Around the Island

Richard’s almanac: An inexact science

Correction: In last week’s column the Reporter stated that Ms. Popsil’s first name is Pamela. Her first name is actually Elizabeth.

My mentor at this newspaper back in 1980 was editor and publisher Bob Dunne. I can still hear his voice when I made my first mistake in a story. I felt terrible. His response was, “You have to remember that this is a very inexact science.”

Well, I made a big faux pas in last week’s column. I referred to the subject of my piece by her wrong first name. Elizabeth is the name of the 101-year-old lady from Hilo Shores. I called her by her daughter’s name — Pamela. I do regret the error.

Meanwhile, readers may remember some months ago when I wrote about a class of students from Hayground School who came to the Senior Center. They interviewed folks about items that would make their lives easier. This was part of a competition held by the Smithsonian. Teachers Julie Fanelli and R.J. Pardington helped the students realize their inventions.

I went over to Hayground last week and watched a presentation concerning the inventions for seniors. They were all carefully crafted and on target to help in many of our daily activities.

The one that impressed me the most was a safe dog-walking leash and jacket. I was particularly interested in this one because I know of a few people who have been seriously injured while out on a leisurely walk with Fido. All it takes is a squirrel or a rabbit or a turkey or a deer to catch the dog’s attention and make him bolt. If the walker is not prepared for this surprise pull, she’ll get knocked to the ground resulting in serious consequences for older individuals. Broken bones and other debilitating injuries can happen.

Well, a couple of these young inventors came up with a strongly magnetized leash. The magnet is strong enough to hold the pooch on a normal walk, but if he lurches, the magnetic connection separates and the dog runs after its prey. The walker remains standing.

But if the walker is a bit unsteady and tumbles, the jacket he’s wearing inflates, preventing injuries much the same as air bags in a car. The jacket is lined with these bags that are triggered to inflate when the walker hits the ground.

Pretty spectacular stuff for 7- to 11-year-olds to design.

On another subject I spent last Saturday morning painting my front stoop. It’s constructed of wood and needed some freshening up with a new coat of dark red semi-gloss paint. The most difficult aspect of any painting project for me is gathering the materials. What leftovers were usable and what did I need to buy? I found everything I needed except a new roller. That required a trip to the hardware store.

I never dress properly for painting and got red paint on my hands, some spots on my face and a few smears on my shirt.

It was getting close to lunch so I took a break and drove over to the Eagle Deli for one of their sausage, egg, and cheese specials with coffee. After I ordered it the nice young woman at the counter asked if I was OK. I was surprised that she was concerned about me. Well she was concerned because she and the other helpful woman employee thought I was bleeding.

I looked at my hands and shirt and it sure did look as though I had been in an accident. I reassured them that all was well. Thank you, ladies, for your concern.