Maui Girl

These stories from Donna Austin come from her rich Maui history and heritage.

25 August 2006

Sandwich Islands: Story Seven

I went to Lahaina today to trade a load of bananas at the dock. The sailors were full of the news! Queen Liliuokalani is being held prisoner in her palace on the island of Oahu. Ever since 1890 we’ve been in a state of depression because of the McKinley Tariff. This tarriff raised the price of sugar 2 cents a pound over American sugar. Now a group of people, in favor of annexation, have forced the Queen out of power.”
Enjoying his interested audience’s appreciation of the news, Frank Diaz continued, “I’ve also heard that in prison, Queen Liliuokalani wrote the most beautiful song to her beloved Hawaiian Islands. It is a haunting, beautifully sad song called “Aloha Oie”
Everyone discussed the news and heard and reheard the story several times from Frank before they were all finally satisfied that, that was all he knew.
“This means that we could become American citizens someday soon” said father thoughtfully. I wonder how that would affect us? I feel sorry for Queen Liliuokalani. She was loved by a lot of people and she was as good queen. But I guess the big plantation owners couldn’t stand back any longer while their sugar was taxed out of competition with other countries. It is a shame the almighty dollar must come first. But I guess that is progress,” he said philosophically.
Changing the subject father said, “I think I’ll go to Hana tomorrow. The moon tells me the tides and time of month is right for catching lobsters. They’ll make a tasty dinner.”
His children smiled at the news and nudged Rose. She was the favored spokesman and the apple of her father’s eye.
“Please papa, can we all go with you? The girls will bring sewing to do while the boys help you fish. Even mother can come and we’ll have our mid day meal by the shore. Please say we can?”
Joseph smiled as he looked around at his children’s pleading faces. “That sounds like a good plan. What do you think, Julia?” their father asked.
“A family picnic would be fun and we can all enjoy the fresh ocean air and hopefully the sunshine,” smiled mama. “Now its time for bed.”
Each of her children kissed their mother’s hands in turn and she traced the sign of the cross lovingly on their foreheads as she blessed them and hugged them in her warm enveloping embrace. Then they each went off happily and quietly to bed. Their only thought as hey peacefully and tiredly laid their heads on the pillow was the blue sky an ocean waves crashing on the rocks.

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