by Gene Benedict
December 6, 2017

Native Hawaiians have a word for it. The closest we can come in English to their word is “pono.” In our terms, perhaps the best definition, though confusing, is “balance.” I don’t often talk about me unless asked. This time, let’s just talk about me. And let’s discuss “pono.”          

This has been a year and more, so I think, of balancing. I watched a child, one I birthed many years ago, grow and flourish and then it was time for me to release the child to thrive on its own. I’m talking of a business I built out of air, an engineering business that grew into a consulting business with offices, at one point, in five states.


I used that child to build for me a retirement, an income with benefits that would, or could, carry me and my lifestyle well into the next century. And then I watched that child die, slowly, ever so slowly, knowing I probably could do something to prolong its life. I chose not to. The new management needed to do that.          

And then I found out from friends, not from the management, that this business had closed its doors. The reason given was lost orders and non-performance, valid reasons. But for me, it was, in my mind at least, catastrophic. My retirement, my life plans, gone. I’m still in the throes of that.          

As many of you know my mom and dad have not been well for quite some time. Anne and I had a forced move in the midst of the business dying. Then both Mom and Dad seemed to be going down at the same time. I alerted the family, and most came to visit, some to stay for several days. Mom and Dad live nearby in Dunnellon. All the grandchildren from out of state came at least once, Melanie, from California, making several visits.

About that time, Anne left her employment so she could use her energies in different ways including helping with my situations. That was a Godsend. At about that time my Dad had to have emergency life threatening surgery and Mom needed someone nearby. Anne to the rescue. We weathered three potentially major storms on Cedar Key not being here with the help of friends, who, over the phone, agreed to help secure our place till we could get back.          

Anne, by deliberate decision, postponed work on her teeth and mouth that is now major and to which she is tending. Maintenance on both cars has been neglected. My health, fortunately, has been good, but I haven’t tended to me for several months now.          

So let’s get back to “pono,” to “balance.” Glenn calls it “perspective.” Perhaps that adds to the meaning. How do you know what’s good if you don’t know what’s bad? How do you recognize poverty if you’ve never known plenty? How do you know pleasure if you’ve never known pain?          

So now it is Thanksgiving time. Mom and Dad on their own drove over Sunday and picnicked with us and friends at Rich and Cindy’s. This was their first field day in about a year. Dad is fine. Mom still needs help up and down and still uses a walker, but her strength is improving and her one good eye sees better that a few weeks ago.          

And Anne is tending to her health. And I’m still in reasonably good health. And this morning behind Annie’s Café I saw no less than six herons, a great blue, a great white, a showy egret, a green heron, a Louisiana heron, and an American bittern. And Anne and I sat down to a breakfast of warmed over meatloaf and homefries with onions.

I’ve experienced my “pono.” I’ve had my Thanksgiving.

A personal note, I’ve thanked all of those close to my situations on a personal basis. Now, here’s a big thanks to you, our friends, our readers, for being here, for your encouraging words through the process. For asking. Just asking itself goes a long way in showing support. Now I feel an urgent need to get back out there on the hunt for Trouble in Cedar Key. How about joining me?

Copyright © by Gene Benedict 6 December 2017