Maui Girl

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

25 September 2006

Chapter Two: Lobsters and Octopus

Just then Pãe and the boys came back. They had caught 3 ling cod and had scraped a large pile of lapis (limpets) from the rocks.
“These lapis will make a tasty addition to our lunch!” father said. The fish were stored in wet sacks, set in a separate hamper and put in the shade.
“We’re going back in one more time: The natives showed us a perfect place to dive for lobsters. Get the sacks ready!” Pãe said.
Past the first wave in a shallow lagoon, they began their dives. The spectators on the shore held their breaths as the divers held theirs. Soon Pãe surfaced, hands held very high, clutching a wriggling, snapping, angry lobster in each hand. He waded into shore, as the boys surfaced with similar treasures.
The girls held the wet sacks and the lobsters were lowered carefully inside of them. Then the lobsters were submerged in buckets of salt water to keep them alive and fresh for supper.
“Now we can sit and relax a while before lunch.” Said Pãe. But just then Tony and João came running along the shore towards the family. They were very excited.
“There’s an octopus over by the rocks hiding. We’re afraid to get it by ourselves because it is too big. Will you help us?”
Manuel jumped up and said, “Come on Joe, the four of us can catch him.”
Grabbing their spears, they followed Tony and João excitedly. Octopus was a rare delicacy and great sport to catch.
A half an hour later, the four boys returned triumphantly with not one octopus, but two! One octopus had been hiding behind the other making it look huge. In those 30 minutes, Manuel and Joe had not only caught their meal, but made two new friends.
Turning to his father, Joe said, “This is Antone Sousa and João Silva. Then turning to the boys he said, “I’d like you to meet my father and mother, Mr. & Mrs. Gomes, my sisters, Flora, Mary, Lydia, Rose and Virginia.
“How do you do?” the boys said smilingly. Tony and João both stared hopefully at Rose who looked back at them coolly.
João said to Manuel, “We’ve met your beautiful sister Rose but we didn’t know her name because she doesn’t talk to strangers.”
“Well, I think she is just pouting because we splashed her to get her attention,” added Tony.

22 September 2006

Chapter Two: Tony and Joao

Looking up, she saw two boys splashing and showing off in the water like a pair of seals, trying to get her attention. Only a splash in her face seemed to break her reverie.
“Hello, beautiful girl! What is your name and where do you come from?” When she didn’t answer, the boy said, “My name is Tony and this is João, my best friend”, Tony smiled coaxingly.
Rose noticed that Tony had the straightest white teeth she had ever seen, contrasted against his golden brown skin, reddish gold hair and yellow green eyes. His friend João was just the opposite with hair almost black and big dark eyes that dominated his tanned face. His eyes sparked sheer deviltry as he smiled at her. Both boys skin glistened in the sun as they walked toward her.
These two eighteen year olds were the best looking boys she had ever seen, but their behavior was inexcusable, and looks were only skin deep, as her mother had always warned her.
Rose’s amber eyes flashed fire, as she gathered her wits about her. “How dare you splash my face! Go away, I don’t talk to strangers.“ She spun on her heels and ran back to where her Mom and sisters were sitting.
“Look what I found Mãe. Isn’t this shell beautiful? Listen to the ocean.”
Ignoring the proffered shell, her mother asked, “Who were those two boys that you were talking to just now?”
“Oh, just a couple of show offs. They said their names were Tony and João. I got rid of those two clowns fast.”
Her mother wrinkled her face, thinking hard. “I know those boys from somewhere. Did they speak Portuguese? One of them looks like he might be German.”
“They both spoke Portuguese and English to me. I didn’t ask what their last names were because I didn’t care to know. They splashed my face with water!” said Rose indignantly. “I don’t like them at all.”
“A little water never killed anyone! You’re making a big thing from nothing”, admonished her mother.

15 September 2006

Chapter Two, Story Two: Fishing and a Conch Shell

When the family arrived, they set up their picnic spot with blankets and made a little tent with sticks and sailcloth to provide shade and keep the burning sun’s rays away from their eyes and skins.

While the girls took out their sewing, Pãe and the boys prepared to fish. They donned old pairs of trousers cut short. Each took a long spear and a gunny sack and headed for the waves in the ocean. The boys were just as good as their father at spearing fish. They had all learned from the natives.

As they walked out past the first wave, several Hawaiians called out a greeting and joined them.

“Aloha, you kanakas!” they laughingly joked. This was a real compliment and meant you were one of them. On the other hand, if they called you a “haole” it meant you were white, in power, and bad news to Hawaiians.

The girls watched for awhile before starting their sewing.

“It is times like this, that I wish I was a boy.” Flora said. She had deep set dark eyes that sparkled in her thin thoughtful face.

“I would never want to be a boy in a million years, but I’d love to go in the ocean like them”, asserted Lydia, as her round rosy cheeks crinkled in a smile. Everyone nodded their agreement at her statement and resignedly got started with their sewing.

Rose turned to her mother and asked, “Can I walk by the shore and get my feet wet for a little while? I promise not to get caught by a wave.”

Her mother smiled and said, “Sure, but don’t stay too long and keep in sight of all of us.”

Rose quickly ran down to the wet sand and felt the cold water run over her toes as a gentle wave lapped the shore. As it receded, she noticed a colorful shell sparkling in the sun, and she quickly scooped it up. It was beautifully pink throated inside, spiraling to seeming infinity inside itself, as the spinney bumpy exterior mislead the unwary eye to leave it unnoticed. Rose held the shell up to her ear and heard the sound of the ocean rush up and rash against the shores of time. As she concentrated on the shell’s magic, she felt a large splash on her face! Not her feet, not her body, but a splash on her face!

13 September 2006

Chapter 2: Getting Ready for Hana

The morning dawned, bright and clear in the sleepy village of Naihiko. It was a perfect Saturday for fishing in Hana and the Gomes family eagerly looked forward to it. Manuel hitched their wagon to Molly their plow horse, while Joe gathered the fishing spears and sacks. The cow and goat had been milked and the chickens fed at 5:00 a.m.

Julia had cooked cornmeal with fava beans and couve the night before. Now it had cooled and hardened enough to cut in squares for their lunch. Along with the cornmeal, she added several loaves of bread and a jar of goat’s milk and a dozen mangoes to the hamper. Then she covered the contents with a clean white towel and put it in the back of the wagon.

By six o’clock, all was ready and Mãe (mother) and Pãe (father) sat in the front seat with little Virginia between. Mother took some mending from her bag while father gathered the reigns of the horse. Lydia and Mary took out crochet hooks and yarn. They were working together on a beautiful yellow blanket for Manuel’s wedding present. Flora was doing some intricate stitches on a pillowcase for her present. Rose was hemming towels and dishcloths for her gift, as the wagon bounced over the bumpy road. The boys sat in the back with their bare feet dangling over the edge. Joe pulled out his harmonica and Manuel strummed on his Ukulele. The made a happy picture as they rolled down the winding dirt road toward Hana and the sea. It wouldn’t take long because it was only two or three miles through the lush green forest of coconut, mango, papaya and banana trees. It had rained during the night, washing the dust from the leaves and making everything look brightly vivid, and clean, smelling fresh and mingling with the fragrances of ginger, sandalwood and frangipani.

This was Rose’s favorite trip. She was convinced that Hana was the most beautiful place in the world. Hibiscus bushes grew rampant. And everywhere she looked their bright colors greeted her eyes. Anthuriums with their bright waxy leaves and screaming yellow tongues sitting in the marshy ponds surrounded by lush ferns, drew Rose’s attention. She loved the variety and color of the flowers all seeming to beg for her notice. Rose felt aware and alive and very happy.

05 September 2006

Chapter Two: Introduction

My mother told me stories of how her father (He is Tony in this story) would dive into the water with the native Hawaiians. They taught him how to hold his breathe and swim deep into the water and where to look for the crustaseans. She said she would always remember how he came up to the surface triumphantly with a lobster in each hand. It sounded so exciting to me.

Of course, the story of Tony and Joao in Chapter Two is really my grandmother's story. She really loved Joao, but she married Tony. I'm glad she did because he was a much better person and I wouldn't be here if she had married Joao. In real life he turned out to be a scoundrel. I hope you enjoy this chapter.