Being grateful for our beloved PCC
This summer has been unusually hot – or maybe it just seemed so because I’ve been working with my small band of tour guides as non-skilled, non-trade laborers since the PCC closed. We’ve been moving furniture out of this building into that one, and building these desks over here, and taking apart those over there. Tour Guides normally walk from place to place, smile for the guests, and point and talk. There usually aren’t any heavy lifting and power tools involved in our work. At any rate, it was a particularly hot day and after work, I went for a drive out to Kahuku to get an acai bowl and shave ice. (Yes, I got both. Yes, I ate both.)
While I was waiting for my cool treats, I glanced over at the shop next to the Shave Ice place. I had seen the little antique shop before but had never gone inside. The humble little shop is chock full of curios and antiques from old Hawai‵i and southeast Asia. As I browsed through the different things on display, a stack of old postcards caught my eye, and I found myself going through them one by one.
There were several of old Hawai‵i, specifically Waikiki and that side of the island – and then I found it. One of the postcards had in big letters at the top, “Polynesian Cultural Center”. It was an aerial shot of the young PCC and I found myself staring at it for what seemed like a long time, trying to orient myself and point out what was still the same and what was now different in the layout.
While there is no date on the postcard, my guess is that it’s from between 1966 (when what would later become the Hale Ku‵ai) was built and 1974 when the Center expanded to move the Hawaiian village, build a new Marquesan tohua, the building which is now the Welcome Center, the Gateway Restaurant, and the Pacific Theater (formerly the Pacific Pavilion).
I marvel at all the changes this magnificent organization has gone through during these past 57 years. From very humble beginnings to becoming Hawai‵i’s number one paid attraction. I’m humbled to think of all the sacrifices that so many that came before us made in order for us to be blessed by the PCC we have today. Much of that hard work was done by volunteers, even more by employees who were paid for their normal working hours, but gave so much more of their time, their talents, and of themselves.
As I thought of these PCC ancestors who gave so much back then, so that I could be a part of this awesome institution today, I was humbled. I thought of how hot I was earlier that day, and how I complained about being sweaty. I thought of how I grumbled under my breath when no one was around about how I couldn’t wait to go get my shave ice and acai bowl after work. I thought how ungrateful I must have looked to those ancestors who were looking at me as they checked in from the other side of the veil on their beloved PCC. Tears came to my eyes and I said a little prayer of gratitude and asking for forgiveness. I thanked the Lord for this place where we can work and earn money to care for our families and loved ones, where we can radiate the spirit of the Lord with His children from all over the world, and this place that we can call our ‘Home away from Home”.