Hau‘oli la hanau to Dwayne ‘Joe Cool’ Melancon


I did a birthday post for our friend Dwayne last year too, and before I started to write this, I read it once again only to find that I was thinking about starting this one in the same way! Such is the strong consistency of Dwayne’s impact on my life:

Didja know that today is Joe D.Cool’s birthday?

There are certain birthdays that deserve all my attention; they are
my feelin’ the gratitude days. Today is my gratitude day for Dwayne; Hau‘oli la hanau my friend.

Dwayne is one of my spirit spillers;

Dwayne Melancon
at Genuine Curiosity (Feed)

There could be no better pairing of a man with the name of his
blog. Dwayne is the thoughtfully intelligent adult who has magically
kept the genuine curiosity we only think children can have. I do not
hear from Dwayne as often as others, yet when I do he has amazingly
chosen the perfect time, where connecting with him makes me feel
healthy again. I have a dream of sitting in an audience to hear Dwayne speak one day”

Sunday Mālama: Spirit Spilling

Dwayne just gave me one of those “perfect times” again in the past week… One way we count our blessings is in our vital friendships. When you do, their birthdays are actually your gifts!

Sometimes I think Dwayne is psychic, for I will see a message arrive from him in one of the places we communicate at the most perfect-for-me times. But I do know better: Having that kind of connection with someone happens because

a) they know you. They have intentionally worked at knowing you.

b) they are thoughtful and generous. Not only do they know you, they remember you.

c) they act. They don't just think about doing things for you, or about you; they do them.

That kind of knowing, remembering, and doing, is the best kind of caring in the whole world. And lucky, lucky girl that I am, Dwayne is that kind of vital friend for me.

Here is the most recent example.

Dwayne reviewed The Red Rubber Ball at Work by Kevin Carroll for ALAWB09 on JJL this past month. His first choice was another book (and don’t worry, I can safely guarantee you that one will show up on his blog one of these days soon – he is book reviewer extraordinaire) but he quickly gave in to me asking for this one because I was so interested in it.

Then, we had this conversation about it (and yes, I am forcing you to click over for the complete story and full effect… Dave jumped in too.)

Not even a week later…


My friends are among the biggest JOYS of my life. Just got a surprise in the mail~ Aloha copy of The Red Rubber Ball at Work!
~ my delighted tweet on Twitter

Was I surprised? Wonderfully so, but was I really surprised? No, not at all, for this was classic Dwayne, knowing, remembering and doing as he does so, so well, and with Aloha.

Happy Birthday Dwayne.
My life got so much better when I met you. You are smart and playful (the cover of Mr. Carroll’s book could have been designed with you in mind, textured ball in that briefcase!) and the best gifts you have given me over the years are the ones I hold not in my hands, but in my soul.

Postscript: Yes, there is a bit of a history to my Joe D.Cool nickname for Dwayne. If you like, you can follow this trail: Didja know that today is Joe D.Cool’s birthday?

About my Talking Story Birthday Celebrations: I would love to do these public Birthday Alohas for everyone in our Ho‘ohana Community, but if I did there might not be time and space for anything else here on Talking Story! (Intriguing thought for another blog one day though” seeing how strongly I agree with Keith Ferrazzi about the importance of celebrating birthdays.)

So who do I choose, and how do I choose? I choose vital friends yes, but mostly I choose the leaders who I believe you can learn from too. They are also the brave and generous citizen publishers of the web, so that you can follow and converse with them.

I encourage you to follow the links I offer and meet them: Leaders are those who inspire us to be better than we are, and they walk their talk as naturally as they breathe.


  1. Beth Thoma Robinson says

    What an inspiration for starting my day with intention! May I remember to live this day in the spirit playfulness and gratitude embodied in the friendship between Rosa and Dwayne.

  2. says

    Yo, Dwayne — happy birthday!!
    Looking forward to talking about and looking back the amazing 9+ years we’ve been working together later today over drinks. It’ll be nice to do this while you’re still fully lucid — as we both know, this becomes more difficult as we enter our twilight years.
    Cheers, buddy!

  3. says

    Wow – thank you, Rosa! My quote for today:
    “Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.” ~Tom Wilson
    Thanks for making my birthday special with your awesomeness.

  4. says

    How like you to pick a quote like that Joe D.Cool :) Most of my wisdom came with my family, those I have had the good fortune to work with, and my friends – the knowing, remembering, and doing ones just like you. Hau‘oli la hanau me ke aloha Dwayne!

  5. Matt Hixson says

    Happy birthday Dwayne – You are one of my favorite people to chat with on lots of subjects and I’m glad that we get to work together daily. I look forward to creating some amazing things over the next year. We have lots to do – I hope your not too old now!

  6. says

    Happy B-Day (one day late) Dwayne!
    Rosa’s testimony just ooozes honor and integrity wrapped in spiritful intention.
    This IS way cool Joe D.!

  7. says

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