Showing posts from February, 2008

Baptisms and Branding

Last weekend we got to participate in a branding up on Mauna Kea. Our landlords' grandpa, Grandpa Bolo, works one of the beautiful 300 acre Hawaiian Homes lots up in the green plains up towards the mountain. The whole family comes. Horses, dogs, kids, cowboys and cowgirls, uncles and aunties setting out tray after tray after tray of food. Korean fried chicken, Luau, smoke pork, sweet potato, poi, salad (that's mac or potato), fried fish and steamed fish: Kole, yellow, and Moe, bbq ribs, and more.
The cowboys and cowgirls gather in the herd with their horses while the rest of us sit silently and watch by the corral. Then they "cut" the cows away from their calves one by one-- it only takes them half an hour to sort the entire herd. The horses and dogs are a seamless part of the team. Then once they're sorted, everyone jumps in to help with the main project: one by one, the calves are roped, pulled into working corral, mugged (knocked over and sat upon, with one hoo…

Ocean Sushi in Hilo

It's Presidents Day and the place is packed-- a weary fan looks this way and that next to the door. There's a family of seven lined up sweatily by the counter, waiting to catch the waitress's eye. She's wearing belligerent thick black eyeliner, and a tight t-shirt with a picture of a bowl of soup, and the caption "Miso Hot." She shrugs us over to a sticky table, in a maze of mismatched chairs.
There's a pair of Hawaiian aunties right next to us, and I eavesdrop and peer at their food before I order. And it's lovely-- thin little strips of yaki-something, and sweet little rolls like gems. They strike up a conversation with a family at the table kitty-corner from us. --Oh-- you folks from Honokaa! You never go work with my brother them? --Oh yeah, over there at the kine. My husband work with your brother Jon Gomes? --No the other Gomes. Milton Gomes. I get a brother Milton and Jack. Not the Ahualoa Gomes. Honokaa. I'm a honokaa girl. --Oh! Me too! --Oh t…

The Last Egg Farm

Last week I went down Kawaihae Road to buy some eggs. Half way down the hill is the sign: Organa Grown, Hawaiian Fresh Egg Farm, home of Mountain Apple Brand Eggs, and a turn off over a narrow bridge onto a lane shadowed by palm trees. Follow the dirt track around the bend and turn into a nondescript open lot between large warehouse-style buildings. Park and say hello into the open doorway, beside the whiteboad of egg prices and a faded copy of the ten commandments, and you'll be greeted by a member of the family: David Davenport in spattered jeans, his wife or two bright eyed teengaged daughters.
David has run this egg farm for 21 years. He took it over from his grandfather. It's still a family affair-- his family works with him producing thousands of eggs for the Big Island brand, Mountain Apple. They also sell flats of eggs directly from their warehouse, which is how I came to be standing in their doorway.
But in the next 6 months to a year, they will close down. When I aske…

100 Years of Waimea Cowboys

100 years ago, three young Hawaiian cowboys made the long trek to Wyoming to compete in the World Roping Championship. They spoke Hawaiian, had peculiar Hawaiian-style saddles, and wore bright hakulei on their hats-- Old West Cheyenne didn't know what to do with these foreign oddities on borrowed horses. They certainly didn't expect much from them. And then the young "children of Waimea" showed their stuff-- they not only held their own in the competition, Ikua Purdy won the whole thing outright. His victory is still sweet. It is immortalized in song: "Rough Riders" and "Waiomina" and many more.
Paniolo Preservation Society

Last Wednesday was the opening event for a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of that triumph. We gathered with the crowd in the cold needly kipuupuu rain outside Kahilu theatre waiting for the doors to open and admit 500 of us to the free exhibit, lecture and concert. When the doors finally opened, we pressed into t…

Doctors these days

Yesterday I was sitting with a group of moms and aunties while the babies and little kids bumped into each other, stole each others' toys and pulverized gummy crackers into the rug. My friend Renee brought her 6 year old niece Nawea, who has recently become a big sister. I asked "how's your new baby, Nawea?" She said fine but her aunt started laughing
Renee said when the new baby was born, brown-skinned Nawea took one look at her new lily-white sister and said in a panic, "Are we going to paint her?" Her mom told "oh, the doctors will do that!"
Luckily for Nawea, the baby is now turning nicely browned. Phew-- no baby painting necessary.

My Mental Mapping

The Big Island is Big. And diverse: waterfalls, deserts, lush rainforests and tangled buzzing jungles, wind-brushed green and silver grass on low hills, wide yellow plains, even near-tundra perma-frosted, with lichen on the rocks and stunted wind-bent brush.
Driving from point to point, you can see out over the guardrails into the varied vastness of the island. There are "Scenic Point" pull-outs along nearly every road-- offering a pause for a vista over jungle, plains, and sea. Tourists in rental cars clump at these spots, shooting pictures over the guardrails.
I admit I have my fair share of guardrail pictures-- just this morning the mist was pouring over the puu on my way back from school and I stuck my camera out the window and snapped a few before the light turned green. And rainbow pictures-- there are almost always spectacular rainbows chasing alonside you on Kawaihae road. The one behind the title of the blog has a tell-tale corner of guardrail.
And the roadside picture…