The watch that got away

April 28th, 2009

red cross

Nadine Kam photos
From left, Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross, Hawaii state chapter, welcomed actress Nancy Kwan, Al Masini and Norbert Meisel to the organization’s annual luncheon fundraiser.

There was no fashion show this time around during the Red Cross annual luncheon fundraiser that took place Saturday afternoon at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, but red was the color of the day.

Guests who made the blood/red connection (I didn’t, DOH!) donned the color while bidding on hotel stays, wine, dinner parties, restaurant gift certificates, and more, while helping to contribute to Red Cross coffers.

Over a fabulous lunch of summery gazpacho and grilled salmon with ‘Nalo greens, Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross, Hawaii state chapter, reminded guests of the value of their contributions. The Red Cross is a non-government emergency-response organization that comes to the aid of disaster victims, helping to provide food, clothing, shelter, counseling and financial assistance.

I think most people would be surprised by the number of disasters that take place here almost daily, which makes fundraising important. Recent house fires come to mind, and those involve only a handful of people. I try not to think about all the bad things that can happen on an island, especially now that Superferry is not an evacuation option.


I bid on, but didn’t get this ring.

The fun and not-so-fun part of it was the silent auction. After being 0-6 at two events by now, I think I’m just really bad at it. I like online auctions much more because it’s impersonal. You can snipe and no one’s there to give you stink eye.

Red being the color of the day, I bid on the ruby cabochon ring above, appraised at $3,000 and I believe it was from Gump’s. (Yes, it’s a purple ruby.) It looked a little old-fashioned and stodgy sitting there, but Dale Young had a ring with the same stone and encouraged me to try it on. It fit and looked great, so I bid the minimum $400. But what I really wanted was the vintage aquamarine and diamond watch below. I placed the minimum $300 and figured odds were good that I’d get it. I didn’t think anyone else would fit it because the band was about 5-3/4 inches. It was made for me. It was … destiny.

Unfortunately, someone else did place a bid, and through much of lunch, she was just standing there guarding her bid. I was sitting next to a developer and businessman, so I asked him what I should do. Well, that was easy for him.

“Swoop in and take the pen,” he said.


The watch that got away.

Ugh, sounds so easy but I still have that residual local girl curse: be the good girl, play nicely, don’t be mean. So, I just couldn’t swoop in and use force or dirty tactics to protect my bid.

I was just standing there, waiting for I don’t know what, when they called time, and it was over without my even making a second bid to at least extract more money for Red Cross out of the other person. Should I name names?

These auctions call attention to things you never knew you wanted. Like many people these days, who pick up their time from cell phones, I haven’t worn a watch for years. Many people view watches as status items, but when I was much younger I considered them a form of prison, a symbol of being tied to a clock. I wanted to be free of time’s constraints so I got rid of my watch a few years into my first job as a feature/travel writer. So what if I missed a few flights in the process? I was living on my own time.

I haven’t thought of owning a watch since, until now. But I don’t know when one like this will ever surface again, in just the right size.


Dressed in red for the Red Cross event, from left, Dale Young, Leilani Keough and Kensei.

jim nabors

Coralie Chun Matayoshi with event committee member Bunny Look and Jim Nabors.

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