Bag of Happiness

Life Lived to the Edge of Possibility

David Kinne

David Kinne
Volcano, Hawaii, USA
June 15
Founder & President
La Vida Buena Partnership
David Kinne is the possibility of people living extraordinary lives of creativity, joy and full self expression. He has led over 2,000 seminars in 6 countries. He is currently working to complete a book of his photos and text about life lived fully called "Mysteries/Answers"


DECEMBER 19, 2010 5:11AM

Loti'i Journal - Aloha. Everyone is Ohana.

Rate: 19 Flag

Auntie Jane


This is Auntie Jane, a beautiful angel on earth here in the little village of Volcano, on the Big Island of Hawai’i.  She was one of the first people I met my first weekend here. The Sunday morning Farmers Market at the Cooper Community Center is the big local weekly social event , when everyone comes together to buy fresh produce, coffee, baked goods, pottery, art, flowers… and to “talk story,” as Hawai’ians say. This is the nexus, the social center of life in Volcano.

I was a little hyper that morning with all the bustle, and I was trying to make contact with a local man I had been corresponding with for almost 2 years in regards to preparing my rainforest land for construction of my little house, which I’ve named Loti’i. He suggested we meet at the Farmers market to talk, but I hadn’t found him yet.

Auntie called out to me in the parking lot, and she smiled and spoke words of welcome, because she had never seen me there before. She was sweet, warm, and calming.  “You looking for Hank? Come. We find you Hank.” And she did.

I saw her again tonight at a wonderful concert by the Maui Supergroup duo known as “Hapa,” who recorded the largest selling album in the history of Hawi’ian music, and who do a comedy turn in Adam Sandler's next movie, due out in February.  It was a Christmas season production by The Volcano Art Center at the Kiluea Military Center Theater, known to the locals as KMC. It’s a wonderful old theater, a local treasure, with magnificent acoustics, as lead singer Barry Flanagan demonstrated by stepping away from the microphone to sing a verse unamplified. Every syllable was distinct and easily heard by the audience of several hundred, even in the back row, where I was seated.

Auntie Jane recognized me in the crowd at intermission, and called me over to talk story. She was proud of the beautiful lei her son (or was it son-in-law?) had given her. And she wanted know if things had worked out with Hank (they had.) And she reminded me to call her Auntie Jane. Family is very important in Hawai’i, and one’s extended family, called Ohana, IS family. To Auntie Jane, everyone is Ohana. This is the true spirit of aloha. Everyone is Ohana.

When I first moved to Texas, it took me a while to get used to being called Sir. In Texas tradition, younger people address their elders as Sir or Ma’am, and since I’m older than many, I got called Sir a lot. After a while I came to enjoy it, expect it, even look forward to it. Here in Hawai’i the tradition is similar but different. In Hawai’i elders are addressed as “Uncle,” or “Auntie,” reflecting the inclusive sense of ohana. It’s a sign of distinction and affection to be called “Uncle,” and the first time I was addressed as Uncle I had a grin on my face the rest of the day. Elders are respected here in a way I’ve never seen anywhere else in America.  I think they have something to teach the rest of the country in this regard.

Need convincing? Just look at this beautiful angel. She’s revered in the community. She’s one of the elders. She’s Auntie Jane. And to her, everyone is Ohana.

Love, David


Photo & text © 2010 by David Kinne – Loti’i Journal is a series about my experiences in the volcanic rainforest on the Big Island of Hawai’i

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What a wonderful tribute to a lovely lady and a unique culture. I prefer Uncle to Sir frankly. So glad to read you here and follow your path in that pretty place.
i'm so glad you found the home you were hoping for with the people in volcano. add that to the beauty of the place where your land is and you truly are in paradise. i can tell by the sound of your voice, uncle david. warm, lovely post.
She sounds like a loving spirit this one. Auntie Jane's bless the world. Now where is the picture?
Excellent tribute and rated with hugs
I hope I don't get a camera like yours for Christmas.
How lovely to be welcomed by her right away. I think the way we are welcomed to a new place sets the spirit and tone fairly quickly. Sounds like you landed smack in the middle of your people.
Can someone PLEASE help me figure out why the picture isn't showing? I have not changed the way I add pictures, I reduce the size appropriately, they show in the edit mode and preview, but do not display once published. I am baffled, and since my stories are so visual, they really suffer when the photo doesn't display... as the last two haven't.

David, the picture is gone, but I feel the spirit this was written in and I would love to visit one day. Volcano, Hawaii, neat name!
My fifth re-edit, on a faster connection, seems to have worked. Ahhhh, the mysteries of life.
This answers my question, "Whatever happened to David and I wonder if he ever got anywhere with that overseas container idea of his." Well? Are you living in a Con-Ex on the Big Island? Does Auntie Jane have email so she can keep us posted? Great to hear from you David!
Hey Conrad, I have a backlog of updates to post, now that I seem to have solved the communication issues (multiple, maybe worth a blog in itself). The Executive Summary is that I spent the first month in an Airstream trailer, but now I am housesitting a great 3 bedroom house a block up the hill for the next year. Lots of room for guests! Seriously!

And I found a very elusive double ended 20' container in Hilo... i.e., it has a lockable double door at each end... makes it easy to install sliding patio doors at what will be the east end and the west end, yet I can lock it up like a bank vault when I will be away. And it's a very clean single-trip container, from Japan, so I don't have much work to do to convert it to an apartment.

But the pressure is off, now that I am in a house, getting Loti'i together quickly. And my latest plans to site it toward the rear of the property require clearing a road back to that corner, which will take time and effort and $$. So I'll be taking my time getting the container in, and then surrounding it with a big lanai.

I promise, I'll keep y'all up to date.
What a beautiful woman! Sounds like you have it all under control there and are enjoying yourself. Keep us posted!
Uncle David I would love to be there with you right now and have coffee and talk story. I am glad you are having fun.
thank you for talking story with us, david. you brought aloha sunshine to this ny winter. and remind me of the singapore custom of addressing all elders as aunty or uncle. that's how i grew up. i love the that everyone in volcano is ohana!
Thanks, Maria. And thanks for reminding me that I'm overdue for a post about the welcome I've gotten from the rest of the community.

She is beautiful! She reminds sooo much of the matriarch of a Navajo family my wife and I love in Southern Utah. She was always covered in the most beautiful squash-blossom jewelry, and was always dressed in turquoise and purple colored dresses. She had that exact same smile, with her head slightly raised, as if she was honored and revered. And she should be. Based only on what I witnessed, this is another culture that is more respectful of the senior members.
Yes, we should respect our elderly more. And I am not just saying so because I am knocking on that door.

I came to this one late, David, but wished to tell you how much I enjoyed it anyway.

What has happened? Did you fall into a volcano or something? Hope all is well.
Mahalo, Brassawe, for remembering me. No, I didn't fall into a volcano... worse, I got tangled in the internets.

This is the 5th time I have tried to respond to your comment... we'll see if this one takes or not... but the combination of a slow wireless internet connection here in the rainforest, and a host site that seems to have every kind of possible issue, has combined to make it not only impossible, but no fun at all for me to try to post anything here. I've tried enough times that I'm pretty much out of caring.

But I do love y'all. This just doesn't seem to be the right place for me to express that.
Lovely post, made me feel warm and serene.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PIECE. Native culture fascinates me- I have some Native American blood. My spirituality is of the Native American faith and deep rooted in the Earth. It is a shame we don't follow these customs- this respect for elders that you speak about. As a culture we are so far removed from the heart and soul. We are disconnected from the things the natives regarded with respect. Such things are viewed as stupid or impractical by the masses when truly there is so much to learn from them. I am looking forward to reading more of your work