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My tutu has always been the type of person to take charge of everything. He's never been very good at remembering names. Instead of trying to remember, he'd just classify us into two groups- boys were "Louie" and girls were "Lucy."

My cousins and I would spend entire summers with Nana and Tutu, at their home in the Pau'oa Valley, across from Booth Park on Namilimili Street. Everyday Nana would sneak each of the seven of us a dollar to buy shaved ice from "Da Silvah Shave Ice Man."

I still see us all running across the street, waving our short arms in the air, believing that our waving and shouting would keep him there. (Usually it did 'cept one time wen da guy had to go shi-shi...)

In the mornings, Tutu would be in his gubernatorial mode of speaking, pointing that finger at us, and demanding that we finish the chores before we went to the park to go swim. "You folks no going anyplace eef you no feeneesh yo' chores!" he used to say. It was worse when he was drinking, because we could barely understand what he was telling us to do. "Kalani! Go mow da lawn, an' wen' you pau, go fin' menehunes in da backyard! Dey stay eatin' all da mangos!"

Aye-yah! My tutu !

Nothing sticks in my mind more than when Tutu would pack all of us into the back of his brown Ford Pinto, with plate lunches and beach stuff all crammed into the back of that wagon. All of us kids, barely able to breathe anticipating a day at "Magic Island." (AKA Ala Moana Beach, on the side where the water is trapped into a tiny cove and no waves or sharks get in there- only Portuguese Man-o-war)

Tutu used to make us run laps everyday. He said it was to make sure that we didn't get fat, but I know that it was to tire us out! Poor guy! I don't think he really knew what he was asking for when he wanted ALL of us there for the summer. The worst was running from the car to the water. We were kids! We didn't know that the sand would give under the weight of our feet!

Now Tutu is tired and cantankerous old fut! Breathing is laborious and standing up in one place is no longer done to choose which way he'd like to turn! He can barely walk 5 steps before he tires or passes out. And poor Nana! Aye-yah! She puts up with him, cares for him, and brings new meaning to the phrase "Until death do we part."

I haven't been to their house in the valley for quite some time. Every now and then, I take a short trip back to that upstairs room that I once shared with my cousins. I would go back to that place and time when I wouldn't have to stop to catch my breath after running to catch up with the Silver Shave Ice Man. But it's better now, because I take my son there with me. I tell him about Nana's place "across from da pahk," and about "Harry Mongoose," the creepy fictitious guy that lives in the gym at the park.

I see the banyon trees, and past the trees I see the mountains through the haze that is the everyday rain that falls in Pau'oa Valley. There we are, me, Kalani, Kisha, Jason, Kapua and Chris, and sometimes Micah and Napua, all little guys, sitting under the rainbow, eating shaved ice. And one day, me and my cousins, and their kids, all eating shaved ice, under the trees at Booth Park ... eh I can imagine can't I ?

About Author

R. Mapuana Cottell, born and raised in L.A., CA, but was instilled with aloha by island born parents. She lives in Pomona with her husband John and keiki Kahaku (7) and Maile (3). She is a freelance writer and artist.

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