When I got booted out of Peace Corps training at Hilo, Hawaii in December, 1964, I dropped off the plane back to the mainland at Honolulu. I went to work in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Makahiki Restaurant for a while as a bussboy while deciding what to do next.
I was the only Haole working at the Makahike. All the other bussboys were Filipino and the waitresses, managers were all Orientals. The bussboys all worked for minimum wage and a percentage of tips, which still left things marginal as a means of survival.
But I soon discovered the bussboys all had an edge. On my first day, maybe first hour working there I went into the back carrying a huge tray full of dirty dishes and food left behind by the eaters. I’d no sooner gotten out of sight of the customers before the head bussboy grabbed me by the arm, put the tray down and began screaming at me. Moving dishes and pointing at leftover food items I’d mixed, spilled water over, made no effort to keep separate from others.
“Garbage! You made it garbage Haole bastard!”
It turned out all the bussboys kept discarded food separate and put it on a table in the back each time they unloaded from the customer service area. Then, anytime one of us had a brief break in customer demand up front, we’d go to the table and gobble a half-eaten steak, papaya, anything suiting our fancy.
During the time I worked there I ate well. I’m not certain I’ve ever eaten better, more consistently, even during times of affluence.
In the post Could you choose to live on the street? I described a man I knew as a youngster who dropped out of being president of a bank to live under a bridge. I suspect one of the ways he survived involved carrying what I did at the Makahiki a step further.
Similarly, in the post, Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why? I described a man who’s used second-harvest of affluence as a means to pursue what he considered worthy human activity.
This morning I’m reposting a couple of blogs of people who are following the second harvest route to life. I admire the spirit.