scholars and rogues

Wish you were here…

by Michael Pecaut (Ubertramp)

Just about every year I fly to my home state of Hawaii to visit my parents. They live in Wahiawa, an old pineapple plantation town just outside of Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Air Force Base. It’s about as far from tourists as you can get, hidden in the middle of Oahu. If you’ve ever driven from Waikiki to the North Shore, you probably drove right by it. I’m part of the third generation of our family to live there.

I use the shotgun approach to photography: take a thousand pictures and hope that maybe one turns out. While most of it is the usual tourist/vacation fare, occasionally I get a shot that someone finds interesting. A few years ago, Doc Slammy used one of my pictures as a starting point for his venture into digital art.

This was taken in the my parents’ back yard. My mom has a running joke that I come out every year just to “document the yard.” Considering how many pictures I have of the place, she’s probably right. But I can’t help it. They have all sorts of interesting plants in the yard ranging from palm trees to orchids. I have no idea what this plant is. The flower looks like it’s related to hibiscus, but the plant itself didn’t look like any hibiscus tree I’d ever seen. Whatever it is, it only opened in the early morning before the sun got too high. After that, it shriveled in on itself. Very pretty when it’s out, but kinda ugly when it’s shriveled up.

12 replies »

  1. At the botanical gardens we visited in Hawaii we could pick any flowers we wanted – the guides told us most of them only lasted a day. I couldn’t believe the riot of colors and shapes and the sheer masses of bloom. Lucky you to grow up there.

  2. Lucky you to grow up there.

    Sort of. I’ve heard Mike tell stories about reverse-discrimination from the native Hawaiians that are pretty unpleasant.

  3. In some ways, yeah. I was lucky. For instance, I learned to swim at a beach on the North Shore we called ‘sharks cove.’ I think it’s also called Pupukea. I never saw any sharks there, though. How many people can say that? But in others, not so lucky. I got into a lot of fights as a kid because of my white skin and blond hair…and a smart ass younger brother. So many fights, in fact, that the principle of my elementary school had to let my brother and me out of classes a half hour early every day just to get home in one piece (it was about a mile walk).

  4. Oh, I’ll bet that was fun.

    I guess it’s similar to my knowing a lot of really filthy words for “whore” and “blonde” and “anglo” in Spanish; it’s part of a South Texas white girl’s education. Still, it’s not the same, I imagine. Most schools and towns were still so segregated when I was young that all you had to do was leave the area… like, across the street. Or the hallway.

  5. You take the good with the bad in a place like Hawaii, I guess. Luckily, things seem to have improved a bit. I have a another brother about 17 years younger than I am. He grew up there, too, and didn’t have any of the issues I had as child. Of course, he also went to a really small private K-12 school (there were about 8 kids in his graduation class) while I went to a public school.

  6. Well, you’re at least lucky to get to go home to there; i’d be in botanical heaven…the vines, the vines.

    It’s a stunning picture.

  7. Ubertramp,

    did you surf the North Shore, and if so what breaks? I spent a few seasons living in a shack at Sunset Beach, and those were the best times of my life.


  8. Jeff, I never did learn to surf. Unfortunately, I moved to the mainland about the time I was old enough to learn. Mostly, I did a lot of body surfing and sand boarding. My mom and grandparents lived in a house on Sunset. She’s shown me one of the houses she lived in. It’s still there, but I couldn’t tell you which one it is. My grandfather also helped build the first fire department out there. By the time I came around, my mom wasn’t really into the big surf thing. In fact, she always laughs at me when I go to Waimea because that’s where the tourists hang out, not where the REAL surfers go. 🙂

    Dawn, I don’t remember much of a scent, but I didn’t stick my nose in the flower, either. As I recall, it was a bit windy and rainy that morning. I took about 6 shots of that flower and that was the only one that came out because the damned thing kept moving.