Pine Nuts: The Importance of Merriment Part Two
Lucretia Fudge was the Wailuku Librarian, and I ask you, what better name could a librarian possibly have? She was, as are all good librarians, rather stern. There was a drinking fountain on the deck outside the Wailuku Library back in the 70’s, and David Sakugawa and I stopped by there one day for a drink while out for a run. It was plenty hot that afternoon, so I started splashing water from the fountain onto my body, whereupon Lucretia Fudge stuck her head out the window and admonished, “Young man, this is not a public bath!”
David started laughing, sort of submerged at first, then less submerged, until he let go with one of his infectious Sakugawa belly laughs, a loud guffaw that would make a homeless person smile. David got me laughing, and finally, yes, even Lucretia Fudge had to laugh. It was just one of those merry Maui days.
Having lived in such havens as xaCape Cod, Carmel and Kauai, I’ve discovered that some folks are quicker to laugh than others, yet nobody hangs their laughter on a hair-trigger like the locals at the north end of Kauai. I lived and surfed there in the late 60’s and probably because I was the only Haole Boy up there at the time, the locals laughed at pretty much everything I said. Then there was Rose Harada, who ran Harada’s Store in Haena, who would not laugh or smile at stories that would make a cow laugh. Rose wore one expression all day long, the expression of a person trying unsuccessfully to solve a math problem in their head.
One afternoon I stopped in with a riddle I was confident would crack her iron frown and force her to break a smile…
“Rose, do you know what Mauna Kea said to Mauna Loa?”
“I’ll lava-lava you if you’ll lava-lava me.” I was met with a blank stare.
Well, I was reading Mark Twain’s Letters from the Sandwich Islands at the time, so I thought I’d try a little Twain on her…
Rose, listen to this, it’s from Mark Twain in 1866…
“These Hawaiians are particularly fond of dogs; not great magnificent Newfoundlands or graceful greyhounds, no, little, mean contemptible curs. They will pet and caress him ‘till he is a full-grown dog. Then they cook and eat him.”
Rose Harada smiled. She put her hand on my arm and said, “Macky Boy, you no pass by Harada’s Store anymore but you stop an’ say Aloha.”
You see, it can be done, even in these most divisive of days. All we need do is to unlock the Spirit of Aloha in the other 49 states and watch the iron expressions melt away from those who are trapped in the solemn countenance of a grave digger. Quote a little Twain, and if they don’t smile, well then, I’ll buy you the adult beverage of your choice.
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