Maui Girl

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

07 August 2006

Sandwich Islands Story Two

A pot of sopas (soup) seemed to be perpetually awaiting a panoply of ingredients. Its garlic and onion fragrance haunted Rose as she went about the job of preparing the pão. (bread)
First she coiled her think long hair back and pinned it up, tying a kerchief around her head and behind her neck. After washing her hands, she put a large pan of flour on the outdoor oven to warm. Yeast, her mother cultured, was put into warm water and stirred into the warm dry ingredients. Kneading the dough was the secret to light fluffy mouth watering bread. As Rose worked strenuously at the task, perspiration gathered on her hot cheerful face. She loved pounding all the air bubbles out of the mixture and as she worked, she hummed as song of the islands. When the dough was kneaded to her satisfaction, she called her mother.
Her mother came unhurriedly into the kitchen, her voluminous white apron swishing in the breeze. She smiled lovingly at her daughter. Then her mother traced the sign of the cross over the dough and said in Portuguese, “May this bread rise, like the faith all over the world.” She turned to Rose and the children and said, “Now will you please pick a dozen ears of corn for our dinner. Pull off the silk, but leave the husks. Soak the corn in the pan of salt water. Later we’ll cook them over the coals from our lãores (outside oven-grill)
Rose with her older brother and sisters, eagerly ran through their father’s cornfields, racing past row after row of stalks, looking for the biggest ears of corn. As they ran, Rose’s brother, Joe, reached up and tagged Flora’s back. Flora tagged Lydia and the race was on with everyone chasing Mary and Virginia who were the oldest and the youngest girls and still uncaught. Chunky and quick, two seemingly contradictory adjectives described Virginia, as her short black page boy hair vanished in the wind followed by a very red faced puffing Mary.
Rose laughed at their antics, as she went about finishing the job of picking corn. As she started back toward the house, she saw her father in the distance. He was busy digging a ditch for irrigation. His red hair and beard glistened in the sun as he worked. He paused for a moment, shaded his hazel eyes from the sun’s glare, and waved to Rose.
“I’ll be back at the house in a couple of hours, tell Manuel to milk the cow and goat before I return.”
“Yes Pãe” (father), Rose called, “See you soon. Adeus” (goodbye), she happily waved back.


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