Guiding Hand

Mainland friends or acquaintances who just don't get it tend to ask that age old question: living on an island, do you ever feel cramped or confined or feel like you can't get out? My normal response is to remind them that when I lived in Chicago, I never felt the need or urge to rush off to Milwaukee or Gary, Indiana, to get away.

And while the waters certainly aren't creeping up on our shorelines, you do hear more and more people today concerned about the walls closing in- with layoffs and business closings and fewer visitor arrivals and limited airline seats and weekly gasoline price increases. Yes, we are in a somewhat precarious position living on an island 2,500 miles away from anywhere else. But that's when the real aloha spirit needs to kick in, that's when the extended ohana concept really has to come to fruition. People helping people, neighbors aiding neighbors, it's all now quite commonplace and expected here. And that's what separates Hawaii from a lot of other places where things are a bit tough right now.

Inevitably, the skies will part and the tough economic times will ease up; some things, like relatively cheap gas and ample airline lift might never come back. But that's why our Darwinian instincts and entrepreneurial spirit will mandate that we adapt, or wilt. So hang in there, it's been bad before in many ways in many places. We're still here, the sun still shows up daily, and we've still got that special and vital spirit which we can all use to guide us through this. Think about it...