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Sharing Mana‘o

Last Thursday, the day before Valentine’s Day, I received a letter dated Feb. 12, 1996. The envelope, dog-eared and bug-eaten at the top corners, was addressed to “Kathy Collins, D.J., Radio Station KNUI,” obviously with an IBM electric typewriter. The preprinted return address read “William T. Kinaka, Attorney at Law.”

This wasn’t one of those cases of extremely late mail delivery that occasionally pop up in the news. This letter never even made it to the post office. Bill Kinaka had written it in response to a Valentine’s Day radio promotion, but it apparently got lost on his desk. After retiring from his law practice, he recently discovered the envelope while going through old office files.

Bill and my mother both devote many volunteer hours to Maui Adult Day Care Centers; he’s president of the board of directors, and she assists the office staff with clerical tasks. So he brought the long-lost letter to the MADCC main office and asked Mom to hand-deliver it.

It’s a wonder the letter didn’t get lost again, because my mother’s desk is probably just as cluttered as Bill’s was, all those years ago. Mom is currently swamped with paperwork, as she helps prepare for MADCC’s Family Caregiver Walk. The annual fundraiser will be held at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center on Saturday, Feb. 29, starting at 7 a.m., with entertainment by Uncle George Kahumoku Jr., Anthony Pfluke and EPIC. Walkers are eligible for incentive prizes as well as numerous door prizes. To register or to receive more information, go to madcc.org or call 871-5804.

Funds raised at the walk will help MADCC’s five centers continue their social and therapeutic day programs for frail, elderly individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia and for adults who are physical and/or mentally challenged. The organization also provides support to family caregivers throughout Maui County by offering support groups, informational workshops, one-to-one counseling and respite opportunities. Some of the money raised will go toward MADCC scholarships for clients in need of financial assistance.

I’ll serve as mistress of ceremonies at the walk, and I just might bring Bill a consolation prize for his radio contest entry, even though he missed the deadline by a quarter-century. Since he originally intended for it to be read on the air, I’m sure won’t mind me sharing his Valentine story here.

“The full moon was softly reflecting on the calm waters of the tidal basin that was surrounded by cherry trees in our nation’s capital. Jeanette and I were romantically watching the ‘submarine races’ . . . this is how the drama unfolded:

B: Knock, knock.

J: Who’s there?

B: Camalita

J: Camalita who?

B: Camalita Closer.

When she came closer, I asked her, ‘Do you mind if I put you out of circulation?’

. . . A beautiful 21-year-old exotic-looking coed, she quickly answered my question with two questions: ‘What do you mean by putting me out of circulation? Are you going to kill me?’

I said ‘No’ and proceeded to ask her, ‘Do you know what an engagement ring is?’

Pretending like she did not know, Jeanette coyly replied, ‘No . . .’

I said, ‘An engagement ring is a tourniquet on your finger that stops your circulation. Will you allow me to put you out of circulation?’

She said ‘YES’ and on November 23, 1968, she also placed a tourniquet on my finger. We both have been happily married and ‘out of circulation’ for over 27 years.”

A little over a year ago, the Kinakas celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Jeanette is still an exotic-looking beauty, and Bill is still cracking corny jokes.

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every Wednesday. Her email address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.

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