Maui Girl

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

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!


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