Working 13 hours isn’t always work

They say you should enjoy your work. There are days, being a journalist on Kauai, it’s impossible not to.

Even a 13-hour work day can become a chance to be grateful for the opportunities to be part of this island of aloha, meeting good people and sharing magical moments.

Saturday was such a day that started when I left our Lihue home about 7 a.m. to head to the National Tropical Botanical Garden for the third annual Roots ‘n Shoots fun run. For someone who doesn’t care about running, this might be considered a pain in the duff. But for someone who loves running, covering this race put on by the Kauai Marathon was all about fun.

NTBG’s McBryde and Allerton gardens are spectacular, so given the chance to run around in them was glorious. The walkers had it right, taking their time and enjoying the beauty. And it gave me a chance to talk story with folks in the running community, including my friend Jeff Sacchini, founder of the Kauai Marathon and a force behind this amazing run. It was a happy crowd, but how could they not be given where they were.

I wanted to stick around, but the waves called.

From there, I drove the 50 miles to Pine Trees for the Irons Brothers surfing tournament for keiki. I arrived in time to listen to Bruce Irons give a short talk about the tourney and his late brother, Andy. When he spoke, the beach pretty much fell silent as everyone stopped to listen and show respect. The people here, keiki to parents to sponsors to organizers to volunteers, all shared a spirit marked by energy, excitement and joy.

In the two hours I was there, I interviewed many parents who expressed pride in their children, and admiration for those responsible for creating this tourney to introduce youth to the energy of the ocean. The beach, the sunshine, the waves and the young surfers added up to an extraordinary time.

The day got even better.

I returned to work, filed the stories and pictures and then headed out for my last gig at Pietro’s Pizza Kauai at Harbor Mall. My friend Tom Iannucci, owner of Pietro’s, pastor of Breath of Life church in Lihue and a man who loves and makes fantastic pizza, was having a party of sorts.

The occasion: Pietro’s was certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association as an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria, the first in Hawaii and number 633 in the world. It wasn’t so much a celebration of pizza as it was a gathering of friends and family to share in the success and the joy of the Iannucci clan. The speeches by Tom, by VPN’s Peppe Miele, were from the heart.

The smiles were real, as were the hugs and laughs. Pietro’s Pizza Kauai was overflowing with good vibes that night.

I returned home, I think, about 8:30 or so. Weary from a long day of work? Nah. Thankful for a job that, every day, let’s TGI be part of so many special moments on Kauai. It’s our honor.

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Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at bbuley@thegardenisland.com

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