10.01.2009 - 11.01.2009 26 °C
When my friend Jan, who now has resided on Maui for over 25 years and works in the tourism industry in Lahaina , is asked by the tourists where one can find the native Hawaiians, her answer is drug court and the rodeo. Jan’s daughter Thea is our god daughter and together with Thea I attended the monthly rodeo competion last Saturday in Makawao to see her son Kalewa compete. Mind you, this was my very first rodeo ever even after having lived in Arkansas for 30 years and I was not prepared for the encounter. I was the only tourist out in the up-country rodeo arena and easily identified by not wearing wrangler jeans, checkered , pearl button longsleeved shirts and a cowboy hat. The morning competion involved the age group K-2nd grade and I was surprised at their competence on big horses. Rodeo is a family affair on Maui, a passion handed down through generations and whole families, from great-grandparents to aunties and uncles are there, encouraging and cheering on these little tikes who are galloping and racing around barrels on horses who tower over my six feet. I have no idea how they stayed on since their short legs did not reach the stirrups. Each event displayed a skill. For the very young Kindergarteners the goat roping meant racing in the arena, jumping off the large horse and running to a goat who, while tied to a rope staked in the sand still moves pretty frantically, and pull a red ribbon of the end of the goat’s tail. Reversed pin the tail on the donkey? The task intensefied a bit for the older first and second graders who had to knock the goat down and tie up its legs. I was somewhat astounded by the cruelty , even more when the next event involved young calves being wrestled down by two little cowboys/girls. This event was called double muggers, since it involved team work. Leave it to me to hear the announcement “ All mothers report in the arena” and wonder out loud why Kalewa’s mother Thea does not enter. She clarifies what was said and I see first hand what muggers do.
Years ago I learned that one should not ever make an Elvis joke at Graceland. The same holds for bemoaning out loud at a Makawao rodeo the sad life of the goats and calves whose daily task involves being wrestled down by pint size cowboys and trussed like turkeys. I wonder if life would be simpler for the calves if they just fall down, roll over and hold up their hooves when the little cowboys come galloping down the field. My goddaughter Thea hushed me to silence while nervously looking around to make sure no one had heard Kalewa’s tourist friend mention the sad lives of the island’s goats and calves. I was told that the calves are called rubbernecks, that they survive it just fine, it is their lot in life and that rodeo is all about the horses and cowboys. In between events I watched a young Hawaiian man teach the children the art of roping on a dummy, a wire calf with horns and hooves. What impressed me was the diligence and patience he portrayed and the lessons taught, well beyond the act of roping. I witnessed the teachings of perseverance, diligence, patience, respect and tradition.
We are all called to teach our children well. The art of living is handed down from generation to generation and here it was through sharing a Saturday morning rodeo. Not much different really from soccer or baseball tournaments, or an all day swim or gymnastics-meet. We spent time with our children through sharing acivities we already have a passion for.
Lunch at the rodeo involved Cowboy Church . Munching on Spam musubi ( rice and yes Spam rolled in seaweed) while listening to a wonderful, prayerful glorifying of the day's togetherness and holding safe the little competitors. I added a quiet, small prayer for the safety and well being of the young goats and calves who were also taking a well-deserved break.
Tom and I enjoy spending time away from the tourist area and are integrating more with the natural Hawaiian life. That includes shopping for groceries and preparing our meals. Prices are high on the island especially staples needed for every day living. In a Kahului Safeway store I bought Philidelphia cream cheese on sale(?) for $3.50 and paid $9.99 for a box of Velveeta cheese and almost 3 bucks for a can of Rotel-tomatoes, all needed to make a pan of chicken/cheese enchiladas. I have been told before that the prices are high due to the fact that everything has to be shipped here. How can that logic stand though when I see a $9.00 price tag on a pine apple which may have been picked of the field next door? Or how does one explain then paying $4.99 for a bottle of Australian Yellow Tail Chardonnay at the local Wal-Mart, at least 50% less than the mainland price. Is danger not created when one pays considerably more for a gallon of milk than a six pack of Heineken? While the gasoline we purchased to fill up our car yesterday at the price of $2.47 a gallon is quite down from the almost $5.00 we paid here last year, it is still a lot more than the $1.27 we paid for a gallon of gas last month in Conway, Arkansas. Overall I find the local Hawaiians nicer , friendlier, they smile more. I attribute this to the excitement and promise of hope their native, favorite son Barrack Obama has generated. All over the island one can find shirts proclaiming their rightful pride in a native Honolulu man. “ Obama surfs!” “ Obama is Hawaiian”. He is a Honolulu kid and the Hawaiians are proud of his growth. We are thrilled to be present here on the island when Barrack Obama is inaugurated as the next president of the United States. I plan to forego my regular fish-tacos when eating next Tuesday at the Fish- market in Paia and instead feast on the latest addition to their menu, the Obama burger, made with Ono fish and spiced up with wasabi. We are enjoying our time greatly, daily learning that the plans we made will go awry due to elements beyond our control and letting the day unfold.
Pictures were posted to our site and we hope all can access these. Tom and Els