At the Glenwood Transfer Station we used to see bags of garbage piled up outside a closed fence with the sign “Hours of Operation SUNDAY TUESDAY FRIDAY 6AM to 6PM.” The sign and the entrance to the transfer station were at the middle of the road to the facility. You couldn’t see them from the highway. People would come to the transfer station, find it closed, and angrily dump their garbage anyway.
That is, until some anonymous neighbor made a large-lettered, hand-painted sign in dark green on white, saying when the place was open and attached it to the dark green and white county sign for the transfer station at Highway 11. It simply says “TUESDAY FRIDAY SUNDAY” on two sides so you can see it whether you’re coming up Highway 11 or going down. Since then there are rarely any bags of garbage dumped in front of a closed fence because people know when it’s going to be open.
This is what I call Being The Solution. Whoever put that sign up has done a real service for the community. And based on the paint colors, I suspect it might be the same someone who used to put up a sign at the dump saying “Smile, Enjoy Your Day.” They had to climb a tree to do it!
When COVID-19 came to the Big Island, hospital staff were short of masks. Two women I know stopped their regular work (one is a jeweler, one is a hospital administrator) and began to make them. They got special material from Hilo hospital and have made hundreds of disposable masks. Being the solution.
Another woman saved her subscription magazines and the paperback books she’s been buying online during the pandemic, and put them in a bag
with a sign PLEASE TAKE. With the Mountain View library closed and free or very cheap reading materials unavailable, the bag was welcomed at a local store. She’s going to do this again once she fills another bag.
Of course, we all know that being the solution can include contributing to Hawaii Food Basket or other charities. In the past, some Island people have gone over the top, making space for tiny homes on their properties and welcoming strangers made homeless by lava from the Kilauea Volcano. During COVID-19, relatives or friends have provided loans or gifts of money to keep people going when there’s no income in sight.
But any act of kindness is the solution. And this wonderful Big Island is never short of kindness. People still stop to let you turn left in traffic. They don’t mind masking up, and they line up at 6 ft. distances at grocery stores and banks without complaint. They worry that you can’t tell if they’re smiling behind their masks, but you can. You can see it in their eyes and the little nod they give you.
As the Big Island starts to re-open, let’s remember to keep on being the solution. It’s going to take our usual gentle approach; “Aloha,” though my crossword puzzle may call it “the Island greeting,” is much more than that. It’s a deeply felt concern for others. It’s love in action. It’s the solution.
Lynne Farr is the author of a number of humorous books about Big Island life: Off The Grid Without a Paddle, Off The Grid And Over The
Hill, Off The Grid What’s Cookin’?, and Speaking Shinglish, available at Basically Books, Volcano Garden Arts, and Amazon.com.
Featured photo by Prolific Hawai’i for BigIslandPulse.com.