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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)

TITLE: Kahiki
By Linda Buskirk


My brown eyes must have looked as big as the giant stone heads towering in front of me. On top of each head, a circle of fire danced in the early evening light. Stern eyes, sunk above wide nostrils, watched us approach the massive wooden doors they were guarding. A haunting chant of deep voices and drums pulsed from within.

At eight years old in Ohio, my world never included anything like this. My sister Janet and her fiancé Shep promised me that dinner that evening would be "exotic" - whatever that was. Excited anticipation filled the car as we were driving to Columbus, but no clues were offered, just smiles and winks and "wait and see."

Shep turned into a parking lot and proclaimed, "Here we are!”

I looked and blinked and looked again at an unexpected wonder rising from the urban landscape: a mammoth jungle bungalow. Jagged patterns of color decorated the roof. Its long center spine sloped suddenly upward and beyond the front wall, then split from a sharp point, extending a sheltering entryway, like tent flaps dropping from forty feet in the air.

Now in front of those giant heads, I took a deep breath and hurried past as Shep held open the door.

We were inside. Or were we? Before us stone pathways led through what looked like a tribal village in a Tarzan movie. Thatched roofs sheltered groupings of tables and chairs. Tropical blooms of amazing color and structure highlighted lush greenery. Each hut-like seating area displayed its own collection of seemingly primitive art. Masks, pottery, weavings, lanterns, and even ceremonial weapons vied for the attention of diners.

A beautiful woman with dark features, a giant flower in her hair and a real grass skirt greeted us and led us to our place in this jungle village. It is my first remembrance of experiencing a restaurant not lit with the wattage of a family diner. Dark and mysterious, the restaurant's glowing torches set off brilliant hues among the shadows. It was like eating at a camp site in a jungle, except we were all dressed up.

An aquarium teaming with tropical sea creatures provided living scenery at the end of our table. Delighted at such close vantage, my eyes could barely turn away from the fanciful fins gracefully floating past my face - until my beverage arrived.

Pieces of pineapple and cherries, skewered on a miniature totem pole, garnished a frothy, fruity concoction served in a coconut shell!

The multi-sensory memories of that evening remain with me, nearly 50 years later. If ever there was a way to be introduced to the concept of exotic, dining at the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio, was it.

Today, technology brings incredible life-like images and sounds to little screens we hold in our hands. With real and imagined universes transmitted so easily, perhaps the concept of exotic is becoming passé. What will seem strikingly unusual or strange and mysterious to my grandchildren? Will they have seen it all before they are eight years old?

Let us be intentional about providing children exotic experiences of wonderment. A performance by a live orchestra, a home grown tomato, a spider web, or a fruity drink in a coconut shell come to mind.

Dear God, help us teach our children of your loving hand in all things real and digital, tame and exotic, so they can know the wonder of your love and provision.

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This article has been read 209 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/15/13
I'm not sure if I've been to the same place, but as I read a picture formed in my mind of a long ago forgotten family vacation. We would go to so many different places, some odd, some horrible and some magnificent. This reminded me of how I wished I had been able to do more than Disney World and Universal Studios for my kids. Then in the end you reminded me I did show them the wonder in simple things like a spider web. Nicely done.
Larry Whittington08/15/13
You wrote a very descriptive story to get to your point. To me it seems the last 4 or 5 paragraphs were what you really wanted to key in on but to make a stronger point, the story had to come first.

At times I wish I could remember things of 50 to 60 years ago more clearly.

Nice writing on the topic "Exotic"
C D Swanson 08/19/13
Oh, I really liked this well written and triple layered story. Great message, and wonderful way to say it.

God Bless~
lynn gipson 08/20/13
Very well done. I enjoyed your trip down memory lane, and it is a nice one! Loved it.
Judith Gayle Smith08/20/13
Deliciously exquisite - what wonderful reminiscing. As a former Buckeye from the wilds of Ohio, the most exotic trip I ever imagined was taking my tricycle to see the Cleveland Indians. I ran out of oomph and cancelled my wild excursion. Thank you for bringing that poignant memory back . . .
C D Swanson 08/22/13
Congrats! God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/22/13
Congratulations on placing 4th in your level and 17 overall! (The highest rankings can be found on the message boards)