Maui Girl

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

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.

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