Editor’s Page: Showing Your Stuff

Tests that count.

You can tell a lot about someone by the way they respond when tested. Sometimes the tests come large, sudden and life-slamming as in the Sept. 11 attacks. 


In this issue, we mark the 15th anniversary of those 2001 attacks, and we are fortunate to hear from some of those with Hawai‘i ties who were most deeply affected by the attacks: those who lost loved ones, who lived through the devastation, who helped with the recovery. While some of the sharpest grief has faded after 15 years, the topic will never be a routine one. I want to thank each person who was willing to go back and talk about that time so that we might reflect on the lasting impact. We can certainly agree that such a horrific tragedy is a huge test of all touched by it. And those we talked to rose through the grief, confusion and pain to find larger life lessons. They saw both the great loss and the human resiliency. They mourn, yet remind us all to express our love more fully and more often.


Beyond cataclysmic events in our lives, our career choices test us. We learn a fascinating story of the Ganot brothers, identical twins forging successful careers in two very different worlds: coaching college basketball at the University of Hawai‘i and designing fashion in New York City. In telling this story, our senior fashion editor Brie Thalmann showed her attention to detail and appreciation of the way winning style can stretch from the runway to the Stan Sheriff arena. 


Photo: American Red Cross 

Tests often come in the form of illness, especially cancer, which has touched most of our families. In recent months, Hawai‘i lost two men who made a difference in our community throughout their different careers. Rep. K. Mark Takai had served just a short time in Congress but much longer at the state Legislature. He was one of those politicians who actually sat down with people to find out what they were thinking and seemed genuinely interested in listening. You knew what positions he took and why. He was clear about what was most important to him: service to the community and the military, and his family. At 49, pancreatic cancer claimed his life far too soon. 


We also lost longtime television news anchor and reporter Kirk Matthews to lung cancer. Kirk had been a familiar face throughout the Islands since the 1980s and was beloved for his warmth, his kindness and professionalism. Having worked with him as a friend and colleague in the KHON newsroom, I can say that he was all that and more: He loved life, his irrepressible wife, Linda Coble, and his two daughters. And he had that knack of being ready with a quip or a smile no matter how stressful the day. We’re fortunate that many of us got to party with Kirk and Linda and the girls in December at an event to help with some of the medical expenses. Even with a squeaky voice and a slower gait, Kirk still radiated warmth with a twinkle in his eye.


Sometimes people are tested in just a moment. And we guess that’s what happened with Chelsea Lyons Kent, that delegate to the Democratic National Convention and Bernie Sanders supporter who stuck up her middle finger while Hawai‘i announced the delegate vote count at 19 for Sanders and 15 for Hillary Clinton. There, in the brief spotlight, I think she blew that test. Her one-finger protest distracted from Sanders, the candidate she was supposedly championing. It looks like her next test is up to her. We’ll see if she fades from view or stays involved.


Thoughts about the magazine? Please email me at robbied@honolulumagazine.com.


Read More Stories by Robbie Dingeman