Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Broken Hearted and Looking Back

I have been wanting to post but just have not been able to get the energy or heart to do so. 

As my readers may remember, I was on the island of Maui the second week of July. I spent an afternoon in the small tourist town of Lahaina touring with my husband. We were just walking around, visiting a local bar for lunch and a drink and walking around under the famous Banyan tree...the oldest in the U.S. 

We got a nice view of the tree from our lunch table as well.

After lunch, we spent time talking to a lovely local lady who was the greeter at a historic missionary property nearby (the Baldwin Home that had been preserved in the small tourist town). We talked about a lot of stuff with her as she was social. We learned how she had integrated herself (she might have been African American) into the Hawaiian culture when she married a Hawaiian and found that she was not expected to cook and that her husband did most of the cooking as did all the men in his family. 

Then we toured the small and well-preserved missionary house for some time. It was a four-bedroom single-level structure. It was small and much like you would expect and I wish I had taken photos. The home had been built in 1834 and the brochure said it was the oldest house still standing. "The home was deeded to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation in 1967 and was restored to its 1850 design based on careful documentation and archaeological research." 

I have no idea if the dear lady we talked to is still there and survived the fire but I am sure the missionary house is gone. 

I had not visited there for more than a few decades and as an interested history buff, I was able to really absorb Lahaina and its local atmosphere around me. I had lived in the Pacific and understood the missionary impact, the whaling impact, etc. The great whaling port went through ups and downs in an economy that affected so many small indigenous groups while the European white man overharvests and becomes rich. 

I remember a sweet and religious young lady that Ubered us down to Lahaina that afternoon and talked about the closeness of the Maui community. She was not Polynesian but one of those women who did multiple jobs to make ends meet. I do not know if she is still alive as well.

Hawaii does have an actual friendly and neighborly culture from the Polynesians and other Asians who live there. It is not some fake personality they put on for the tourists. Polynesians, Filipinos, and others live and work there and are very generous of heart and mind. We toured a very small and local animal farm on a hillside on the island with my baby granddaughter. I have no idea if it is still there because it was midway between Lahaina and where we stayed. The farm, open by appointment only, was mostly rescue animals and run by a lady whose love of animals clouded the realistic view of caring for so many different animals. "Ditzy" was the word my husband and son used for her, I was thinking she was a bit clouded by the love of animals. She had recently broken her ankle and was hobbling around. The day we toured the farm, she said that a small brush fire had started at the driveway down the hillside and the fire station had called her as a warning. It was put out by the time she arrived. 

This whole tragedy brought back memories of my life on a small farm in Colorado. My father had ten acres of farmland which he really no longer farmed except for some alfalfa for our milk cow and vegetables which my mother canned.  There were about 4 aces that were left untouched and which grew only grasses and weeds.  Because this acreage was on a downward hill and faced the railroad tracks, my father would mow it low every year because he was afraid some spark from the train would start a brush fire.  Colorado, like the Lahaina side of Maui, is very dry and sometimes windy and nurtures wild fires.