Maui Girl

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

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.

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