Maui Girl

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

24 December 2006

Merry Christmas!

Maui Girl will be taking a break until after the first of the year. I hope you're enjoying these wonderful stories by Donna Austin.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Picnic in the Lao Valley

After lunch you boys can ride with your father to check the salt licks. He needs your help and you need the change after all your hard work digging the pond and the strain of taking care of Mary. Shorty is going to Macawao for supplies. I’ll have him stop at Tony’s house on the way and pick up a change of clothes for Mary. I’ll have him tell her sister Adelina all about the dress and that you and Mary will stay here for the night. I’m sure Adelina could use a break from you two.”
“Thank you Mrs. Silva.” Said a grateful Tony.
After washing up, the boys sat down to lunch. João’s father was already there at the table. They recounted their adventures with the pond and the bridge and father laughed with them.
“I have some news too!” smiled father. “The Gomes family has come to Kokomo for a visit to their son Manuel. We’ve planned a picnic get together in the Iao valley after church tomorrow. I think it will be a nice to see Joseph again and a picnic in the valley will be a welcome change.”
“I’ll bake some pão doce with eggs in it for the picnic. I know Julia will like that! planned Lucy Silva. “It will be nice to see Julia again.”
João’s heart beat faster and so did Tony’s. There was one person they were both really looking forward to seeing. Rose!

22 December 2006

Chapter 5: Mary is Rescued

The boys didn’t know whether to laugh or groan with despair as they rapidly jumped into the muddy water. They each grabbed a desperate thrashing muddy hand. As they carried Mary out, water streamed from her dirty wet curls and drab muddy dress. This vision of yellow curls and sunshine now looked like a crushed bedraggled drowned daffodil. As Mary looked down at herself and saw her beautiful birthday dress ruined, she opened her mouth and started wailing on the top of her lungs with misery and distress. And that is how she was carried in this manner all the way to João’s house.
João’s mother, Lucy Silva came running out of the house when she heard the commotion Mary was making, thinking someone was dying. She whipped off her voluminous apron and wrapped it around the sad, dripping hysterical little girl.
Lucy took the sad yellow dress and put it in a pan of soapy suds to soak. Then she washed Mary from head to toe and gave her one of her husbands shirts to put on. When the girl saw the oversized dull gray shirt, she cried louder than ever at her loss.
“Shhh Mary, let me comb your hair and give you some tea to drink.” Lucy consoled.
After Mary quieted down, Lucy put the exhausted girl down for a nap.
“How about eating some fried taro and pork for lunch boys?” she asked as she bustled into her kitchen.
“Sounds delicious!” the boys chorused, glad she wasn’t angry with them for Mary’s accident under their watch.
“Mãe, we’re sorry Mary fell in the pond, but we warned her so many times. I hope her dress will be all right. She was so proud of it.” apologized João to his mother.
Lucy shook her head sadly. “I think the organdy material is ruined and can’t be saved. Don’t say anything to Mary and maybe she’ll forget all about it.

17 December 2006

Chapter 5: Duck Pond for Two Ducks Named Julius and Caesar

Ignoring Mary, João turned to Tony and said, “All we need now are the ducks. I’ll go get Julius and Caesar and see how they like the pond. Give me a hand Tony, please?”
“Sure João” answered Tony. Turning to Mary he said. “You had better wait here Mary and stay away from the water! Don’t go near it until we get back.”
The boys quickly returned with two snowy plump white wriggling ducks in their clutches. They were unaware of Mary until she asked, “Why did you name those ducks Julius and Caesar? How do you know they are both boys?” Then they saw Mary perch at the beginning of the new bridge. One foot was still on the ground as the other foot was carefully testing the solidity and strength of the board bridge.
“Don’t!” was all that both boys had time to say before Mary took her second then third faltering wobbly steps.
“See you boys, I’m not a baby. This is easy.” She bragged. She looked up expecting to see the boys admiring faces but instead saw their looks of horror.
“Oh no!” wailed João. “I knew that when I saw your baby sister coming down the road, it meant trouble. Now look at what she is doing!”
Tony quickly reached the ponds edge. “Stay where you are! I’ll come and get you. Don’t you dare move!”
Tony quickly put Julius in the water and he (or she) swam around happily unaware of the drama overhead. João quickly followed suit with Caesar, not even bothering to watch him glide serenely through the water.
Then Tony stationed himself at one end of the bridge and João stood at the other side. “Now stay there! I’m coming after you!” whispered Tony urgently. “Relax, don’t be scared!”
“No! screamed Mary. “Leave me alone. I can do it myself!” These were the last words she uttered before she lost her balance and plunged into the muddy water, startling the ducks out of their complacency and out of their pond.

15 December 2006

Chapter 5: The Bridge Across the Pond

The pond was about 6 feet wide and 3 ½ feet deep. It took many trips to fill its depths, but when it was finished the boys stood back and viewed their little duck pond with pride. “It needs something else!” said João thoughtfully. “I know what! A bridge! And I know just where there is a flat board that is around 8 feet long. It is leaning against the backside of the barn and I know we can use it until someone needs it more than we do.
The two boys eagerly ran toward the barn yelling over their shoulders to Mary, ”Stay right where you are until we get back!”
The boys were gone less than ten minutes panting and out of breath. They could see that Mary had not followed their instructions because she was standing on the pond’s edge dipping her fingers in the still muddy water. She looked like a ray of sunshine reflecting in the muddy depths.
“Look out! Get back! Your dress will get muddy if you slip in!” yelled Tony with alarm.
“No, I wont slip. I’m being extra careful,” said Mary sweetly. She watched curiously as the boys laid the board across the pool. “What is that board for anyway?” Mary asked inquisitively.
“A bridge to walk over instead of going all the way around!” answered João,
“It looks dumb to me. It is too small to walk across and it would be easier to walk around the small pond anyway!” scoffed Mary. “The ducks will never us it and neither will anyone else.” Said Mary with her little girl wisdom.
“Look little baby! I’ll show you how easy it is! Tony bragged as he demonstrated how easy it was to cross. He carefully put one foot in front of the other, balancing himself carefully like a high wire performer in a circus.
“I can go faster than that backwards”, and Tony proceeded to demonstrate his agility by walking the bridge backwards.
“Can I try? Interrupted Mary.
“Of course not!” said Tony.
“You’re just a girl and just a baby at that. Don’t forget you have to be careful of your dress little sissy.” Teased João.

11 December 2006

Chapter 5: Mary Wants To Help (part two)

The boys eagerly started to dig, but it was hard hot work and the joy dimmed a little as they grunted and sweated at the task. After a while Mary got bored at being quiet and doing nothing but watching the two boys shove pile after pile of dirt. She stood on an uprooted tree stump, twirling her new buttercup yellow dress. Her aunt Eva had give it to her for her 5th birthday and she was very proud of it.
“How do you like my dress, João?” Mary asked, twirling her body all the more for attention.
“It’s a nice dress for a girl.” João answered unenthusiastically.
“Can I help dig, Tony?” begged Mary.
“No!” was his terse reply.
“Can I see how deep it is?” Mary then asked.
“No! both boys answered simultaneously. “Keep out of our way or you might dirty that pretty yellow dress!” Tony cautioned.
That seemed to stop Mary for a short time, for she would never want to ruin her pretty birthday dress. But it wasn’t long before she started wiggling and jiggling and twirling again when she saw the boys carrying bucket after bucket of water from the stream nearby. Shorty and Jesse joined the boys on two or three trips with water too.

we just want to help you and your ducks out!” they both said.
“Can I carry a bucket of water too? I want to do something to help”, begged Mary.
“If you really want to help, just stay away from here. We’re almost finished and you’ll only slow us down and get in the way.” João answered her impatiently.

08 December 2006

Chapter Five: Mary Wants to Help (part one)

“Who is that with Tony?” wondered João. “Oh no, it is his baby sister, Mary. She is such a pest. Now we’ll have to take care of her all afternoon.” He thought glumly. “There goes horseback riding with father!”
João waved his hand and ran toward Tony yelling, “Welcome friend! You’ve come at a perfect time as I’ve just finished my chores. But why did you have to bring your little sister?”
Tony said, “Saturday is the only day my sister Adelina can really clean the house and Mary was in her way. I couldn’t refuse to take Mary. It was the least I could do. I’m sorry João. But I made Mary promise to watch us and keep out of the way and be quiet,” apologized Tony.
Mary’s blond curls bounced all over her head as she quivered in anticipation of the fun she would have. Her blue eyes snapped mischievously, belying the innocent expression of raised eyebrows, as she said solemnly, “I promise not to bother you boys. I’ll be as good as an angel.”
“You didn’t say which kind of angel!” quipped João skeptically. The boys turned eagerly toward the spot they had picked for their duck pond. As they walked, they passed the marshy taro and rice patches that João had helped his father dig and irrigate.
Walking to the spot marked with sticks, João said, “I’ve got everything ready for us. It’s all staked out and the shovels are ready. Julius and Caesar, my two pet ducks will really enjoy their very own pond!” enthused João.

04 December 2006

Chapter 5: Jesse Throw Down Hay!

The men walked toward the barn still talking in low voices. João trailed wearily behind. Although his body was tired, his heart felt light. Jesse and Shorty went into the barn and climbed the loft. João’s father pulled the horse cart around from behind the barn.
“What are those cowhands doing in the loft, father?” asked João.
“We need more hay in the fields for the cattle, son, and they are going to throw it down to us and we’ll load it into this cart to bring to the pasture bins.” He answered. “But they are sure taking a long time. I wonder what is keeping them?”
Just as João and his father were about to investigate, Jesse popped his head over the loft and yelled, “Hey someone has been camping here. We found a blanket and some food! It looks like whoever it was has been gone for a while because the food is spoiled and the bread is hard as rock. What shall we do?”
João’s father, Frank Silva called, “Leave the things there. We’ll lock the barn after we’re finished. Let’s just go on with loading hay.”
João tapped his foot and said, “I sure wish they’d hurry, I want to meet Tony this afternoon. We’re going to dig a pond for our two ducks.” Impatiently João walked under the loft and yelled, “Jesse throw down hay!” and at the same time he was yelling, a huge mound of hay already forked in the air, landed on his head and buried him. He sank to the ground, stunned by the weight.
“What did you say?” yelled back Jesse, peering over the edge of the loft. Seeing João buried in hay and struggling to get up, he asked, “Are you all right?”
João looked up and laughed, “I’m fine. Next time I’ll look first, before I yell for you to throw down hay.”
The expression is still used as a family tradition. When you hear someone say, “Jesse throw down hay!” in the Silva family, you know that the job has already been done. After locking the barn carefully, Shorty and Jesse joined João and his father to help distribute the hay in the fields for the cattle.
“Run along João!” Frank Silva said. “I see Tony walking down the road with someone. We’re finished here now anyway. Maybe later you and Tony can ride with me to check the salt licks.” He proudly watched his tall son start toward his visitors.

01 December 2006

Chapter 5: Joao Breaks Horses

The black sweating horse stomped his feet and snorted loudly. João had been hanging on the horse like a limpet to the rocks on the seashore. Every bone in his body ached, especially his teeth, which had transmitting a staccato beat to his skull, leaving his brain numbed from the pain.
He slid off the exhausted and now compliant animal, glad for the solidity of the earth beneath his bare feet. Taking off his straw hat, he wiped his forehead with his sleeve.
“How did I do papa?” asked João, as he walked over to the group of men who had been spectators.
“I couldn’t have done better myself, João. You’ve learned your lesson well,” said his father proudly.
“Like father, like son!” said Shorty, a 6 foot 6 inch tall paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy). He slapped João good-naturedly on the back. “Maybe someday you’ll have your own ranch with your own horses and cattle.”
“Yes, I want to break horses, because there is good money in it and they’re paying $50 a horse at the sugar mills. Then I can use the money to buy my own land, acre by acre, and buy my own cattle, one by one. Beef will always find a market, and I can grow a small crop or two!” said João dreamily.
“That son of yours has his future all staked out. He certainly seems to know what he wants and how to go about it,” said Shorty admiringly. Shaking João’s hand, he said, “Keep dreaming like that, and maybe someday it will come true!”