I spent a quarter of my waking hours in Kauai chasing roosters, just so I could snap a picture of them. They run rampant all over the island, crowing at all hours of the day and night, their internal clocks haywire. For all their cheeky behavior, they are quite shy, or maybe just terrified of the high pitched squeals of the children chasing them, yet I did get them in the end.
This trip to Hawaii was for my baby sister’s wedding. She is unbelievably beautiful to begin with, so you can be sure she made a stunning bride. The wedding was on the beach, as all weddings in Hawaii ought to be. We were walking around barefoot, digging our toes in the golden sand, laughing and crying, and hugging each other. My daughter and my niece had the time of their lives being flower girls. I watched them remembering how I used to wish I had been a flower girl as a child.
I missed my blogging pals and can’t wait to catch up with all of you! The internet connection was terrible, though. Which isn’t all that bad, I suppose, as I had ample opportunities to watch the violet tinted sunrise on my early morning walks through the enchanted forest, coffee in hand.
The bright, cloudless days, I dozed away on the beach, smeared in a thick layer of sunblock, yet still somehow managing to get a burn, while the kids played in the sand and the water. As the sun set and the skies quickly darkened, we gathered around an outside table and had dinner and conversation by flickering firelight in torches and candles, dreading our return to the cold, damp Northwest. Still, we are highly grateful for a chance to warm up our bones, and the lovely reminder that summer is coming.
A lovely, blessed week to all of you!
I love the sound of trains at night. Sitting at the kitchen table with all three windows open, the curtains ruffling in the breeze, I listen to them, and to the nighttime stillness of the house, and feel so comforted. As a child we didn’t have an automobile. My parents didn’t need one as we lived in the city, and the tram and bicycles delivered us wherever we needed to go.
Every summer, as soon as school was out, our mom packed our suitcases and off we went to the countryside to spend our summers with Tanti Marie, our cousins, and the kids in her village. It was a six-hour train ride from our place to hers, mostly filled with anxiety over the summer-long separation from our parents, and worry that our elder cousins might have outgrown the wish to play with us. My sisters and I were the youngest of the bunch, and still very much interested in physical play, not talk, boys, or dress-up.
Despite the uncomfortable wood benches in our compartment, and the beauty of the red poppy fields flying by, the train would eventually lull us into a restless sleep until our mom would wake us urging to eat some of the chicken schnitzel she had prepared for the road. Because we were picky eaters, we needed to be bribed with candy. Sweets were a scarcity then, as was pretty much everything else, but somehow or other, our dad never failed to produce the most delicious candy for us. It was their hope that the fresh mountain air, and fresh cheese and milk would stimulate our appetite and upon our return we would be a few kilos heavier.
When the train pulled into the station closest to our destination we were overjoyed. Whatever trepidation we may have had up to that point was replaced with excitement by the promise of an entire summer of freedom and play. We couldn’t sit still for a moment. We were ready to shed our shoes and take off running.
Although the village was remote, and another half hour by bus from there, the air was different, almost pungently sharp to our unaccustomed city noses, and the country folk with their baskets returning home from the market in town, were loud and crude in their manner toward each other. There was a ton of winking and pinching going on, and we stared unabashedly fascinated, despite our mom’s urging to look out the window.
Tanti Marie welcomed us with her customary pink raspberry cake. To this day, it is the most scrumptious raspberry cake I have ever eaten, and sadly I will never know how to make it, as she had passed away before I had a chance to ask for the recipe. She served huge slices of it with fresh glasses of goat milk for the kids, and thick Turkish coffee for the adults. It was the first day of summer, in the most beloved home of my childhood.