Friday, June 17, 2011

A ride down memory lane

I rode my beach cruiser for the last time.

I took my usual route, riding past Kekela Beach Park, where Kendon and I went on our first beach walk as a married couple.

There was the beachside mansion, with its weed-covered tennis courts, broken windows, and chipped paint. I used to think it was haunted. I later found out an old woman lives there who is simply lonely and eccentric.

The sea breeze hit my nose again as I glided past Pounder's Beach, where Kendon and I spent our first Christmas afternoon building a snowman... out of sand.

There was the otai stand, where a kind local family sells carved wooden art and tapa mats and, most of all, delicious, refreshing, otai on Fridays and Saturdays. Perfect for date night.

I passed the dirt road I used to run down in my single days. Eventually it can take you to a beautiful waterfall perfect for a hot day, but follow it a different direction and it leads to the most blissful banyan tree, which stretches its strong arms down a cliff and invites passersby to climb up, up, up.

I smelled barbecue wafting from one of the houses nearby -- probably for a plate lunch sale later -- and remembered all the times I've had plate lunches at the cafe up the road. My friend Jon once challenged me that I couldn't eat an entire pancake platter from there. He said he would pay for breakfast if I could. Four 12-inch pancakes churned in my belly for hours.... but they were so deliciously free.

I rode past the Polynesian Cultural Center, watching dancers in costume race by the back fence to perform in the daily canoe show. When I worked here, I would delight in walking out of my small gift shop and yelling, "Aloha!" with a shaka to Japanese high school groups. Their response was always an enthusiastic "Arohaaaaa!!" that never failed to make my day. Later I would see a prophet of God -- Thomas S. Monson -- pay a visit here. I would surprise Kendon with a Haunted Lagoon ride here during Halloween. And I would sit in awe every time I saw the night show -- a classic tale of the soul of man and land; of the "Ha: Breath of Life" that lives in all of us.

I approached campus and memories flooded from all sides. Here I gained a new sense of confidence; made friends that changed my life; had teachers that changed my perspective; held my dream job; received a bachelor's degree; and learned to understand Aloha.

In the distance I saw the Laie Temple. On the hill behind it, I sought shelter when a tsunami threatened to overtake our little town. My house never floated away (though I was prepared with my camera to document this), but I did manage one of my best sunburns after that long day of waiting. The temple resting beneath bears perhaps the greatest significance of all the structures in this diverse little town. Here I held hands with my best friend and listened to the words that made him my husband -- my eternal best friend. I cried as it occurred to me that our relationship literally had God's stamp of approval.

I thought of these things on my last bike ride. I looked down at Mufi, the rusting, turquoise beach cruiser, gripped his sticky handle bars, and said one last thank you for all the rides.

Then, under the weight of all the memories, I biffed it. For the first time ever, my feet slipped off the pedals and I bruised my knee in a mad attempt not to crash. I took it as a sign. It's time to move on, I thought. Time to make new memories. Time to ride a new bike past new landscapes.

As I arrived at this new epiphany, I also arrived at the house of Mufi's new owner. I handed him over to Megumi, who gave me a big "arigato" smile that made everything OK. It was time for her to discover Laie by beach cruiser.

Goodbye Laie.
Hello fresh start.

Friday, June 10, 2011


There is something in the water in the BYU-Hawaii LDS 14th ward. And it might be sperm.
Gross. Pretending I didn’t say that, let me start over by announcing that I belong to the most hazardously fertile ward in the world. We’re talking more than all the married wards in Provo, Utah or Rexberg, Idaho COMBINED.

Each week, a list is passed around for more women to sign up announcing their due date. Every other week, another stroller becomes the new caboose of a long train of baby carriages stretching all the way down the hall. Every couple of weeks, another wife suddenly develops a belly growth, as though hiding (not well) a large watermelon under her shirt.

It’s as though there’s a secret fertility club, and to become a member you have to get pregnant, and after you get pregnant you must bear heartfelt testimony to everyone about the newness and exuberance one feels when she has on her belly a large watermelon growth.

Certainly this is a wonderful thing. I hope to grow a watermelon of my own one day... one distant, distant day long after forfeiting my chance of joining the super secret not-so-exclusive 14th ward fertility club.
Last Fast Sunday, as is custom, a great many members of the club, including fruitful new daddies, stood up to extol the virtues of parenthood and encourage childless newlyweds (like we Bagleys) to try making watermelon Bagley bellies. I was deeply engrossed in a doodle of a giant ice cream cone when Kendon got my attention and looked at me with puppy dog eyes. “I want one,” he mouthed. “Ice cream? Me too,” I said, my tummy growling in agreement. “No, a baby,” he replied, his eyes so puppy-doggy now I could have scratched his ears. “We’ll get one. Someday,” I assured him, patting his leg as I carefully made criss-cross waffle cone lines on my program. He poked me again. “No. Now.”

I looked around me, from the babies in bellies to the babies on bouncing mama laps to the newly-liberated aisle-walking babies, then back to Kendon and thought, Heaven help us, they’ve indoctrinated him. I swallowed hard and tried to look sympathetic.

Then he burst out laughing. Kendon’s laugh can sometimes exceed baby scream decibels. As half a dozen disapproving baby bellies turned and looked at us, I breathed a sigh of relief and began to daydream about puppies.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Long wars on the beach

I went for a walk on the beach with Kendon. A light breeze caressed our faces as we strolled, hand in hand, and let the water splash our bare feet. Then we looked into each other’s eyes and knew exactly what the other was thinking.
I bent down and scooped up the biggest ball of sand my palms would contain, and he did the same. Then I chased him. Then he chased me. Then I got sand in my mouth and in my ears and on my face and in my hair and down my back. The fight continued. I got sand down my pants. It continued some more. I got sand in my eyes. The war raged on, and finally I managed to toss some small sand granules on Kendon’s precious American Eagle t-shirt, so then it was time to go home.

I think I win.