Tag Archive | Hawaii

From whence this rain cometh?


The gray skies hover about, crowding the skies above me. It’s not that I don’t like rain, or the chance of rain… because sometimes rain is good and needed. It’s just that I’ve noticed lately that it keeps following me around. There’s no symbolism here, so put that out of your mind. I’m as happy as a jaybird on a sunny day, but when the clouds start rolling in, I get annoyed. The thing is, I like the sunshine. People are happy when it’s sunny. They smile more, laugh heartier, and do activities that encourage friendships… like going to sporting events or picnics. 

When I was living in Hawaii the first time, it was sunny all day until around 4 pm. It was great! Then, right on time, it would shower for fifteen minutes and be gone. It was refreshing and made the flowers seem even more beautiful. But on my third trip living there, it was as if someone forgot to turn off the shower. Days on end it would rain without mercy. My bones began to ache, my head throbbed and I sat at the window like the kids in The Cat in the Hat, just waiting for it to end. I did not get depressed, but I must admit I was a bit grumpy. There’d be no hiking, paddle boarding or golf that day!

I often wonder what people see in the rain in places like Oregon and Washington. Oh, I get that the forests are gorgeous and the rivers and lakes are always full, but to have a black cloud looming overhead most of the day would get old. I imagine hiking and playing in those lovely rivers and lakes on a sunny day must be like heaven… but oh, the rain!! I’d be as fat as a cow if I lived where it rained all day. I’d feel like I needed to bake. Oh no, that would be disastrous!

Its the first day of summer and I must admit, I awoke aching and annoyed! How could it possibly rain on the first day of summer, for Pete sakes? This morning was the third straight day of rain in my Southeast corner of Virginia. Hasn’t someone told the big guy up there that it’s summer?? I slipped on my flip flops and reminded myself that I would have to change shoes if I was to go out later. What a way to start the day… and then, as I fiddled in the kitchen and stretched out my aching bones, a ray of sun slipped through a cloud. It danced upon my face for just a moment before is hid behind a light gray cloud moving across the sky. I smiled. Could it be that sunshine was in my future? 

You betcha!… Suddenly I’m as happy as a frog on a log singing his favorite song! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and even my favorite squirrel is out collecting nuts. No time for writing now, the sun is calling my name and I’m out the door. Isn’t it great when the rain disappears? Gotta love rainbows!


Beneath the Old Tree


Hawaiian Hau Tree

Hawaiian Hau Tree on Pearl Harbor Base

The cool trade winds rustled the leaves overhead, as the music drifted over the prestigious crowd. Laughter filled the air, while voices raised and lowered as the music kept its pace. No one paid any mind to the leaves overhead, or to the branches that wrapped themselves in braids high above their heads. Nor did they notice the disarray of branches weaving in and out of the iron latticed-cover of the pergola. But the tree, now weathered, and living longer than most of its peers, listened as he had so many times before to the crowd huddled below its lighted foliage. Times were different now of course, because he was older and wiser… but the conversations were the same as they had been for as long as he could remember.

Hau Tree canopyThe military officers in their finest uniforms stood in huddled masses discussing the latest military issue. While the wives shifted from one leg to the other giving rest to their weary feet. All about them caterers in crisp uniforms glided from one group to the other carrying trays of miniature entrees and desserts. Some nights were different of course. Some nights found the officers in Aloha shirts and slacks, but the women really never changed. Their hair piled high upon their heads or long and endless notified the tree of yet another decade now gone…faded like the sunsets over the ocean nearby. But still the ladies were the same, wearer of dresses, light perfume and a touch of lipstick to accentuate their lips.

Tonight the tree arched its branches towards the outer perimeter of the patio as if reaching to grab the musicians just beyond its reach. The IMG_0152music, his favorite, played across the crowd, bouncing back against the house and resting on each leaf, energizing them. If only his trunk were not grounded to the earth he would step gracefully across the patio as if he were the most famous dancer in the world. Instead he is placated by the sounds of South Pacific, and allow his leaves to sway in the breeze in unison to the notes floating through the air.

It wasn’t long ago that this music was new to him. He was half his size now, and there was a war going on around him. Life was so different then, so urgent and combustible. Those that met below his branches then were living for that moment alone, and had no time to think about the future.

A small tug on a branch, and the tree finds a man inspecting its thickness. If only the man knew the difficulty in maintaining his livelihood through the years. Like the old home that now had become his friend, he fought to live amongst the ever- changing world around him. There IMG_0154was always someone trying to cut him back, or redirect his roots so that they would not disturb the house or guests. But little did they know that his roots now held the pipes down of the old Admiral’s quarters, and his massive canopy was truly a blessing for guests on hot summer days when even the band struggled to sound upbeat.

The old tree didn’t mind the clinking of glasses from the bar below him, or the warming lights dangling precariously from his limbs. He didn’t mind lovers who leaned against his strong trunk, stealing kisses before returning to the dance floor either. For this is what he was meant to do, to record history as it was made beneath his branches. And so, on this glorious night below the stars, the old tree leaned into the gentle breeze and whispered thank you to those who could not hear him…those beneath the old tree.




Men Love Their Cars!

If you ask a man about a car, you’re sure to get a complete rundown on the vehicle whether you want it or not. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing…I’m just saying that men and cars are like peanut butter and jelly…they just go together.  I hadn’t really noticed this fact until after I was married, which is strange since I have four brothers. But the truth is, my husband owned a 67 Chevy Nova and it was his pride and joy. I did not understand the love he had for this car, for when I met him he was station on a ship in Hawaii and his car was still in California. Eventually we made it back together to California where I witnessed my then boyfriend’s obsession with his car. He babied it and kept it cleaner than most people keep their houses. He loved me enough to agree to let me drive it…but I think he was secretly thrilled when my feet did not touch the pedals. It had a column shift and I just didn’t understand how special that and the whole car  was to a guy in 1980. Sadly to say, for my husband, he sold the car in 1983 when we got married so that we could buy furniture for our tiny apartment in Sitka, Alaska.

Flash forward four years…we are still in Alaska and I decide to show my husband how much I love him. Doing something totally out of character for me, I went out and bought a 1977 white Corvette for my husband. When he arrived home from work, he was stunned that I bought him his dream car…well, the make not the year…but it was good enough. He was like a kid in a candy store. He spent hours cleaning and waxing that vette until you could see yourself in its paint. Actually it was a crazy car to buy in a town with fourteen miles of road…and even crazier with  ninety-five percent rain yearly. But we would crank up the heat and take the T-tops off and we were in heaven. Let me rephrase that…my husband was in heaven.  Imagine his joy when we moved to Hawaii and took the car with us. It was the perfect car for Hawaii and he loved every minute of driving it there.  Sadly to say again…he gave it up when our first born entered the world. There just wasn’t any place for a baby to sit and I did not want our baby to be a hood ornament.

My husband religated himself to driving a small Toyota pick up truck while the family car, a Pontiac Grand Am, served as his “sports car. He didn’t care that it wasn’t a classic or a real sports car, he treated it as if there was no car better on the road. Even his truck was handled with care. Imagine his horror when I let a golf club slip from my hands and it went crashing into on of the windows. I thought it was hilarious…he did not.

Image                                                       About this time my son was a toddler being introduced to Match Box cars and Hot Wheels. My son and husband would play for hours with those little cars, discussing what made each special and how to recognize them on the roads. I thought my husband was silly and wondered if my son would ever remember all that he was being taught.

Flash forward to my son’s middle school years…as a family we are traveling down to Florida from Virginia and my husband points out a Prowler up ahead. My son gets excited and begins giving my husband the stats on the car. How does he know this? I have no clue. I make the mistake of saying it is ugly and both men glare at me for what seemed like a year! As we made the journey down south I found out that my husband and son knew everything about every car we passed. Weird, I know. Do we own car magazines? No! Do we watch car shows? Well, not then. So that’s when I figured that men and cars must just go together. There must be a gene that is embedded in the male anatomy that, like a tiny micro chip, draws a man to a car. 

I’m sitting in a parking lot the other day and I notice a young man pull up in a corvette and I smile. I remember my husband and his car, and figure this man is probably loving life right now…especially since it is rare to see a young person driving one of these over-priced cars today. I wonder if he loves his car as much as my husband loved his, and as much as my son loves his current car, when I witness the man exit the car. This is not strange, you’re right. But as he shut the door he kissed his hand and placed it on his car and said good bye. He caught my eye and smiled…and I knew…he loved his car like peanutbutter loves jelly….like men love their cars….they always have and always will.