IMR: 1998: October: 05 -- Monday, 8:37 a.m.
College of Business Administration, Univ. of Hawai`i–Manoa, Hawai`i

After relishing the opportunity to sleep in (even Katie was out most of the morning), Jen and I swung by campus yesterday to pick up William and headed over to Thomas Square for the annual Native American powwow.

The parking gods were again smiling upon me as I slipped into a generous spot right along South King Street, and we could hear the drums and chanting as we got out of the car.

It had been more than a decade since I last stepped foot in Thomas Square (in fact, I think I was still in elementary school), but from what I saw, it hadn't changed much. The shade of the many huge banyan trees seemed to cover nearly every inch of the large field, and the air was thick with the smell of warm, wet earth.

[ Powwow ]The powwow was tucked into one corner of the park, but it was pretty crowded. A dozen or so booths formed a perimeter around a large arena of grass in which several people were dancing.

The ceremonial costumes were just fabulous. In fact, I was a little frustrated that the dancers kept moving, as it made it hard to get a good look at all the adornments. Each outfit was rich with decorations of metal, beads, and leather. Even something so simple as a sleeve cuff was the object of intricate design. And with all the trinkets hanging off their clothes, the simple act of walking created its own special kind of music.

[ Shopping ]The booths were also captivating. Many sported a huge array of jewelry and handmade crafts, and dreamcatchers were especially popular. I looked over racks of clothes, including simple shirts and dresses with Native American patterns on them.

Being a longtime tooth-abuse addict, I was immediately drawn to one booth selling homemade beef jerky. The guy was very friendly, his boisterous pitch made all the more charming by a faint southern drawl.

In addition to regular and pepper varieties, he showed off his diversity-conscious new teriyaki style. He offered the three of us samples, and it was undeniably tasty, moist but appropriately chewy too. Unfortunately, the going price was $15 a pound, so we walked off empty handed.

Jen's tummy started growling, so we headed over to the sole food booth to see what they had to offer. Unfortunately, they didn't offer much, and the line was hideously long. We resolved to trot down the street to Burger King for lunch afterward instead.

Our attention soon turned to the dancing circle, and I smiled as little toddlers hopped along behind their elders, all decked out in beads and features.

Suddenly, one of the dancers broke from the group and started coming toward me, crouching slightly. In addition to an elaborate costume, his headdress sported two antennae-like wires that were topped with little bobbing balls of fur. Suffice it to say, my immediate instinct was to turn and run.

"Ryan?" the man asked.

I blinked. "Steve?"

[ Steve ]Amazing. Steven Nedorolik, a friend from Mililani High School who I hadn't seen since graduation — a long six years ago.

I never expected to see him again, his vision seemingly greater than anything these islands could provide, but I most definitely wouldn't have thought I'd catch him dancing at a powwow in full Native American regalia.

I quickly brought him over to introduce him to my family and William. When I said "my wife and daughter," he didn't seem surprised in the least, and I found out why a few moments later when he introduced his wife and son.

"Gosh," I said. "You never figure your high school friends will actually grow up."

We caught up as best we could in the cacophony of chants and drums. He said and his wife had been married for two years, and his son was just over a year old.

Although he wasn't Native American, he explained, his wife was, and he came to really appreciate the culture. He had made his costume himself — not surprising, given his abilities when it came to crafts — and today was the first time he'd entered in the annual powwow dance contest.

He said he worked at "Climbers Paradise," an indoor mountain climbing place in town, and that piqued Jen's interest. She had mentioned that she wanted to try it a while ago (before parenthood quashed most 'adventurous' thoughts that drift through our minds), and now we had a wonderful excuse to go down there.

Eventually he had to jump back in and wow the judges, so we parted with a vow to not wait until 2004 to meet again.

Katie's crawling. I just can't get over it.

And in the last 24 hours, her ability to get around seems to have grown tenfold. I was so thrilled yesterday when she managed two lift-flops and traveled a whole foot to get to a toy. Tonight, she can get from one end of the bed to the other like it's nothing. Several times while Jen was trying to feed her, she flipped over and lift-flopped across the bed just to grab at a box of kleenex.

Eight months ago she couldn't even lift her head, let alone reach for anything. Now Jen and I are going through that well-known parenting period of coping with an insatiable infant curiosity. The rule goes, "If you stand too close to anything that's not nailed down, expect it to crash to the floor when you step away."

If only people learned and developed at this rate all their lives.

Of course, as everyone around us is fond of pointing out, "The honeymoon is over." We can no longer expect to put her down and expect her to be in the same place thirty seconds later. We have to be extra dilligent of things lying on the floor, now that she can actually get to them. And we definitely can't get careless when she's on the bed or couch, because even though she's figured out locomotion, she's still got a lot to learn about gravity.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 5 October 1998 · Last Modified: 5 October 1998