Monday, December 29, 2008


Many years ago when I was a young man I moved to California. I explored the place and settled in Southern California near where my grandparents had once lived in Hollywood.

As a child we had a vacation out there once and so of course I liked to walk around the area a bit. It naturally followed in time that I would seek to work in that general neighborhood of Hollywood while I was exploring other working possibilities. So temporarily I took a job at a movie theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Of course I never really expected to see any movie stars but as it turned out I did.

I remember that the assistant manager took me aside when I first started working there, he was perhaps just a few years older than me in his late twenties, and he said, "Now look, this is an old movie theatre. It's not fancy. It's no flagship movie theatre but every once in a while well known people in Hollywood will come in here - maybe just order a hot dog and eat it and leave - and we let them do that.

"We don't expect them to buy a ticket just to go to get a hot dog. Our people who work at the ticket booth know and recognize these people and usually they're old-timers.

"Here's what to do when that happens. Don't go gaga when they come in. You're gonna be dazzled but try to keep it at a minimum. These people have worked long and hard for this kind of recognition and they need to have their quiet time, their moments when they can just be a regular person.

"Oh sure, sometimes they might be enjoying the recognition but when they step into this theatre - modest though it may be - we want them to feel like they can be relaxed. So just treat them like you would any other customer. Wait on them, acknowledge their greeting if they give you one. If they don't speak to you then assume that they want their private time."

"Okay," I said both excited and frustrated at the same moment looking forward to seeing "movie stars" and at the same time feeling admonished for something I hadn't done yet.

So sure enough within a month or two in came somebody that I recognized immediately though I had to think a little bit to remember his name. Some of you will know him primarily because he was known for a while as the Maytag Repairman. I'm referring of course to Jesse White but he had a long and elaborate career in show business.

Normally I don't drop names here but I'm using this as an example about something I'll build on later on in this narrative.

So sure enough, one day I was working at the concessions counter and...I don't think the assistant manager was even there. It was a day when he was off but in walked a customer without going to the ticket booth to get a ticket and I was a little surprised.

As he got closer I recognized him immediately. This was Jesse White. He ordered a hot dog and I served it to him while making every effort to remain as indifferent as possible but at some point he caught me glancing at him while he was eating the hot dog right there in the lobby. As it happened there was nobody else there. The movie was playing and all the customers were in watching the movie having no idea that a famous Hollywood movie star was in the lobby at that moment.

As I glanced at him and he caught me he said, "What is it" and I apologized. I said, "I'm sorry Mr. White. I'm new to this job and I haven't seen too many movie stars up close like this. He stopped eating his hot dog for a moment and he said, "You'll get used to it kid" just as easy going as possible putting me at ease right away. He finished his hot dog, smiled a little bit and walked out the door.

I'm mentioning this because recently I read an article about Barack Obama's visit with his family to Hawaii and his experiencing the extremes of being excessively noticed - not really able to take the kids out on a spontaneous visit to the ice cream parlor or better yet as we say here in Hawaii ah - to get some shave ice eh.

Well I feel for the man and in a way I feel for our society. I wish you all could have been there to hear that assistant manager give me that talk about my reaction to famous people. It was short and sweet and I've tried to put down what I can remember from it.

I know that it is the job of the Press to let people know what the policy is of our government but must we really take away the joys of a parent having fun with his children, his wife, his family and all of the events that make parenthood a blessing.

I am not claiming to have any great knowledge about these subjects of family but I am more conscious now of family since I've been here in Hawaii. Family in Hawaii is very major and it is considered something that is not only respected but it is honored.

Hawaii itself - the land itself, I believe, has an energy supporting heart and even kindness. It also supports family perhaps because family often represents heart - I grant not always but often. What I'm trying to say here overall is I think it might be nice given the struggles that happen sometimes with family and raising children to let the Obama's have their time in Hawaii - especially for Barack who grew up here - to rest, to restore and to be fed by the land and the kindness of the people.

That's all I have to say about that now. Goodlife.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My New Christmas Story

Greetings. Just a note to let you know that my new Christmas story is up on my Nice Little Stories blog.

I get asked every year when my new Christmas story will be ready and so I've taken to putting up this notice. I hope you enjoy it.

Goodlife to you all.