Alani

17 08 2018

Peeling an orange on a warm summer day.

Do you remember when you first learned to peel an orange? I do. I was with my Aunty Lois, and we sat down together on the steps of her back porch. When we ate it, juice ran down my arm. Funny, the things I recall.





Finding Hakka roots in food

8 07 2018

Cousin Millie organized a table of 10 for last night’s Tsung Tsin Association dinner celebrating Hakka Chinese culture.

Most of the time I am unconscious of my ethnicity. When I have to identify in that way I say Hawaiian. That I am.

An occasion like the Hakka dinner reminds me of my maternal roots. 

At Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant six of us were first cousins; our mothers were sisters. Eileen, accompanied by her daughter Marty, and Kwong Yen, who came with his lady Molly, are our eldest cousins—age 91! Audrey Helen, Nathan, Millie’s husband Peter and my hubby Pete filled the rest of the seats.

Molly was surprised and thought the dinner at the Golden Palace Seafood Restaurant would be among us 10 only, not part of a big party in the banquet room! We enjoyed a pretty good Hakka menu, wine that Millie brought, raffle prizes, and party favors. As always, Millie and Audrey Helen gave out additional gifts. Christmas in July! 

A bag full of goodies—tea samples and fruit confections

A brave woman attempted to teach us a Hakka song. We tried! It was a lovely tune.

Hakka song lyrics and translation

Both the lion and the dragon made their appearance and were well fed. As the eldest, Eileen got to take home the table centerpiece—a money tree plant!

Eileen (lower left) watches Marty photograph Nathan feeding the dragon . . .

. . . and the lion

While “a good time was had by all,” I couldn’t help noticing that this year’s turnout was smaller than last year’s, and that there were hardly any younger people present. We need to pass this experience to our kids, if only to cook and eat our traditional foods.

What foods did your ancestors eat?

~ Rebekah





Revisiting ʻIolekaʻa for an anniversary

2 07 2018

Iconic view of ʻIolekaʻa

Yesterday, after 20 years, I walked back in to ʻIolekaʻa valley in Windward Oahu for the 20th anniversary of the celebration of life of my late friend Anita. She, her faithful dog Ei Nei, and the ʻāina (land) are memorialized in 13 landscape oil paintings I made in 1994. It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited by Anita to see her home, then and now.

A dozen friends and relatives began arriving at 9 a.m. calling “Ūi!” (Halloo) and answered by “Eō!” (Iʻm here). Long pants, long sleeves, boots, rain gear, hat, gloves, and defenses from mosquitos made up our garb. The plan was to hike through the bamboo forest to clean the heiau (stone platform) area and to rebuild the ahu (altar) with pōhaku, and then farther to the foot of the mountain, that is the water source for ʻIolekaʻa stream, where Anita’s ashes had been spread from a helicopter.

Cultivated anthuriums

Ginger and tree ferns by the stream, just steps from the house

Tracey and Donna blow the conch to acknowledge visitors

Cut anthuriums for Mom

Daughter Donna began with a prayer, and when she mentioned Anita’s name, a soft sweet wind breezed by, acknowledgement enough! Mahalo e Anita! Mahalo e ke Akua!

Oh, the memories. Not much has changed, except that I saw less kalo (taro) growing in the gardens. In fact, everything looks a little tidier. The current generation has recently returned to the land, acknowledging and accepting it is their kuleana to care for it.

Clearing the trail

Along the stream

Ancient Hawaiian rock terraces overgrown with bamboo

Every now and then a waterfall

Looking up

The ahu — before

Before photo. Waiting for the others.

The dog Ei Nei’s marker. R.I.P.

Corner wall of the heiau

Donna and Wally carefully rearrange the rocks for the ahu, flat side out.

More waterfalls

The ahu — after

Anita’s family and friends. pc: Didi Akana

After we pau hana we sat down to talk story and shared a bottle of wine and rolls with butter and jelly (Anita’s favorite snack). Sort of like holy communion, I thought! To me, the anniversary celebration for Anita fulfilled its purpose when the younger ones, her now-adult grandchildren, stepped up and announced it was their turn to continue the work.

We emerged from the forest at 3:30, muddy, damp and happy, and glad a pot of corn chowder and other goodies were waiting for our potluck “lunch.” By the time I walked out to modern civilization it was 5 p.m. What a full and wonderful day! Aloha e!

White ginger

 

Tahitian gardenia

~ Rebekah Luke

 





Ivalee turns 90

2 06 2018


Mom turned 90 on Friday, and her children and grandchildren came to Long Beach, Washington, a sentimental place of hers, to celebrate with her. I am honored she welcomes me as part of her clan. There were 14 of us. We came from Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and Iowa for “the big bash.”

We hung around one of two big houses we rented and took walks along this Northwest Coast, recalling family stories and enjoying the relaxing outdoors. We ate constantly, it seemed, with delicious food prepared by several cooks or at her favorite restaurant. Mostly we took the cue from Mom and did what she preferred. These are my images of Sinclair Family time.

Family starts to arrive. Karl, from left, Ruth, Ivalee, Margaret, Cynthia, and Jon

Grandson Brook arrives

Healthy fruit and veggie starters

Grill master Brian looks for the char on the corn

Eldest son David and the pile of yummy corn

Daughter Kathy and daughter-in-law Cherie

Cheese on your burger? How about a hot dog?

Margaret and Mom

Along with all the usual condiments for the burgers, Grandson Brandon prepares his specialty of roasted broccoli with garlic and olive oil.

Granddaughter Sarah

Only a token number of candles on the requested chocolate cake

Evening around a bon fire with Brandon, left, Ruth, Karl, and Ivalee

Happy Birthday, Mom!

 





The rain barrel

11 03 2018

Installing the rain barrel we won at yesterday’s silent auction, a benefit for the Mālama Honua Public Charter School, was a satisfying Sunday project.

The Papa Ekolu (3rd graders) had donated the barrel. We had talked about getting one “just because.” And there it was, completely decorated by the kids and with a parts kit with tools and do-it-yourself installation instructions. Score!

Pete tapped it into a gutter downspout right by the garden boxes.

Cheerful barrel with hardware kit

Hauling the barrel home

Bag of parts

Diverter connects from downspout to top of barrel. Rain water exits through the spigot at the bottom where we attach a garden hose. When the barrel is full, excess water flows past and comes out normally below.

Cautionary signage

I love it!

Pete admires his final installation

Mahalo nui to Mālama Honua Public Charter School!





Ready to receive

24 12 2017

Christmas Eve Day

Most of the presents are beside the small Christmas tree, although now as I survey the room I see that one of Santa’s elves still has some gift wrapping to do. I love the snowman.
This year we offered the studio early in December as the venue for a holiday party for some high school classmates. That was fun. Kaaawa is considered a “far” drive from anywhere else on Oahu. We started at 3 in the afternoon and folks could enjoy the scenery on the way to our place, as well as find their way in the daylight.

Mood set and home decorated, we mailed Hawaiian cards to friends and packages to family far away. Wreaths were a success again (see previous post).

My friend Kiana whose ministry is feeding houseless people (i.e., they don’t have kitchens or money for good food) planned a holiday meal for 200 and asked for help. Normally she does most of the food prep herself. I offered to bake some pies and managed eight of them. To donate those desserts was very satisfying to me. Can you understand?

Apple, pecan, pumpkin, and banana — photo by Lynette Cruz

Yesterday I baked a batch of “magic cookie bars” and divided it among our immediate neighbors. Later at a gathering Quinn, so cute, asked what they were because she didn’t get any; her brothers ate them all! I saved some that I’ll take to her today.

My hanai mom Ivalee, Pete and I enjoyed so very much the Windward Choral Society’s Christmas concert in Kailua this year. Choral Director Susan McCreary Duprey put together a fine program for her enthusiastic choir. What a lot of good energy.

I miss singing in a choir, small choirs, so my vocal coach suggested I join her church choir for Christmas Eve service. She needed a “reading alto.” Okay! That’s me, pick up singer. Tonight’s the night, 7 pm, in Kailua at Christ Church Uniting Disciples and Presbyterians.

Then, I will be ready to receive. A blessed, loving, and merry Christmas, everyone. ~ Rebekah 





Life along a river

25 11 2017

Our journey brings us to the Chesapeake Bay/Severn River/Herald Harbor neighborhood. A morning walk with Poe and his master Dave revealed weekend homes along the river for the affluent and streets named after trees. The crisp air and red-leafed maple trees are sure reminders that we are not in Hawaii. Take a look at these beautiful views.













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