Friday, May 14, 2010

Star Spangled Banner

I was a young adult during the cold war, fearing USSR, the atom bomb. During the Cuban Crisis when we lived in Southern Indiana within range of such danger, I found a place for our family to hide under the basement stairs.
Two years ago, almost fifty years later we were on a three week river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburgh,Russia. I was so proud to hear their army band play our anthem.
I have never belted out our national anthem as lustily and loudly as I did that summer month standing in front of their World War II Armory in Moscow.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Last of us Four

Here we are, a combination of first generation ItalianAmerican and 11th generation Yankee. We were a happy family of sisters - that's Doris on the left, a real beauty who was laid low by Tuberculosis when only 15 but survived and lived until her seventies, the first of us to go. Next is Nancy, my closest companion all through our lives growing up in Rhode Island and Hawaii in our later lives; I'm the second from the right, a bit shy and oversensitive (I still worry a lot about doing the right thing); last my kid sister, Edie, you can see the devilish gleam in her eyes.
We might have had our spats as children but as adults we were always there for each other.
I miss my sisters, never expected that I'd outlive them all. But life is that way, we don't get to choose, just to love and appreciate each other while we are alive.
As we used to say - "See ya later, alligator".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Before the Drought

That's our view looking down from our lanai - at the time this was taken we had had several months of frequent rain. Living as we do on the side of Mt. Hualalai, I can almost make up my climate. On the news report, given over two hundred miles away in Honolulu, I hear that the weather in Kona is clear and sunny. At the same time, I look out the window at a steady rain. We live on the Big Island (called Hawaii). When people ask, I describe our location as a mile or so above MaDonalds in Kona. When I hear on the news that if we don't mail in our census form, census workers will call on us. Sure - if they can find us. Needing service, we tell the worker, "Drive in exactly two miles from Palani junction, turn right at the Geraniums, come down .9 of a mile, be sure to stay on concrete strips, open the gate, the one that has a decoration from Christmas 2009, turn left, go another half acre, open another gate and park at the top of the hill. Sometimes, we just give up and meet the visitor on the highway.
Four other families beside ours "live off the grid". Telephone and electric companies have never run their lines to serve us. We survive with solar power, propane and generator power. Very nicely, we say, as we laugh when the power goes out over the island.
Months of drought - not a drop except from the hose - have taken the lovely green groundcover, handwatering couldn't save it. The orange tree there has blossomed but not produced fruit and I'm redisgned the plat. My method is called - whatever grows, keep it. Purslane and Akikuli (sedums?) are spreading and another picture will come. Just give it time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sailing the Andes

From my journal of trip to South America:
We are bushed,, weary, fagged out, worn out and tired. Our wakeup call came 5 minutes AFTER we were supposed to board the bus. (We two who are always the first to arrive.) We threw on our clothes, scooped up toiletries from the bathroom and ran for the elevator. Our tour guide met us as we got off the elevator with an apology. As we climbed onto the bus, we were met with applause.
It was a drizzly day that turned into a steady rain. Our trip "sailing the Andes" was by bus alternating with boat across each lake between Argentina and Chile, across the Andes. As we crossed one lake, our boat would toot twice for the arrival of another boat with a passenger, or sometimes to pick up goods from our boat. On one leg while riding the bus, we were told the road had been washed out and we were to cross it by foot, holding onto a rope. We'd be met then by the bus to Chile. As we approached the gap in the road, our driver had other plans and gunned the bus across the washout (as I looked for a place to roll in case the bus fell down the mountain.) Lunch was atop a mountain that we had to ride up on a gondola. Made a great Christmas card that year.
©Natalie Norman Baer