BREAK WEEK

Mid-Autumn FestivalThe Chinese have just finished their celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival.  I think I will munch on a mooncake and sit back to see how the new solar flare affects us here on the Earth and Moon.  I will get back to writing in another week or so.

I have been working the past few weeks on a high school alumni “hall of fame” project.  It started me thinking about what should be recognized in a hall of fame.  Should it be actual fame, even if that means notoriety?  Should it be accomplishment, even if that occurs in private and the general populace knows nothing of it?

Many readers don’t realize that the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has inducted such people as Nestor Chylak, Jr.; Hank O’Day; Bid McPhee; John H. Lloyd; and Michael “King” Kelly.  Those are hardly household names, but they all contributed to the sport of baseball.

There are many ways to be famous.  Andy Warhol famously said that in the future everyone would be famous for 15 minutes.  That does not include me, however, because I am going to be on break during that quarter hour.

4 thoughts on “BREAK WEEK

  1. I told Lenore about your musing about whether or not a hall of fame could include un-noted folks of quiet accomplishment, and her reply cracked me up. As always she is right on time, on point, and funny in the bargain. She said, “A Hall of No Fame? Well, that’s going to be an awful long hallway. If he ever gets started on that he won’t have time to do anything else for an awful long time! Everybody’s done something. Better tell him to just stick with the famous or we’ll never hear from him again…”

    • PS:
      If you do persist in making a Hall of No Fame for unnoted grand accomplishments, I nominate Lenore. Here’s a sample of just one of her lesser heroic accomplishments, of which there are literally thousands. And don’t even get me started on her greater ones, you’d never stop hearing from me again…

      While living on a sail boat and sailing the Caribbean she decided to make a meal of a conch – a sort of sea snail which is tougher than a steel-belted radial tire and lives in one of those beautiful shells you always see the movie natives blowing when the intrepid schooner of empire and capitalist exploitation and moral depravity and all the other benefits of civilization appears on the horizon of naïve and innocent shores.

      She knifed and pried the thing out and proceeded to tenderize it. This means she beat it flat with more energy and strength and focus and determination than Samson had to employ to dispatch a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. It took longer, too.

      Then, after a short, necessary dip in the ocean and a well-earned rest, she discovered the conch-splatter in the stern cockpit had dried in the sun and adhered to the fiberglass hull like concrete. She chipped it all out of there with a screwdriver. And through it all she remained elegant, beautiful, and exquisitely feminine.

      I guess that’s actually two accomplishments which outstrip two famous ones. She beat Samson’s flailing record by a mile, and then made Hercules look like a chump because he had a river to clean out the Augean stables instead of just a stick and a spoon. Then again, in their defense, they were just a couple of guys, you know?

      Keep this story under your hat. She’s modest. And forgiving when it comes to me speaking highly of her even though she prefers I do not – but there’s always a chance that one of these days I may speak too loudly of her graces and virtues and she will find it necessary to remonstrate me for that indiscretion. I would hate to unwittingly place myself on the receiving end if she found her only course to be the one noted in Chapter 69, and she mobilized her armies and joined with the issue before her, particularly if that issue was with me. Mum’s the word, OK? I do not want to get conched…

      • I was out in Kapa’a
        Eating mango and guava
        when the heat just made me faint . .

        I see that break week is over. I spent mine on Kauai. It was tough, but somebody had to do it. Someone had to go to Kauai to think further about halls of fame. Actually, I began thinking about lineages and that sort of morphed into halls of fame; for in many ways a hall of fame is an embodiment of or a substitute for a lineage.

        One morning Cathy and I visited the Himalayan Academy, which is a Hindu monastery about four miles up the river from Wailua. It has an impressive temple made from hand-carved blocks of granite, beautiful statues and a wonderful banyan tree under which visitors may meditate. The current spiritual leader of the group is an American who was born in Berkeley, California 70-some years ago. He is part of a lineage of gurus that extends to India and back more than 2,000 years. You can read more about the lineage by clicking here.

        The next afternoon, we went up to Hanalei (yes, I believe that is the land where Puff the Magic Dragon lived)for some talking story and a concert by a slack key guitar master and his ukulele accompanist. It sounds like good Hawaiian tradition, only the musicians were named Doug and Sandy McMasters; and some of those letters are not found in the Hawaiian alphabet. Like the Hindu guru, they are from California, but have lived in Hawaii for more than a quarter of a century. They studied and played with ki ho’alu (slack key) musicians on Molokai and Maui before moving permanently to Kauai in 1999. Although they are not genetically Hawaiian, there music is certainly Hawaiian. As they played they told of the old Hawaiian players, dating back to the times when Paniolos first brought stringed instruments to the islands. These folks were very much aware of, and were perpetuating, their musical lineage. You can learn more about them and their music by clicking here.

        In both of those cases, there is a long and important lineage that has continued until today. Like all lineages, though, it has been perpetuated through change. That is the way the world is supposed to work, I think.

        Many halls of fame – whether it be the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY; the Polka Hall of Fame in Euclid, OH; the Mascot Hall of Fame in Newark, DE; or the U. S. Spacewalk Hall of Fame in Titusville, FL – are places where lineages are celebrated. Going to those establishments permits a person to see how a certain craft or activity has developed over the years and provides an impetus for others to continue such development.

        There are others like the Hall of Fame for Great Americans located at Bronx Community College in New York. That is an outdoor sculpture gallery with bronze sculpture busts of “great Americans” Among those “great Americans” are George Washington, Samuel F. B. Morse, Horace Mann, Washington Irving, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Daniel Boone, Jackie Robinson, Stephen Foster, Clara Barton, Luther Burbank and many others. Nominees to that hall of fame seem to have little common lineage other than that they were “great” and “American.”

        In fact, they do have a bit more in common. The rules of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans say that all nominees must be deceased American citizens who “have made a major contribution to the economic, political, or cultural life of the nation.” Now, that approach does preserve a lineage; but not quite in the same way that one is preserved by the Polka Hall of Fame.

        A high school hall of fame, like the one I am working on, is more like the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. Rather than looking at strict lineages, it considers how a group of people with some common root can grow out, expand and prosper in many directions.

        . . . Kahuna said give him slack key music,
        It seems to make him feel all right.

  2. Pingback: SONG OF THE WEEK - PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON - ralstoncreekreview.comralstoncreekreview.com

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