November 7, 2015

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?




February 20, 2012

That the whole world comes to Kauai is one of the joys of living here. The house up the Alexander Dam Road was remote but,  partly because of the kids, at least half the world ended up there. Also partly because this monster lava rock abode had five bedrooms, four baths, a huge living/dining room, and a mammoth ‘party’ kitchen, everyone Bill and I had  known since the beginning of time suddenly remembered us and came for a visit.

That’s one of the reasons why this house has one bedroom, one bathroom, and one interior door. I love people and house guests but after a while hotel keeping grows tiresome and tedious.  Now when friends come calling I say, “Bring a tent. Camping gear  You’re welcome to stay on the back forty.” I only have four acres but it’s a steep traipse to the back side and when you get  there you’d think you were a million miles from anywhere. No roads. No street lights. No sounds, except for the birds and the feral pigs snuffling. My neighbor to the east is the back-end of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. When John Allerton was alive- the vast estate and the Garden was his baby-I teased, “You walk ten miles. I’ll walk ten feet. And we’ll fight over the back fence.”

The most interesting house we lived in was the house on Kukuiula Harbor. Our boat floated in the bay, our horses hung out across the street, and millionaire’s row was a bit scruffy. All the rest was green stalks of cane-grass at its tallest- and miles and miles of bridle paths called cane roads by others. Our air was the softest. Our  stars the brightest. The bay the cleanest. And it was  my country all the way to Shipwreck at one end and Allerton’s red gates at the other. I taught Beau how to open those gates. I wasn’t allowed to enter- but of course I did-and  was always getting caught. I’d flash the peace sign, wave a big wave, and gallop off  in all directions.

At this end of the road, too, is the Spouting Horn. One morning as we stopped to hear it roar and watch it burst and bubble, I caught sight oi a guy with his butt in the air and his head in the hole.

“Sir,” I hollered. “Don’t…”

When he stood up and turned, my heart skipped a beat. This was really good-looking guy. His name was Terry Mulligan, a Canadian Mountie and movie star, and he walked my horse and I home. He stayed with us. Sailed with us. Taught me Mountie horse stuff. We baby sat his daughter, met his girl friend, fed them Portuguese bean soup made in a tub and feasted on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This memory is for all my new-found Friday world-wide friends, Krista from Kalamazoo, Marlene from Hanapepe, Susanjane and Don from Canada, Mike from new York, Peter from Oregon, Sid from  British Columbia, darling Julie-who loved Scam-and came back to say so.

Hope you have a happy stay, a safe trip home and hurry back.