Sarah and Trump and Chattel

February 3, 2016 - One Response

Chattel. What a word. it does not roll trippingly off the tongue. There’s a darkness about it. It means possession of something. Cars, cattle, women…

Today is a wonderful time for Western women. I wouldn’t care to be a Muslim woman in a long black veil–in which she can vote with a green thumb–if she can see through the slits. Sharia law?  Her hair must be covered and you shouldn’t see her feet. Allah commands. What’s the guy got against feet and hair?

In America women are speaking out. Seems to me they’re more concerned about the future–the children, the environment, the health of the planet–than men.

Women on Kauai are vocal in complaining about GMO’s, air-born toxins, over-crowded, wrongly sited milk factories, more cars, more highways, more suburban sprawl, tourist, global warming, CO2.

I love articulate, intelligent, out-spoken women. I love their involvement in the goings-on. “The world crisis came about without women having anything to do with it. If the women of the world had not been excluded from affairs, things today might have been different.” That’s Alice Paul before the passage of the 18th Amendment. I suggest you find the film, Iron Jawed Angels. Watch it. Share it. We owe so much to this courageous young woman. We need more like her. If you must identify with a female figure, identify with Alice.

Today, of course, women often play an important role in politics and law. Think of Sarah Palin. An example of female evangelism gone sick.  Tried her hand in politics. Darling of the religious right. Well, she’s baaacckk. Slithered in with Trump. What a pair. Hope you watched her exorcism on youtube. Bishop Thomas Muthee, Word of Faith Churches in Kenya. It’s an insult to human intelligence.

Which brings us back to chattel

Biblical quotes work here. Ecclesiasticus 15:18, 19 & 33. “And a man will choose–any wickedness but the wickedness of a woman…Sin began with a woman and thanks to her we all must die.”

The history of women as chattel is woven into many legal codes and cultures. In the Old and the New Testament as well as the Quran. Women are property. There’s a world-wide dominion over women. In fundamental patriarchal religious societies, that live by the word, women are valued as objects. A husband owns his wife…

…so she better shut up and do as told.

A quote from Augustine Aquinas is enlightening. In Summa Theologica he wrote, “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex, while the production of a woman comes from the defect in the active power…”

Augustine is a Catholic Saint so I assume he resides in a Catholic heaven. As a devout non believer, who does not believe in heaven or hell, I pen a brief note.

“Dear Auggie, to spend all eternity with you would be hell.”

What do you think?

 

 

 

Deniers, liars, and believers

February 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

Another rant?  Rants are never out of style. And a rant about my favorite subject is a cure- all for insipidity and distraction. Today, it seems, the world is overwhelmed with sweetness and goodness and light. Think cuteseewootsey thoughts, never waver, and all your dreams and hopes will bear  ruby-red strawberries ripe  for picking…

…and the moon is made of green cheese.

To bury your head like an ostrich in the sand will not  solve the problems humankind, and planet  earth, faces.

Join me, flatten  your ears in your brachia and dive headfirst into the frey.

I think I can build a case-and  win it–that deniers, liars, ands believers are a brew  of insane and stupid broth for empty heads and aching bellies.

I’m quite sure many of you will agree to teach a toddler that Mohammad rose up to heaven on a white-winged horse–Al-Baraq–is true, is an insult to a child’s intelligence and great wrong- doing by a loving and caring parent. But it comes in handy as we shall see.To teach a child to believe lies is a marvelous tool of control. Governments use it all the time. If one is taught to believe nonsense, it’s easy to lie and expect him to believe anything he’s told by an authoritative figure is true.The President. The Pope. A dictator. Or pastor, or  priest, or rabbi, or minister, or Insoc Party Slogan of love.  Love is hate, doncha know?

Truth.  A belief is something that is not true. If it were true, it would not be a belief, it would be a fact.

In science one has a theory. Other scientists often attempt  to prove or disprove it. Make a liar out of a man of reason’s theory–a true scientist– and he will drop his false theory like a chunk of red hot charcoal.

This is not true of true believers. Fact is, the more insane the belief you believe, the better believer you are.

Once Zeus came down to earth in the form of a swan, had sex with Leda, who bore him two kids. Helen and Clyemnestra.

The last god who came down to earth–2000 years ago–  had sex with a virgin who bore him a son. Gods don’t do this so much anymore.

Occasionally one  hears that this god has no sex, but doesn’t that conflict with the story? He’s a father. The great father.  And  fathers are usually male. It’s so confusing. How does one  keep the facts straight?

Easy, deny they exist. Fly over the top of the fact  and believe as a true believer believes.

Denies, lies, and beliefs are one extraordinarily dysfunctional family. Linked together  with a chain as strong as the strongest. As weighty as heaviest. As silly–with an evil bent– as any nasty creature in a Grimm’s fairy tale.

This god has rules. Break’em and spend all eternity in the fires of hall he created. I find this an insult to my intelligence. How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TURK’S CAP

January 11, 2016 - One Response

Two roads lead to the national Tropical Botanical Garden’s main office, one of them is mine. At the top of the hill, from the office to the library, to the visitor’s center, is a view of a magnificent valley that descends to Lawai Bay.

Once upon a time, Queen Emma lived there and rode her horse there. Years ago, I used to sneak in on my leopard, Beauregard. I always got caught, but I seldom got scolded. John called me a ‘siren’–I think he meant the noisy kind.–and I responded, “John, if you walked about four  miles up hill and I walked about ten thousand feet up hill, we could fight over the back fence.”

I loved the old guy.

Anyway, along my brief stretch of land in a valley on the other side of the hill, old Hawaii, wild, natural, surrounded by cows and sheep and goats and horses, and gorgeous feral chickens, and birds that sing me to sleep and crow me awake, rain or shine,  grew a wondrous natural beauty, a Turk’s Cap. Malvaviscus penduliflorus.

So beautiful, people in cars, on foot, on bikes,  on horses–still–would stop blissfully  enthralled with wonder. Pictures were snapped. Some sent back, and I do want to thank those that sent them. Respectful requests for cuttings were cheerfully responded to.

Did you know the entire plant was edible? Herbal tea could be made and grocked  to  fullness. Snip off the green tip and suck a delicious  syrupy sweetness that put the delicious syrupy sweetness of the honeysuckle to shame.

A grim crew, an army of death and destruction, in county trucks armed with  many powerful expensive new weapons of life- denying machines, mowed it down. Butchered it. It wasn’t pruned, it wasn’t cut back, it was  hacked to death. It cost me one day, one worker, two, maybe three, handheld and powered tools, to prune it properly. All that remains are naked brown stems, reaching upward, hungering for their large green leaves, their brilliant red flowers, Turk’s Caps, sleeping hibiscus, Cardinal’s Hats, that bloomed throughout the year offering a vivid  eyeful of playful bobbing  jewels displayed against  a hedge, a tall, rich green- leafed backdrop, a curtain of life that never need open to an artificial set. An entire enactment of life. It loved to grow. it loved to please. It did no harm.

I plan to live to witness it’s return. Hope you do, too.

The war we have going on here–on Kauai, in the world–exists of  war trumpets instead of song birds. Ugly, noisy, stinking machines–the epitome of power and ugliness and sacrilege– consuming all in its wretched outreach.

Today, on my road, we stand  witness to a love for concrete, cars, credit cards and childish hi-tech toys. What, for goodness sake, is an iPad? I’ve managed, for 85 years, to have lived with out one.

My hope?  You’ll learn to live without one, too.

In 2016, drink a toast to life and living things.

 

THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY

January 1, 2016 - Leave a Response

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love animals. They’ve played an important role in my life. Right from the gitgo. Cats and dogs and horses, exotic  birds and cougars,  pygmy bears and feisty lamas– who played monumental parts in my humorous book THE SCAM–and a precious  little Capuchin monkey, named Tonga, who lived in a  fancy red circus wagon, on wheels, in my mother’s kitchen.

This was not a caged lab animal.  Tonga  was a skinny, long-tailed  Elizabeth Taylor,  who was born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey.  Tonga was the star of the show. At least in my father’s petting zoo.

While  crunching buttered  popcorn and smacking her lips–they’re omnivores–she loved to watch television  I Love Lucy was her favorite. She’d lie on her tummy in her bed, tucked in with her favorite security blanket,  her chin resting in her hands , never taking her eyes off the screen.

Meticulously clean. She had a soft wash clothe and a mini tub filled with warm water–my mother kept it scented and she loved the  whiff of Shalimar my mother shared –and her little face often got a good scrubbing. Her hands, too. She had a cute sense of humor, but she could be a disaster on wheels when she chose. When angered, she’d bite.

I think of her fondly. And often.  Especially now–2016–for this is the Chinese Year of the Monkey. The Fire Monkey yet.  All you guys born in the Year of the Monkey take heed. And heart. You, like Tonga, are lively, versatile, witty and practical. Highly intelligent and talented. Active. You enjoy sports and sports are in. You like being the center of attention–narcissistic up the lagoon–nothing wrong with that. Tonga had a hand mirror into which she loved to gaze. Lovingly.

You’re mischievous.  Masters of the practical joke. Healthy. Creative and intelligent. Persuasive and well-organized.

The Fire part is a goody. Last time the monkey was in  the Fire sign was  in 1956, 60 years ago. The Fire Monkey is aggressive. Domineering. You  crave leadership. The leadership role is your bag. ‘Course you can be overbearing. I mean, you’re headed for the top and nobody better get in your way. What saves you are your people skills and you do love to nurture.

You also jump in where angels fear to tread   Be careful. You’re flamboyant and charming and friendly and have a large social circle and get along best with people born in the year of the Rat and the Dragon.

So it’s said.

As an atheist, I  love the creative, imaginative, make-believe side of human nature. I think it’s one of our most endearing traits. Along with animals, I grew up with the best writers of fantasy. Rudyard Kipling’s  Jungle Book was one of my favorites. A world without Mowgli and the Bandor-log would be dull.

Kids should be taught to love fantasy, but seek truth. Know the difference.Where to look for truth? In Science of, course.

 

 

 

Dawkin’s Foundation

December 23, 2015 - Leave a Response

Hi ,
In the United States a ridiculously large percentage of people don’t believe in evolution (more than 4 in 10 adults). We have an interesting study that shows the “evolution” of strategies employed by those opposed to the teaching of evolution and other scientific truths. When the courts stand with settled science — as they routinely do — creationists adapt new ways to keep American students scientifically illiterate.
America’s Religious Right isn’t just trying to misrepresent science in the name of pushing Christianity. NPR explains how it tries to marginalize secularists and our unbending support for church-state separation by arguing that we are simply followers of a competing religion trying to foist our beliefs on others. Sigh.
Foreign Affairs magazine takes a long look at legal and political efforts to return Turkey to its modern secular roots and halt the practice of compulsory religious education of many of the country’s children.
Captive parrots in a United Kingdom wildlife park have startled and intrigued researchers by using pebbles to grind at seashells. Read the leading theory on what they are up to.
Finally, don’t miss our video of the week, a special Openly Secular tale told by a former nun, our Question of the Week asks you for your secular New Year’s resolution, and Richard’s Paragraph of the Week asks for your scientific knowledge, intelligence and wit.
Robyn Blumner
President & CEO
Richard Dawkins Foundation

Evolution Helps Track Pernicious Legislation

A researcher used the principles of evolution and his training in scientific sleuthing to trace the origin and spread of destructive legislation seeking to make it easier to question the validity of evolution, climate change and other principles of science.
Is Secularism a Religion?

As part of their continuing campaign to portray themselves as under attack for their beliefs, conservative Christians are using the argument that those trying to enforce the principle of separation of church and state are followers of a competing religion trying to stomp on their rights. NPR took a long look at this spreading bit of propaganda.
Openly Secular Video of the Week: Mary Johnson

As a nun, Mary Johnson had a long career that included serving beside Mother Theresa. However, she eventually realized that her life wasn’t based on fact or reason. Don’t miss her story of becoming Openly Secular.

News
Fighting Back Against Turkey’s Religious Public Schools

There’s a growing movement in Turkey to force the end of the practice of sending students who don’t make it into high-level schools to ones that put a heavy stress on Islamic education — even Jewish students. European Union courts and Turkey’s own high court have ruled that the practice is violating the rights of Turkish children. But the president is vowing not to stop it.

Science
Parrots Use Tool to Improve Nutrition?

A researcher observing captive greater vasa parrots at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park in the United Kingdom noticed the males doing something odd: They would rub pebbles against seashells. Clearly they were using a tool to grind the shells, but to what end? The leading theory is the birds need the added calcium to strengthen their eggshells. But then why the males?
Question of the Week — Special Holiday Edition

New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition. This year, Openly Secular wants to hear about your secular New Year’s resolutions! What will you do to make the world a better place from a secular perspective? Our favorite answer will win a copy of Richard Dawkins’ “An Appetite for Wonder.” The best answers also will be featured on Openly Secular’s website and over social media.

Last week we asked: When, if ever, is heckling a legitimate form of free speech? Are there speakers who are too inflammatory or controversial to speak at universities? Where do you draw the line?

The Winner is Phil.
Runners-up: Miriam, Dan.
Debate Richard’s Paragraph of the Week

Welcome to our new feature, Richard’s Paragraph! This is a chance to read, consider and discuss an idea that Richard has plucked straight from one of his books or from the book of a colleague, to spur exploration and debate. This week ‘s paragraph is from the second edition of “The Selfish Gene.”

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The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science · 1012 14th St NW, Washington, DC, United States · Suite 209 · Washington, DC 20005 · USA

Dogs and Gods and Coexistance

December 9, 2015 - Leave a Response

I have a darling friend who has a darling car that sports a darling bumper sticker DOG IS MY COPILOT.

It makes so much sense. I mean you befriend and feed and house a puppy, who will grow up to be a  dog–loving and faithful– to help you safely navigate your way through modern-day life’s singular peculiarities.  ‘Specially if you’re driving a 2015 Toyota Prius Hatchback on Kauai.

Grown up and seated beside you in the bucket front seat,  with eyes searching the road as you travel, she’s happily  checking out the scene . It’s getting dark. The sun sets early.  You’re stuck in traffic. It’s a four  lane strip and a guy, in a  goofy big-wheeled rig that looks like its slumped through too many muddy cane fields to harvest too much illegal ganja, gives you the eye. The guy has  dingy greasy-blonde  hair.   He’s as fat and sloppy as his Kauai muddy  red-bottomed pick-up  and  snorting a joint and slurping a beer. Takes talent. Both hands are busy. Guess he’s steering with his knees. He likes your looks. He likes your car.  He doesn’t like your copilot who sticks her  shaggy wolf gray  head  out the window–which you’ve power rolled down allowing Verdi’s  Triumphal March from Aida  from your CD player to drown his heavy, harsh,  and savage  Home is Where the Hatred Is–and bares teeth that look long and sharp enough to do in at least one of those ridiculous over-size tires with the first bite. She has better taste then to bite this bugger in the butt.

You pull ahead.  He falls behind.  You wave and roll up your power window.

The point is: if God were seated in the bucket seat your buddy in the dirty rig couldn’t see Him–why is He always a He– I seriously doubt your most fervent prayers would save the day. Or the night. Or you or your Prius or even Verdi.

Don’t you just love The Triumphal March?

The domestic dog has the distinction of being the only known animal to be domesticated by humans prior to the advent of agriculture.  Dogs are not only man’s best friend,  but also his oldest one. Though the precise origin of dogs was a mystery in Darwin’s day, Darwin drew on them as an example of artificial selection that would be familiar to his readers, since the practice of shaping breeds over time was familiar to his audience.

Every dog today–mastiff or mini, pointy nosed or baby- faced, long-haired or short, floppy ears or perked, is related to the wolf and new breeds are still cropping up. Don’t you just love it? The mini-husky is the latest new breed of artificially selected dog worked up by an Alaskan native from 1970-1988 before it became a breed of its own. It has been considered an official breed by the UKC since 1997.

Everybody needs this kind of coexistence. ‘Specially if you drive a Prius on Kauai.

May dog be with you in 2016.

 

The Winter Solstice

November 30, 2015 - Leave a Response

The winter solstice is an astrological  event visible in the Northern hemisphere in December.  It’s the shortest day of the year. It’s been noted  in the sky and celebrated by our ancestors for thousands of  years. A long long time ago the night sky was a wondrous, mysterious celestial map, studied and wondered and worried and talked about.

Today, sadly, with so many lights on earth, so many cities lit up like a jillion, multi-colored  jittery light bulbs, there are people in those cities who’ve never seen the stars. I think those ancients–certainly the great Hawaiian navigators– would think them ignorant,  I’ll bet they’d love the Observatories on Mauna Kea.  I’ll bet they’d embrace astronomy. There’s much to be learned from the past, but billions and billions more  to be learned from the present.

Remember, in the past, most men  feared  darkness–fear came  in as handy yesterday as it comes in handy today–and ancient wise men knew, because they’d measured this event for centuries, that the days would grow longer as the sun seemingly changed its direction. In three days the dark–the night sky–  would begin growing shorter.

Today we’ve advanced our scientific knowledge of what goes on–in our solar system as well as the cosmos–so vastly we make them look ignorant.  Today we are all,  potentially, brilliant human beings. A ll of us wise men capable of taking  a voyage of discovery as far back into the past and forward into the future as our curiosity sends us. Do you know,  with your fingers on the keyboard of a computer, you have more access to knowledge than Cleopatra had stored in  the Library in Alexandria?   Wowwowwow. I hope  parents and teachers share these exciting times  with the kids. Telescopes are wonderful Christmas presents.

We’re so lucky on Kauai, there are many places where the night sky is visible in all its splendor.  So take your kid to one of these places  on December  21st’ .   Step outside. For three nights  you’ll experience  the longest nights of the year. For three days, the Sun which had been traveling south, descends until it reaches a point where it stops–solstice actually mean ‘sun standing still’– and  on Kauai this event  begins on December 21st at 6:49PM.

Of course we now know the Sun doesn’t stand still.  Neither is it colder or hotter because of our distance from the sun. The tilt–and wobble– of the Earth’s axis in our hemisphere, the Northern Hemisphere, is leaning furthest away from the sun,  so the Sun is low in the sky and the rays strike the Earth at a shallow angle.  These rays are longer and therefore colder.   The entire planet has seasons because of the tilt and wobble, and we in Hawaii will begin the journey back to spring and  summer.  Spring and summer on Kauai is No Ka Oi. Sorry Maui.

Whatever you call it–Christmas, Yule, Chanukah, Saturnalia or Chaomos–enjoy.

Have a super solstice.

LET’S TALK TURKEY

November 23, 2015 - One Response

Hi, my name’s Arabella. I’m six years old and very beautiful. My two legs are long and slender, my eyes are bright, I can purr like a cat. And I have the sweetest disposition in the world.  So I’m told.

It’s easy to have a sweet disposition if you live in a loving family. Which I do. So many of us. So different. As different as the night sky from the day sky, the highest mountain from the deepest sea. We share. We care. We enjoy each other’s company. We talk a lot, each in a different way, but we’ve learned to understand each other.

Sometimes, when it’s raining, we sit hunched in a bunch and watch water–drops of water big and small, fast and slow–drip and drizzle and  fall from the sky like it was never going to end. Occasionally a flash of brilliance bursts with a startle and the sound that follows curves the air.  Overhead a cloudy wet  gray blanket smothers us tight,  and we think what it would be like if we never saw blue again. Dreary, I think, but I think most of us could adapt. We’ve been at it for a long long time. Adapting. Learning to live with the elements. Evolving from this to that. Changing.

We are the stuff stars are made of. You, too.

Eventually the sun  comes out. Warm and welcome.  Long legged trees grow longer taller. Green and gold and purple mountains in the distance  grow high before our eyes. And clouds. All that blankety blank gray stuff has morphed into delightfully soft puffy and fluffy stuff that soars and sways and wanders away. Disappears sometimes. Sky high. Free. I think it likes it up there. And the earth around us smells so fresh and clean we soak it in like the fragrance of  flowers blooming.  It’s just had a bath. It’s happy.  Birds sing and call to each other. And it never ends. Until the next rains come. Which they always do.

Just like you, me and my family love to eat. We all love cookies. Sometimes they come in a box, sometimes they emerge from an oven in a pan. Everyone’s happy when his belly is full.

The oldest member  of our family is a human. Just like you. He’s tall. Not too tall. Slender. Long legged. Beautiful, just like me. He talks to us a lot, that’s how we learn so much. We understand every word he say, sometimes we pay no heed, but he doesn’t understand us. So strange. I think he thinks we can’t think. Sad, kind’a. But I’ll bet he knows we love him. Love is beyond words.

We’ve all been around much longer than he. I’m a turkey and my roots go back 65 million years. I’m  a saurischian dinosaur, like Apatosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Velociraptor. He’s only been around for 200,000 years. We’ve learned so much. We wish he had, too. I’ll be here next year. Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Greening of Lihue

November 17, 2015 - Leave a Response

Don’t you sometimes feel sorry for politicians?

I know they’re not our favorite servants, public or otherwise. I’ve known bedmakers who would serve their office better. Certainly we all know they should have a  better grasp managing money. If we managed our budget  as they manage theirs, we’d all be broke. Sadly, many  are, but I don’t think they should blame  politicians for that. I know who–or what–they should blame but I don’t want to start a fight.

Think about this? No matter what our politicians do, seems like  half the people in the country, in the state, in the county, disapprove. Bad.  Can we assume  fifty percent  approve? Good.

We rarely hear from they who approve, but we hear a constant stream of invective from those who disapprove. Some people like bike paths. Some people don’t. Some people want super ferries. Some people don’t. Most people don’t want higher taxes but everybody wants more, better, and faster public services. Fancy new high-tech garbage trucks? Oh boy! Where to dump the stuff? Not in my backyard? That’s  a 100% downer.

Everyone complains about the roads. Repair mine. Don’t repair his. Then we complain about the inconvenience we experience when the roads are under repair. Lihue is a maze most of us rats get lost in. Noise. Detours. Traffic jam ups and, quite often, a wrong turn–arrows, flag offs–sends us skittering off a hundred and eighty degrees south of that place we wanted to reach.

A restaurant? The Mall? A public potty?  A parking spot within walking distance of it? (That’s any place less than ten steps from  the spot on which we wanted to land.)

Some  answers: bring a book. You can read it in  stopped up traffic jams. A sandwich. Munch. Munch. A bottle of water. Slurp. Slurp. A road map.  Note paper and a pen. Write a letter to TGI about stupid politicians who do  stupid things and inconvenience the hell out of us. Complain. Stomp your feet. Cross your arms. Scowl. Got cell phone? Yell at the innocent in a government office who answers the phone.

So what’s this got to do with greening?

Well, I love  the green roundabouts. I love all the greened up strips beside the road. I love to see work men planting something. Watering something. ‘Course all this green stuff costs green stuff. Some guys want to spend it. Some guys don’t.

I got a’idea. Plant citrus. Local oranges are delicious–and the scent of orange blossoms!! –everybody loves good smells. Beats carbon dioxide.   Picking them when ripe would create government jobs and income. Buy homegrown food–good food, healthy food–from government road side stands.

Maybe we could plant some long green stuff. Sugar cane. Tall grass. So gorgeous. So generously, sweetly,  cleansing the air we breath. Such a marvelous living historical reminder of the wonderful island we once were. Don’t recommend burning.  Machete it–more jobs– let it grow back all by itself.

Thank you Mayor Carvalho.

 

THE PROVINCES

November 7, 2015 - Leave a Response

I’m the lady from the provinces. In truth,  I’m  an expatriate at heart.  At 36 I’d spent as much time out of the country as I had  in the country and Kauai was about as far out as you could get without a Passport.

It was a feudal state. Sugar was King. Sugar, that historically  infamous dollar crop, held  sway.  Those glorious fields, that glorious crop, that  long green, dancing- in- the- wind grass that worked  two long years keeping our air the freshest,  the healthiest in the world. (Maybe that’s why so many of us who lived  those years ripened so well. and don’t forget it gave us sugar, molasses, and rum.) It’s beautiful yellow tasseles stopped traffic as did  their spectacular death in red/gold flames  in the quiet winds of early morning. An occasional plume of gray throat- itching smoke belched by, but we  forgave it.

There were hundreds  of miles of bridle paths,  maintained just for me and my entourage–one horse, two ponies running  free– and so many dogs I’ve lost count. We often  encountered a cane truck or a helicopter and our jaunts always crossed with  the field hands who greeted us with soft  smiles and friendly  greetings, “Good morning, Mrs. Bill Dux,” they’d call and  I’d smile  back. They were as much a part of this enchanting landscape as the cane itself. The cane mules, during planting season, brayed  love  to my  leopard–Beauregard the gaudy Appaloosa–who pranced by, head up, tail high.

Truly, I could not imagine a more delightful way to begin a day. To face the coming hours  of work and play and who- knows- what-all else lay ahead.

Just as sugar was King,  so were the managers. The department heads were lords and ladies of the manor. I was not much into the social life, women in America are much different from women who–excepting those in the military or Embassy sphere who were always the same– lived in a cosmopolitan community abroad.

On Kauai we lived on the water. Kept our beloved Warpath at anchor in front of the house, my horses in the red barn across the way. Somehow Bill and I managed to combine the horsey and  sailing set. Sailing these water–Bill and me–was too vast another world to describe briefly, but at night, beneath a sparkle strewn sky  and moon wide wonder–no phones, no worldly distractions–was an experience that kept our feet planted firmly on solid ground when they had to be. We lost Warpath during Ewa and Flash, Beau, and Billy are buried here. Bill’s ashes scattered.

Today it’s a third world. Gated  million dollar ghettos. The poor. The homeless. Cane is a  memory lost in concrete- coated  madness.  I see more cars driving to Lihue than there were on the Island 46 years ago. We’ve traffic jams–engine to BBQ hatchback– expelling so much CO2 it’s a wonder any of us survive.

Some people call this progress.

What do you call it?

 

 

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