Sunday, April 02, 2006
The Kindness Of Strangers
I just returned from a walk and it's a beautiful Sunday morning. Spring is definitely in the air! I love to walk and hike. Jeff and I hiked a lot while in Hawaii -- or I should say we beachcombed. One morning, we wandered along a beach for almost four hours and only crossed paths with five or six people. Two of them, a couple from Canada, pointed out whales far in the distance then loaned us their binoculars so we could get a close up view. I saw one jump completely out of the ocean then dive back into the water in a graceful arch. We talked to that couple for a long time and found we had a lot in common.
On another evening, while having dinner on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the ocean and an orange sunset, we met two couples having dinner at the table next to us. Michele and Bob are both in the Navy and live on Oahu. Thier friends, Linda and Bob, were visiting them from Baltimore. We had a nice conversation and some good laughs. When they heard I was having a booksigning the next afternoon in Honolulu, they said they'd come. I didn't really believe them. Oh, I figured they had good intentions to show up, but as soon as we parted ways, they'd forget about it. The next day at the booksigning, Alison, Community Relations Manager for the Honolulu Barnes and Noble at Ala Moana Center, greeted me with a gorgeous flower lei. She had a big sign displaying the cover of MY PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE by the entrance and a table set up with stacks of my books. She worked hard to have everything just right. Here's a photo of me with Alison.
Soon, members of the Aloha chapter of Romance Writers of America started dropping by to meet me and buy my books. They were all so gracious and friendly, and I felt at ease with all of them. It reconfirmed my belief that writers have an instant connection with one another; I sensed that these people and I were already friends due to our common passion for books and writing. Lynn Raye Harris, the Aloha Chapter's president, also brought me a flower lei to welcome me to Oahu. About mid-way through the signing, I looked up and the two couples I'd met at dinner the night before, Michele, Linda and the two Bobs, were walking through the front door! They bought 3 books each and extended a dinner invitation to Jeff and I for later that night. After they left, people asked me if they were old friends of mine! No one could believe we'd only met the night before! Here they are, along with Jeff & me (center)
Lynn Harris and Michael Little, the Aloha Chapter's newsletter editor, stayed through the entire signing and had coffee with Jeff and me afterward. Lynn's husband Mike also joined us and had everyone laughing--he's a very funny guy! Though we'd never met until that day, I had contacted Lynn through their Chapter website when I planned the trip and she put me in touch with Alison at Barnes and Noble. Without Lynn's help, setting up the booksigning would've been a lot more difficult. Here's Lynn, me and Michael.
My trip to Hawaii was made all the more special due to the kindness of strangers-- people who went out of their way to share with me, help me or support me--though we'd never met before. It's strange to think that chances are good I may never cross paths with any of these people again, yet they touched my life and will always be a happy memory.