along South Shore were supposed to be huge again yesterday like they were the day before. No such waves where we were. Instead of watching for surfers, we walked into the U.S. Army Museum.

The reinforced concrete building is so tough that when developers tried to knock it down, they were unable. They building remains and is a remarkable place to visit. We stepped inside and were greeted by veterans. One came to talk to the boys; a retired U.S. Special Forces Green Beret and recipient of six Purple Hearts. He served in Vietnam and ended his career after a tour in Afghanistan. He showed the boys where a bullet had been removed from his neck. (He still has five bullets remaining in his body.)

Mark made sure the boys shook his hand and thanked him for his service.

We entered the exhibit area next. I tend to get claustrophobic in small, dark places, but the low ceiling of this reinforced building made me feel safe. It was built to protect, and the cool air and thick walls inside instill that "safe" feeling. I couldn't help wonder what would happen to this building if a major tsunami arrived. I think I'd run for this building, and hunker inside until danger passed. It seems much safer than trying to navigate Waikiki's traffic jams.

The main hallway of the museum has displays lining the wall on the right and entrances on the left where displays of each era of Army artifacts are exhibited. I entered the first doorway. The history starts with the Hawaiian Army, not the U. S. Army. Each exhibit on the left winds around and ends up back at the main hallway, but further down from where I started.

The areas are segregated by time and conflict/war. The last doorway on the left shows Vietnam. Hawaii was a place for a quick escape for R&R for the soldiers in Vietnam. Families from the mainland could catch a flight to meet their loved one in Hawaii. I snapped a photo of a replica Tiki Bar from the era. The TV played videos from the original Hawaii Five-0 show. Photos of Elvis and other celebrities visiting Hawaii lined the walls of the Tiki Bar.

The boys knew most of the types of guns, rocket launchers, etc. and searched for the descriptions and names of those they didn't know. They told us later they knew the names from playing the video game, "Black Ops, Call of Duty."

From the Museum, we walked to Lappert's Ice Cream in the Hilton Hawaiian Village. I'm not an ice cream fan, but I love Lappert's.

Next we took the younger nephew to Punahou School. It was raining, but after we walked around campus for awhile, the rainbows broke out everywhere.
Mark's nephew exclaimed, "I want to go to school here!"

Who wouldn't want to go to a school with lush green vegetation, rolling lawns, large athletic pools, gyms, fields and rainbows covering the entire campus?