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He Gave Me Mangosteens!
Dedicated to My Ohana
Submitted by Cori
I first moved to the Big Island to attend the local university, not knowing anyone and feeling a bit anxious. It was when I received a bowl full of mangosteens and a note that read, "in hopes of long relations" that I knew for certain that I had been adopted into an ohana and everything would be okay.
I had first met Kenny under the thick limbs of a banyon when he observed that it needed more "dreads". As we engaged in talk story, he showed me his recent findings at Richardson Beach and strung me an arm band of glistening cowry shells. Before I knew it, he was calling me little hapa and I had mounted his motorcycle and we were headed toward Waimea Valley.(typically out of character for me but I was trying to be open-minded)
Along the way, we stopped at the Tang's picnic for ono grinds and a swim. Once in the water I became a whale upon which the little Tang children could ride, and instantly fell in love with the sunkissed keikis. "See you soon and aloha", they said as we departed and secretly I hope that I really would see them soon.
Shortly after we stopped at the farmer's market to pick up fresh ahi tuna for the BBQ we would be attending. Kenny seemed to know everyone, they inquired "howizit?" with genuine concern and whole hearted hugs. It was so beautiful I wanted to savor that moment along with the juicy rambutans the aunties were pushing at us.
Once we arrived at the party in Laupahoehoe, the men went off to play a quick game of b-ball, Kenny included, so I was left with only the women to talk to. I felt out of place until they put me to work helping prepare a coconut cake with macadamia nut frosting. I couldn't decide what I enjoyed more, licking the sugar coated spoons or hearing the powerful stories told by the aunties who emphasized the importants of knowing ones roots- that the ties that binds the ohana together cannot be broken, only strengthened through tradition.
Kenny and I departed between the offsets of rain, otherwise the roads would be slick and we would be drenched. So he gave me a helmet and told me to hold on tight. And so I did. I held on the the loving memories we had made that day, I held onto him with all my might and most importantly I never let go of the family that I had become apart of that day.
There is no place I would rather be than in Hawaii with my ohana, living aloha, eating poi and chasing rainbows.......
(I changed the names)