Thursday, January 4, 2018

One Paddle, Two Paddle, Three Paddle, for to take me home...

There’s nothing like a visit to one’s childhood home to evoke a zillion memories. Hawaii is that place for me. I spent only two years there as a child back when Hawaii was a Territory rather than a State, ages six to eight, but it was the first place in our vagabond Navy life that really felt like home. Later, I spent six years there as a young adult. It is still, almost fifty years later, my heart’s home.

Imagine the delight of a six year old child who moves by car, Pullman train, and steamship from Washington, DC to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Greeted with flower leis. No more closed shoes. Warm rain in which to paddle. No more jackets. Open air classrooms. The swimming pool not two blocks away. No restrictions on where I could go in our little neighborhood, protected as it was by snappy Marine guards. So many kinds of freedom!

And the new flavors!  In those days, pineapples came right out of the fields, deftly peeled and sectioned with the same wickedly sharp machetes that lopped them off the plant, and dripping so much sweet juice that I have never again tasted such good ones.

Teriyaki sticks were made of thinly sliced ribbons of beef, slalomed onto bamboo skewers, marinated in a salty, tangy shoyu/ginger sauce that was looser and less sweet than today’s, then grilled on an hibachi. I need to experiment to reproduce that flavor!

Li Hing Mui dried fruits puckered our lips while sending sweet messages to the brain, a compelling whipsaw for the tastebuds. My sister Nancy loved Li Hing flavors, although she claims not to remember them now.

A beach day out at Makaha meant a long drive in our Oldsmobile, a picnic lunch packed meticulously by our mother, a soak in the sun for my already brown body, a swim in water of uncountable shades of blue and green, and the long, sleepy ride home. Sandy, salty and hungry as we always were, the usual stop at Tastee Freez for a cone was enough to have us all asleep in the back seat of our two-tone gray Olds sedan. I imagine that was blessed relief for the parents up front.

These and many more memories flood me when I visit these Islands, especially Oahu. Today, I visited my parents’ grave in Punchbowl, remembering all the years we were lucky enough to have them around. Dad has been gone almost twenty years and Mom nearly thirty. Tomorrow, we fly back to California where we live now, leaving behind this magical place that still means freedom and “ohana” (family) to me.

One of our last nights, we had dinner in Honolulu's Chinatown where there was a live Hawaiian singer, complete with guitar and muumuu. She had a clear, vigorous voice, and was asking for requests. I asked for an old favorite, Kui Lee's "One Paddle, Two Paddle" and she had me in tears with her sweet, sad version.

"One Paddle, Two Paddle" by Kui Lee.
One paddle, two paddle, three paddle, for to take me home. Fourteen on the right, fourteen on the left. Take me to Hawaii nei. 
I went away a long time, such a long time, a long time ago. Seen enough cities to last a lifetime, goin' away no more.
One paddle, two paddle, three paddle for to take me home. Fourteen on the right, fourteen on the left. Take me to Hawaii nei. 
I want to smell the flowers, sweet sweet flowers.
Where the trade winds blow. Seen enough fences to last a lifetime, goin' away no more.
One paddle, two paddle, three paddle for to take me home. Fourteen on the right, fourteen on the left. Take me to Hawaii nei.


Blogger Whiting Hyland said...

Thanks for making Christmas so special this year Pam and Buzz! Aloha tip next time!

Thursday, January 04, 2018  
Anonymous Meredith said...


Thursday, January 04, 2018  
Anonymous Janie said...

Lovely, sweet post.

Thursday, January 04, 2018  
Blogger Diane said...

Beautiful post of memories. And I have enjoyed the photos of your time. Happy new year Pam!!

Friday, January 05, 2018  
Blogger nancy namaste said...

What a beautiful post - so wonderful to read about your memories. How blessed you are to have such lovely ones.

Thursday, January 11, 2018  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Whiting, it was our pleasure!

Meredith, aloha!

Janie, thanks. Always a pleasure to write about Hawaii.

Diane, thank you, and thanks about the photos, too. Happy New Year to you and E.

Nancy, yes, I am lucky and don't I know it!

Sunday, January 14, 2018  

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