Luau at the Moloka`i Shores: 2
"What a blabber mouth," I said.
"Yo' fathah had a crush on Pearl," she said, "in the old days."
"What a momona," Ben said.
"Pearl was thin back then," Gramma replied.
We made our way through the lot. The cinders ended and the centipede grass began. Coconut saplings were spaced ten feet apart along a cement path. We followed the path to a three-story building with a sloping plantation roof. The northern wall was made of stone and a white seahorse logo was attached to the stonework above the resort's name. Ferns, gardenia, and purple bougainvillea sprouted in a garden outside the lobby.
Everyone headed to a stage built fifty feet from the imu. A man named Kaui hugged Gramma and dropped a white ginger lei around her neck. He thanked her for the Christmas ham and said he had to go help prepare "da kau kau."
"Let's find Chippah," Gramma told Ben and me.
A giant lauhala mat was spread out in front of the stage. Tables were set up on either side and most were already taken. A "Halawa Valley Boyz" banner billowed above the stage. Auntie Esther and two other transsexuals huddled under the banner. Esther wore red hot pants, a halter top, and red stilettos. She'd broken up with the Chief of Police after catching him with a woman. Esther tried seducing Dr. Lucky when he checked up on her constipated Chihuahua but he'd already proposed to the Japanese lady who baked coconut rolls at Kanemitsu's Bakery.
"Theah's Chip," Gramma said pointing to the mauka side of the stage.
Chipper was smoking at a table beside a coconut sapling. He wore sunglasses and a tan leisure suit. He was bald except for gray stubble fringing the sides. He spotted us and waved us over. I pulled out a chair for Gramma and she sat down. She took off her glasses, tucked them in their case, and slipped the case in her purse.
Three Hawaiian men tuned their slack key guitars and ukuleles on stage. They looked up from their tuning to joke with family and friends in the crowd. Chipper told Gramma he was the first to arrive and that he took a tour of the condos with some haoles from Honolulu. Gramma said she couldn't understand how people could live "packed together like rats."
Ben nudged me with his elbow. "Let's ditch these fuddy duddys," he said.
"We're going to the beach," I told Gramma.
Gramma squinted at me. "Don't be gettin' into mischief."
"We won't," I promised.
Ben and I hustled to the shore. Benches perched on the grass overlooked the channel. We reached a mud beach loaded with green limu and clumps of pickleweed. Tiny waves rolled in. The muddy water extended to the reef and the long gradual slope of Lanai was on the southern horizon. Ali'i Fishpond was to the east and a man threw net next to the fishpond wall. He was a hundred feet out and the water was to his knees.
"It's shallow," I told Ben.
He nodded. "Stay at Moloka'i Shores and you get a mud beach."
I knew he was thinking we were lucky to have Hale Kia. Our beach wasn't wide but the sand was golden and we usually had it to ourselves. Gramma had told us one day Hale Kia would belong to us.
"Guess who's here," Ben said.
"Now's your chance," I said.
Ben nodded. The stench of rotting limu drifted in with the trades.
"Pee-U," I said.
Ben wrinkled his nose. "We'd better get back."
We returned to the table just as Merv Machado took the stage wearing a Members Only jacket, pineapple pants, and black Beetle boots. A girl took turns kissing and draping orchid leis around the necks of Merv and the musicians. Merv grabbed the microphone. "A-lo-ha!" he said and welcomed everyone to Moloka'i Shores. He introduced the band members: Ford, Alvin, Kalena, and a boy named Israel who played soprano ukulele. Merv told us dinner would be served in an hour and said, "Let's pahty!" Everyone cheered. Merv pulled a small flute from his jacket pocket, put the flute to his nose, and played "Pearly Shells" through his left nostril.
"Wot next," Gramma said.
Merv finished his song and everyone clapped. He turned the stage over to the Halawa Valley Boyz and they played the lively "Ka'a Ahi Kahului." Dr. Lucky and his fiancee Keiko did a rumba on the lauhala mat. Mr. Mendoza escorted his wife up and Jesse Dudoit two-stepped with Kitty. Auntie Esther grabbed a blond man's hand and pulled him up. Ben watched someone on the makai side of the stage—Puanani was alone at a table. She wore a yellow muumuu and had a yellow hibiscus behind her ear. She still wore her shark tooth necklace. The song ended and Alvin said they were going to sing a medley starting with "I Kona."
|© Copyright 2006 Kirby Wright & Trout.
|This issue of Trout is sponsored in part by UNESCO.