Monthly Archives: July 2010

The VW Chicken

I was traveling recently and ran into a Volkswagen van pickup.  In this blog, you can see a picture of it.  I was glad I had a camera with me to capture the feeling that came over me.  It was just sitting there on the street, but was obviously in working condition.  Without it being started, I could hear the muted rumble of the VW engine; see the panels shaking on the car, and it bobbing up and down as it shifted gears.  There it sat, in front of a surf store in Waialua, a surf board in the back.  Two symbols of freedom and independence come together; it was almost more than I could take. 

I learned in my research that this odd looking beauty is rare primarily because of something known as the “Chicken tax.”  Apparently, in 1964, in retaliation to the tariffs on imports from France and Germany of U.S. Chicken, President Johnson imposed a 25% tax (almost 10 times the normal tax) to include light trucks- which the VW vans and pickup vans qualified as.  Translation:  No chicken= no pickup vans; verstehen?  Only politics could contrive such an outcome.

By 1971, these rattling beauties all but disappeared.  The Chicken tax still remains to this day.  So, as I understand it, the rarity of this classic is due to a political war over chicken.   The VW vans of old (including the pickup van) are very popular icons of the free-minded.  They became commonly known as hippie vans (as least I refer to them often with this endearing term- and I don’t think I made it up)… and these classics are often owned by the young at heart.  Shoot, I think I would like to own one.  To those of us who find joy in such a union, it’s hard to think that a chicken came between us.

What a waste of chicken.  Could we have leveraged something more useless and less endearing, such as French pastries or German potato salad?  Leave it to politics to totally screw up a great thing.

When I came back from this trip, I ran into another VW classic at the airport.  Chatted with the young man who owned it, and salivated one more time.  It was definitely an omen that this blog be written and a respectful tribute to a treasure of our past be written.  From Hawaii to Colorado the victory over chicken lives on!!

hawaii-7-2010-066I want to thank those readers who have devoted time and treasure to find, buy, and restore these VW icons.  Sure they are really a piece of junk, but this is the junk that dreams are made of.  Now I know why, for most of my life, I hated chicken.  What is your memory of the VW Van and Van Pickup?  Hmmm, I probably don’t want to know, but I hope this memory conjures up the best of memories.

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Posted by on July 24, 2010 in Uncategorized



I have seen it happen a few times now.  There are movies about it, from sports to the will to live; from achieving the impossible, to seeing a miracle in the smallest of unlikely things.  I’ve seen Remember The Titans, Chariots of Fire, The Blind Side, and yes, even Babe.  All wonderful visuals of overcoming all odds, or in “making their mark.”

In our faith based world, many of us have wonderful practices and rituals that essentially bless the lives of people.  One such practice I’m familiar with is called “Home and Visiting Teaching.”  This simple practice is where we visit the homes of each other in our congregation and see how the family or individual is fairing.  We do this on a periodic basis.   This simple practice is an outward expression of an inner commitment we make; and essentially we are doing what we believe God would want his children to do… look after one another.  I was humbled this month as a group of about 150 souls I have the honor of leading, accepted a challenge to not leave anyone behind and visit each member of their congregation to offer encouragement and hope and love (if you will) for one another.  This is a group of young single adults, whose testosterone and hormones are raging as they are between 19 and 30 years old.  To ask this age group to think of others is generally contrary to the normal order of things, so when I challenged them to visit everyone in their congregation (by assignment) last month, it was an act of faith on my part.  Guess what, they rose to the expectation, and NO ONE was left behind.

This was not about winning a game, or overcoming a disease, or really anything that would be noticed or captured in the news, or make the world wide screen.  It was a simple act of service.  In my mind, this was an example to every reader of my blog, of what can and should be accomplished as we raise expectations and achieve the seemingly impossible.

I have complete faith in the rising generation, and know we are in good hands if we just reveal our expectations and demonstrate trust in the human spirit and humanity itself.

So that is the message of this blog.  Reveal and live up to EXPECTATIONS.  In our work we have a mantra: “Exceeding Expectations.”   In our faith, which is applicable to the world it could be “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  In either case, the message is clear, there is an expectation of excellence we should strive to attain- this could be the essence of life.

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Posted by on July 6, 2010 in Uncategorized