Mana Road


I love walking on the back roads. The wind, the green fields, the vast riveted mountain iced with snow-- it's unabashedly picturesque. I love the ramshackle corrugated roof houses with tarp sheds and the delux garages-as-living space, complete with couches and flat screen tvs, and stacks of industrial size coolers. Yesterday I walked out through the Hawaiian home pasture land roads to a farm that I always admired. Kale, onions, red and green lettuce, cabbage, collards, beets, mizuna, arugula, chard in neat long rows over about 5 acres. There were two people weeding in the field-- I gathered my courage and pushed my stroller in and waved hello. Anna, the farm manager, said sure I could look around and told me all about how they use only organic pest control,(so let the baby out of the stroller!) and that she's worked there since her babies were born, and now they're off to college. She laughed at her dry muddy hands-- no gloves for me she said, and attacked the weedy overgrown chiogga beets. Like a man's hands! she joked, and said her husband is a manager at a restaurant and has beautiful hands. The beets with ugly tops she flung aside with the rest of the weeds, and told me to take them home to boil up. Ray, a tall ex-con looking white guy sat on an upturned bucket weeding the onions. He quietly told me they plant everything from seed, even the onions.

On the way home we stopped and said hello to the sheep who aggressively bleat and rip the dandelion tops we offer through the fence, and hello to the jackson chamelion jigging its tightrope routine along a barbedwire fence. Uncle Drummundo pulled up next to me in his rusted out stationwagon and said-- "Eh I though it was you, Sister!" He is the sometimes ribald usher at church. Last year when he noticed my pregnant belly he shouted, "Ha! I know what you DID!!!!" His wife is the prim stout church librarian-- she is mortified by his antics, and becomes more stiff and proper the wilder and louder he gets. "My husband is not a good man," she said seriously once in Sunday School, "but he is a righteous man."

His 3 year old granddaughter is peering grumpily out of the front window as he drives up and down the road, trying to get her to fall asleep. "Good to show the baby the sheep, the pigs, the dogs, the chickens. This is the last place that's country. No more country in Honolulu, it's all gone now. We need young people's voices to keep it country."

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