A Thanksgiving memory

27 11 2014

My Friends ~ I am thinking the captain/DH and I should take a spin through the back roads of Kaaawa on our double bike this morning to smell all the turkeys being roasted in the neighborhood. A hurricane struck for Thanksgiving the first year I met him more than 30 years ago, the first time I returned from Kahoʻolawe. The power was out, but he had a gas oven he wasn’t using, so his neighbor brought her bird over to take advantage of its availability. Others kalua-ed their food in an imu. Whichever you celebrate — Happy Thanksgiving! or Lonoikamakahiki! — I wish for you and yours a wonderful and blessed day. Giving thanks. ~ Rebekah

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

My paintings at the Punahou Carnival

2 02 2014

“Kaaawa Beach Park”


20140202-083720.jpg“Red Trunks”

Good morning, art lovers! I am offering these three recent oil painting originals of mine to the Punahou Carnival for sale in the Art Gallery booth this weekend! Feb. 7 and 8.

The deal is 50-50. Half of the money is donated to the student financial aid program (that’s how my parents could afford to enroll me at Punahou) and half is paid to the artist.

Art is just one of the scores and scores of attractions at this annual Honolulu event. Good eats, music, rides, games, crafts, plants, white elephant, variety show, midway, and more.

The main walk-in entrance is at Punahou and Wilder streets. But here’s a great tip: Park your ride at Central Union Church (Punahou and Beretania) and walk.

Bring moola to spend. It’s for a good cause. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

In my back yard it’s swingy and jazzy

1 07 2013
Jazz guitarist and bass player Robert, who is the proprietor of Uncle Bobo's BBQ restaurant in Kaaawa

Jazz guitarist and bass player Robert, who is the proprietor of Uncle Bobo’s restaurant in Kaaawa. (Rebekah Luke photo)

Sometimes it takes an effort by someone in the community to remind us how very privileged we are to live and work in Kaaawa. And to remind us there are attractions right in front of us in our own back yard.

This past Sunday afternoon it was by Robert and Keiko of Uncle Bobo’s Smoked BBQ restaurant, who organized a 19-piece big band as well as a jazz guitarist from Japan to play for  residents and guests for free.

What a show! The review from Sunway and Joerg, the professional musicians and music producer in my party, was that this big band could fill any room with an appreciative audience. No doubt our town would welcome that kind of event at least quarterly, and it would be good business for Uncle Bobo’s.

BBQ al fresco and big band sounds at Uncle Bobo's

Smoked BBQ al fresco and big band sounds at Uncle Bobo’s. (Rebekah Luke photo)

I live in the middle of the Pacific in a comparatively rural (not urban) neighborhood on the windward side of Oahu island. It’s a 20- to 25-minute car ride to the nearest supermarket, and 45-55 minutes to reach Honolulu or Kailua in the middle of the day. Most everyone who lives in Kaaawa has a long commute to somewhere several times a week.

It’s “far,” by island standards.  But we love it because it’s what we call country. Kaaawa’s stunning mountain and ocean scenery and proximity to the base camp of TV shows or movies shot in Hawaii make it a favorite choice for location managers of the movie industry.

Low tide at Kaaawa

Low tide at Kaaawa

We like the quality of life. Kids play outside, they walk or bicycle to school, roosters crow, dogs bark, folks fish and grow food, and we play music on the back porch. You can walk along an empty beach or on the back roads, and everyone you pass will say hello. It’s mostly local families, not visitors, who use the park and beaches on the weekends.

For services, our town has a public school, a post office, a gas station, a 7-Eleven, a fire station, an EMS station, beach parks with restrooms, and Uncle Bobo’s—a diner that’s had the longest run in all of my nearly 30 years here.

Above all we are thankful for the gift of community.

Yesterday it was happening. People came from all over. Uncle Bobo’s put up tents for shade, and the kitchen was hopping with non-stop orders. There were music stands with Uncle Bobo’s logo on it, big band style. We listened to long sets while munching on brisket or pork ribs or Kualoa Ranch beef burgers with avocado. Tent campers packed Swanzy Beach Park across the street, more so than most weekends, but amazingly people managed to find parking, and there was plenty of toilet paper in the women’s restroom at the park for the crowd.

We watched the world go by on Kamehameha Highway. I saw a limo pull up and a parade of old Fifties cars. Motorcycle clubs too. My neighbor and friend Andrea tirelessly circulated a petition to “keep the country country.” I bet she collected a lot of signatures. I met Lisa, all grown up now, who lived in our house as a girl; she introduced herself to me. Nora who played piano for our glee club for a while said “hi” and that she was playing piano in the band earlier. Wow, they sounded great! Thank you, Uncle Bobo’s!

Pretty soon it was time for my cousins and friends to walk back to the studio, and Sue regretted not bringing her camera, because she wanted to capture the majesty of the mountains—the ones that are right in my back yard.

The view of Makaua Valley and mountains at Kaaawa from Swanzy Beach Park

The view of Makaua Valley and mountains at Kaaawa from Swanzy Beach Park. (Rebekah Luke photo)

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Kōlea: thinking about it

20 04 2012

A lone kōlea — golden plover (Pluvialis) — seemed to be testing the water and thinking about a trans Pacific flight from Kaʻaʻawa beach to Alaska this morning. I pretended to be a nature photographer snapping many frames and hoping to get some good shots. Alas, nature photographer I am not, but I thought you would like to see what I made with DH’s iPhone as we walked the dogs. I applied the noise filter in Adobe Photoshop for the effect in the large photo.

Is this a good day for flying?

Shall I go now?

Umm, nope! Maybe later.

Actually, it’s a gorgeous day. The migratory bird no doubt was distracted by my presence and waited until I left. I hope it decided to take flight because conditions are beautiful! Aloha, a hui hou, e kōlea!

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Burning the money!

1 01 2011

Welcoming the New Year and a New Decade. Cheers! from Kaaawa.

New Year’s Eve 2010

31 12 2010

Home is the safest and most comfortable place for me on New Year’s Eve. I’m watching and listening to the New York Philharmonic play “The Nutcracker Suite” on PBS, Live from Lincoln Center.  Alice Brown is doped up and hiding under a blanket on DH’s lap. At least she is not trembling from the boom-booms,  pops, whistles and crackles of the fireworks that started on Christmas Eve and are building up to a crescendo tonight. Less than a couple more hours until 2011!

Kathryn's bouquet from her garden—yellow lehua, a vanda orchid, and hibiscus

I had a lovely day with three girlfriends who live here in Kaaawa. Dorothy, Kathryn, and I have birthdays around the same time, and Andrea has tried to get us all to celebrate together year after year. We live less than a mile from each other, one would think it would be easy. Not so with our busy lives.

I took a chance today and invited everyone over for lunch, conversation, and a round of board Scrabble. When our kids were young we used to play almost every Sunday at the beach. Well, they made time and came over! Dorothy brought champagne, Andrea brought pomegranate juice, and Kathryn brought her fried chicken, a lovely bouquet of flowers from her garden, and her Angel Cards.

I fixed a salad vinaigrette of Manoa lettuce, watercress, fennel, orange, and dried cranberries; turkey sandwiches, and my favorite lemon cheesecake. We played one game, drank up the champagne, then everybody left to do their New Year’s Eve thing.

Our thing was to spend a gift certificate for dinner at Haleiwa Joe’s with the rest of Miss Marvelous’s family (Mom, Dad, and Tutu) and my first college roommate Becky and her niece Katie, in town from New York. Becky gave me a box of Sparklers.

Alice Brown’s happiness at seeing DH and I arrive home must have temporarily overrode the benefits of the tranquilizer we gave her before we left, for she greeted us jumping up and wagging her tail as usual — so joyful!

I closed the windows, not wanting the smoke from the firecrackers to trigger my asthma. I opened a box of Island Princess Mele Macs and sat down to reflect on the end of the year and a decade. I’m so interested in seeing what we will all create in 2011! The Angel Card I pulled was “expansiveness.” I like that notion.

Well, I think I’ll take my Sparkler’s and champagne down the road and say Happy New Year to the neighbors. They were already burning the money as we drove back from dinner. (A ban on fireworks in the State of Hawaii takes effect on Jan. 2, so a lot of people are taking advantage of the last chance to burn them legally. Firecrackers will be regulated by permit.)

As the clock clicks toward midnight, I wish all of you every happiness, love, light, and gratitude! This is my last post for 2010. I hope you will continue to visit Rebekah’s Studio in the new year. All the same characters will be here, but we’ll have new experiences to share. I’d love to hear from you. ~ Rebekah

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke

Season’s greetings from Rebekah

21 12 2010

The moment I made this photo of Miss Marvelous and her mom, I knew I had our Hawaiian greeting card for this year.

Everyone at Rebekah’s Studio—DH (Darling Husband), Alice Brown, Ula and I—wish you a Happy Winter Solstice!

I hope you don’t mind a re-post from 9-11-2009 that tells how we celebrate:

“With the winter holiday season upon us, most families are starting to get into the spirit. The signs include that real or imagined cold snap on Halloween night, slick merchandising catalogs overflowing from our mailboxes, store mark downs everywhere, and the lure of local craft fairs and festive events.

“Conversations now include, “What are you doing for (fill in the holiday)?” and newspaper features carry tips on how to remain stress free. We want to remember family and friends and hope no one is left alone. As families extend generationally, geographically, and by marriage, there can be many decisions to make.

“DH and I have a couple of philosophic ideas and old-fashioned traditions that give us a sense of peace. They link to our respective roots—Hawaiian Islands for me and Pennsylvania (Delaware County) for him.

“One is to acknowledge and be mindful of the Hawaiian Makahiki season, roughly from mid-November through January (exact dates depend on the moon). The planting season is over, work is pau (finished), and warring ceases. It is the time of the god Lono.

“The best of the harvest is dedicated to Lono in the form of ho‘okupu (offerings). The people give thanks, relax, socialize, play outdoor games, and generally enjoy themselves. No stress. It’s officially okay to play!

“The other is adopted from Winterthur, Delaware, not far from DH’s birthplace. As tourists we visited Winterthur, a museum and the former country estate of Henry Francis du Pont. During his life H. F. du Pont collected whole room interiors of various periods, not to mention whole street fronts, and installed them in his mansion.

“The museum decorates the rooms of this big house for Yuletide, and visitors can tour them around the same months of Makahiki in Hawaii. The holiday decor matches the period style of each different room. It’s educational and very festive.

“When we visited, our favorite room showed how du Pont’s own family celebrated in the first half of the 20th century. The story was told that Yuletide, the time around the Winter solstice, was a time to visit and entertain friends, to rest and to celebrate a successful harvest. Children were seen but not heard.

“Decorations consisted of a small table-top evergreen—adorned simply with cookies, candles and strands of popcorn and cranberries—that was set atop a pie crust table. Gifts were exchanged among immediate family members only and placed in a basket for each person. If the children behaved well, they could have the cookies!

“We liked the idea so well that we brought home a furniture piece similar to a pie crust table for ourselves, in a nod to the East Coast style and DH’s regional heritage. Each year we hang on a small tree the wooden ornaments crafted by DH’s parents for their first granddaughter on her first Christmas.”

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke

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