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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The "Gentle Giant" Story

Funaki carving Koi wood held between his legs.
It was an ordinary day.  Talking to Funaki about his carvings he has for sale at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel in Maui, Hawaii.  Funaki is a huge guy who makes his living with his skills as a sculptor of wood.  Uses both Koi as well as Monkey Pod wood which are native to the state in which he lives.  I sat next to him on the ground as he worked so we could talk. 
A look at his carvings.
I told him I was at one time a wood shop teacher and he said, “I knew it had to be something like that because of the questions you were asking me.  Most people have no idea how tough it is to carve the shapes and figures which I do, but you seemed to understand what I was doing.”  This mild mannered young man’s eyes brightened when I asked if he had ever played football.  “Was nose guard for my high school team when we played a 3-4 formation.”  He loved watching the Baltimore Ravens since a high school friend had played for them not long ago.  The friend had to give up his career in football in order to donate a kidney to his brother.  I brought up the subject of my son-in-law’s high school football coaching career and the fact that his team played in the state finals three years at the Raven’s Stadium in Baltimore. 
A look at his family crest on
his massive arms.
Funaki was fully involved in our conversation by this time and put his tools down so we could talk more.  He asked where I was from and I told him I lived with the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He fired question after question about the lifestyle of the Amish.  Our conversation then turned to the armful of tattoos that he sports and was extremely proud to show me and allow me to take photographs.  When he pulled up his shirt I was amazed at the size of his arms.  He is truly an intimidating person, but one of the kindest and most mild mannered young men I have met in quite some time.  His one arm featured his family crest while his other bore the name of his daughter.  I eventually wished him the best and left him to get back to his work knowing that he will be a success in whatever endeavor he may attempt in his life.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   

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