Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The S.P.A.M Chronicles - Day 8

We searched for Malasadas for Fat Tuesday
Think Portuguese-Hawaiian deep-fried beignet
We saw a bevy of gnome
At a 93 year old's home
And it brightened a day that was windy & gray

Mardi Gras is late this year so we get to celebrate in Hawaii. In one of the many blended customs Portuguese immigrants made dough to use up lard & sugar which were usually forbidden during the season of Lent which starts on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow). This creates a problem for me since those are two of my favorite food groups (salt, chocolate, and pork products being significant others). Our goal was to visit Merlin & Mary's friend Elsie, a 93 year old German widow who is still going strong. We picked up lunch at the Snack Shack where orders were placed for 2 fish plates, shrimp teriyaki, and I was able to check off two food groups with fries and a corn dog. The paper listed locations where fresh Palisades were available so we looped around but found them already sold out.

We headed east and north to Kapaa about a 40 minute drive. To visualize where we are on the island, if our base of Poipu is at 6:00 for those who still remember analog clocks, our ventures to Waimea would be around 8:00. The NaPali cliffs are at 10:00. Lihue is at 4:00 and Kapaa is at 3:00. Elsie still lives in the home she first occupied in 1950 and we found her outside manicuring her yard. She has dozens of garden gnomes of all sizes and shapes interspersed with well-maintained planting including lemon, orange and pumelo trees and spends at least a couple of hours outside each day gardening. She treated us to a dessert of cherry pound cake and we sunned ourselves in the garden during a break in the clouds. Merlin harvested some plentiful low hanging fruit for fresh orange juice and we made plans to visit again at the end of the week and have her join us as we head further north toward Kiluea Lighthouse and Anini Beach.

Her zest for life wasn't just due to the lemons in her backyard. She said she was grateful everyday and eagerly looked forward to daily chores - she still drives and never misses her weekly church visit, but clearly it's the time out in her yard that energizes her. This got me to reflect on the message from a poem Loren sent yesterday that he received from a friend in 1961 just before the Lesher clan departed to Alaska. It was the opening line of William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" which Dianna & I were introduced to by Mrs. Stewart, our 11th grade Transcendentalist English teacher At 17 we didn't understand the meaning of a poem written mostly about death by a Romantic poet in 1811 but now in our mid-50s the tone of the poem is different. It seems to say fully embrace nature while you can since you and everyone else will eventually be part of it. Elsie's attitiude serves as a good reminder.

This was probably an odd tangent, but maybe it was inspired by all the birthdays in around this month like Rick & Leah today, Lika, Deborah & Nicole at the end of the month and Scott, Dan & Nathan earlier. I suppose this is an unusual birthday wish but in the spirit of "Carpe Diem", I hope you embrace every day... Here in Hawaii we don't need reminders....Aloha - Mike "While I Pondered"

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