I have two most favorite moments as one of the honorees at the YWCA of Oahu Leadership Awards last Friday at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.
First you should know that I showed up with no voice. A virus had made even whispering hurt and it had slugged me with other symptoms. The doc said I wasn't contagious, so I thought I should pull myself together and attend and accept the award with deep thanks.
I knew I was in trouble when my youngest daughter greeted me in the ballroom--and there were two of her. She's way too smart: "How much of that cough syrup did you take?" she asked. Good question. I like the cherry flavor. "Apparently you like it a little too much," my husband laughed.
Then my YWCA "buddy," who was tasked with guiding me through various phases of the celebration, welcomed me. Wow. My buddy is no less than Gwen Yamamoto Lau, the President of the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation, which expands opportunities for low- and moderate-income housing in Hawaii.
Gwen is a people person. Hilo born and raised. She presented me with a lei. And then, something else. And it's my first most-favorite moment--she brought me the best throat-soother I know--those li hing plum hard candies, all sweet 'n sour.
Now that's the presence of mind and empathy of a Hilo girl! I tucked one of the treats in my cheek, chipmunk-style.
Of course, the virus symptoms and my overdone remedy still had me dazed. Following Gwen's guidance, I walked in a procession with the four other honorees and past honorees. (I didn't care if I had that big li hing candy in my cheek. It was worth it.) And then I very ineffectively mingled with people with whom I couldn't say a word.
When news anchor Tannya Joaquin introduced me on stage, I was fortunate to have PBS Hawaii's newest employee--young Jasmine Tua, with only two months under her belt in our Advancement Department, give my short speech. She knocked it out of the park! Great poise and warmth. Great job. That was most- favorite moment #2!
As wobbly and ragged as I was, there were many other favorite moments with my amazing co-honorees--Nanci Kreidman, Faye Kennedy, Violet Arnobit, Nola Nahulu. And it was also tremendous to feel the aloha in the crowded ballroom, from YWCA officials Cheryl Kauhane Lupenui and Lissa Guild Eveleth ,PBS Hawaii Board Members, terrific colleagues, family, friends, previous honorees, and other people who came by to lend support.
With laryngitis, I couldn't even say thank you. But when well-wishers heard me rasp with a smile, I trust they knew what I meant...Mahalo a nui loa!