Not only am I a member of the Tomari Doshi Kai Okinawan Club, I am its president. It’s a really long story that I’ve told before in parts, but let’s not dwell. Yesterday was the first (it’s over!) of three picnics that took place and will take place under my care. It was stressful, but luckily, I had a lot of help.
I slept at my parents’ house on Saturday night because I had to drive a UHaul truck filled with prizes and other essentials to Ala Moana Beach Park. I left the house at 5:15 Sunday morning and Matty came with, despite the fact that he got home only 4 hours earlier. He and his bandmate Marc set up the sound system for the announcements and musical performances. I know nothing about any of that, so their help was key. At the end of the day, Matty got back in the truck with me to make a stop in Kalihi, then two stops in Aiea. The rental facility was set to close at 3:45 and I got the truck back there at 3:40. I couldn’t have done any of that without Matty, who based on the photographic evidence, is growing his hair out again. Thanks, Matty.
My extended family was also helpful, as always. My uncles Ian, Reyn, and Irv, and my cousins Ritchie and Alana helped me unload and set up all the tents, tables, prizes, and electronics. My cousin Tyler and sister-in-law Tanya took pictures of all the families that make up our club. My cousin Lindy is a member of my board even though she’s returned to the classroom. My aunties Jess and Waynette organized lunch and the general assembly of our family. Paul and my dad helped me pack the night before the picnic. As always, Grandma gave me supportive words. I thanked them before leaving yesterday, but I feel like that will never be enough. There’s so much in life that we have no control over and one of those things is the kind of family we’re born into. I am grateful and humbled to have been born into the kind of family that only knows love and support. Thank you all again.
The running around and organizing and speech making had many drawbacks, chief among them was how little time I was able to spend with Mad. I was able to snap a few pictures of her playing the games, but she didn’t seem as invested in them as she has in past years. Maybe she was grumpy from waking up so early, maybe she was just in one of her moods. I don’t know. But just based on the sheer number of times she came over to wherever I was at any given time, I’m going to assume it had something to do with the fact that she missed me. Usually, I play the games with her and spend an hour with her at the beach. Yesterday the best I could do was team with her during the water balloon toss and swim for 20 minutes. I am grateful, however, that she was a good sport about the entire thing. She didn’t give Lynnette a hard time. She did not go full Fussy Madison and add to the list of things I had to worry about. Last night as we were in bed, her subdued, tired voice said she was glad I was home. Me too, Goob.
At the end of the picnic, I ran through a list of thank yous. It was long and arduous, just like the process of planning the picnic itself. The list was filled with people who helped organize the picnic and made critical donations of time and money. Because I was so wrapped up in trying to wrap everything up (while thinking about trying to get that damned UHaul back in time), Lynnette’s name was not on that list. She made a joke about it when we were finally at home and holy shit, I felt terrible. I want to try to atone for that now.
Lynnette knows me better than anyone else. Consequently, she knows two truths: 1) Leadership and organization are not only not two of my finer skills, they don’t even show up on the list titled Things Phil Might Be Good At Under Terrifically Narrow Circumstances. 2) The details and stress of things like this picnic occupy me completely and it’s best just to leave me alone otherwise I will snap.
The thing is, Lynnette is good at leadership and organization, and while I was doing the obvious planning and packing and talking and driving, she was in the background doing the little things – packing swimming gear, loading the car, getting Madison ready, paying for our dues, food, and Festival tickets. I’m really good at compartmentalizing, but that means everything else in my life suffers. Or it would have, if not for Lynnette. She did everything I asked yesterday and all the days leading up to it. Perhaps it is unmanly to say this, but when I look closely at my life, I realize the truth: though I am not a great man, everything I do is the result of having a better woman behind me. Thank you so much, love.