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Sharing Mana‘o

Borrowing a phrase from Sesame Street, today’s column is brought to you by the letter C.

My consciousness is currently crawling with C words, chief among them, COVID. Having contracted the coronavirus last week, I’ve been confined to my cottage, consuming mass quantities of chili and Cheetos (not really, but, you know, C words).

I’ve attempted to write this column numerous times, but the COVID fog seems to be clouding my creativity. A convenient excuse, you might say, and you’d be right. Admittedly, I count myself among the more fortunate of the 32,000-plus cases reported in our county throughout the pandemic. My symptoms are relatively mild: low-grade fever, congestion and fatigue.

Complacency, I believe, is the culprit in my case. Carelessness, too, perhaps. After the pandemic restrictions were relaxed, I relaxed as well. Though I still carry masks in my purse and my car, I’ve only used them occasionally since the mandates were lifted. After all, I thought, I’m fully vaxxed and boosted, and I get tested weekly in compliance with workplace requirements. Despite being among crowds of visitors, and having had close contact with positive cases several times over the past year, I’d never tested positive myself. I was convinced I was immune or, at least, blessed with good luck.

Now more contrite than cocksure, I’m cognizant of my own vulnerability. But I still feel lucky. My caring, compassionate friends and family constantly call to check on me and cheer me up. I didn’t lose my sense of smell or taste, so I’ve been able to fully enjoy my cousin Betty’s cooking, as well as the contents of my freezer. Most of all, I’m grateful that my mother didn’t catch COVID from me.

With only another day or two of isolation to go, I am committing myself to a few more positive C words:

Conscientiousness — I will resume the healthy habits developed at the onset of the pandemic, including mask-wearing, hand-washing, social distancing and common sense.

Comfort — Following the example of my extended ‘ohana, I will offer support to folks in need, whether or not they ask for it.

Community — These days of forced solitude have deepened my appreciation for my fellow Mauians and the spirit of aloha that even COVID couldn’t contain.

And finally, Celebration, which was my intended subject for today’s column, before the ‘rona reared its head. I had planned on publicizing two upcoming community events which celebrate causes dear to my heart.

Maui musician Randall Rospond has organized a free concert in honor of Mana’o Radio’s 20th anniversary. The party at Maui Brewing Company begins at 4:20 p.m. Sunday, featuring a great lineup of entertainers from the past and present Mana’o ‘ohana, including Dorothy Betz & Vince Esquire, the Hula Honeys, Justin Morris and more.

On Memorial Day, May 30, the Maui County Veterans Council and the County of Maui are hosting an in-person event at the Veterans Cemetery in Makawao. The program will begin with a flower drop at 8:30 a.m. and will conclude with the dedication of a new memorial which honors Maui’s Gold Star Families. Please note that parking at the cemetery will be limited to handicap parking only; public parking will be available across the street.

Also, because this is my last column of May, I wanted to acknowledge AANHPI Heritage Month.

Yes, the initialism AAPI has expanded, much like LGBT (now LGBTQ and even LGBTQIA+ … but that’s another column). May is now officially recognized as Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. According to the USDA website (www.usda.gov/oascr/special-emphasis-programs/aanhpi), this year’s theme is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.”

Collaboration, another C word. Even through my COVID-clouded consciousness, this column has come full circle. Cheers!

* Kathy Collins is a radio personality (The Buzz 107.5 FM and KEWE 97.9 FM/1240 AM), storyteller, actress, emcee and freelance writer whose “Sharing Mana’o” column appears every other Wednesday. Her e-mail address is kcmaui913@gmail.com.

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