Neil and Jeannie dreamt of a peaceful, happy retirement on Maui's sandy shores, but after just one year, their honeymoon period on the idyllic island seems to be over.
Thanks to the unscrupulous actions of the local unions, their family's financial future is threatened. Their daughter and son-in-law find that their business is threatened by these unions, and the family chooses not to go down without a fight. But in the meantime, they still have to focus on survival, so Jeannie decides to return to work.
She begins selling real estate and is quite successful. But she soon learns that some of her wealthiest clients have been hoodwinked and cheated. Jeannie struggles with her reaction to this information, and in the process she learns that all is not peaceful in paradise. In this, the sequel to Driving on the Left, author Margaret Norrie gives readers an inside look at the shadowy sides of Hawaii's sunny shore life.
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By Margaret J. Norrie
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Margaret J. Norrie
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Chapter OneAnother Sleepless Night
* * *
When Jeannie said the background for her story was Hawaii, her friend commented, "I've never been there, so I have no idea what it or the people are like." Jeannie thought, there's so much we tend to take for granted; I'd better begin at the beginning ...
Jeannie succumbed to the situation she tried to avoid—thinking—upon snuggling into her wonderful waterbed—well, a jellified mattress really. Her husband, Neil MacLeod, loved it. He often complained about an aching back after spending a night on the bed of an expensive hotel for which he had the questionable privilege of paying. Thinking kept her awake and it was now July, at 2:00 AM, in Maui, Hawaii. Perfume from the night blooming jasmine wafted gently through the glass sliders opening onto the deck. She loved the intoxicating smell. She gave up, got up, and made a cup of hot chocolate.
Maybe if I read something really boring, that will send me to sleep?
Maui—Paradise of the Pacific—How many times had she heard that? But it really was "paradise." Where could you go—let alone live—to enjoy sunshine most days of the year? Where frost and occasional snow were confined to the upper slopes of the dormant volcano—Haleakala? Where else, during occasional winter weeks on the Big Island, could she drive to the ten thousand foot limits of a mountain to ski in the morning and descend to the welcoming warmth of the waters
Where else do so many cultures mingle—mostly amicably—and where else was so much to be learned from them—such variety of food, customs and traditions? Many, originally brought, in turn, to the islands to work in the sugarcane fields, contributed their own individual skills to the island culture.
Portuguese, with their strong work ethic: Descendants of mariners who discovered the land—later to be the southern States—whose knowledge and skills with horses and cattle were needed in Hawaii when King George III of England presented King Kamehameha I of Hawaii with cattle and horses—totally foreign to Hawaiians, whose skills lay in navigation, fishing, creating structures from native trees such as the coconut palm: Being as one with nature in all its ramifications—and its gods.
Japanese, whose inherited traditions in legal matters, art and science, clashed with the laborious life demanded of them in waving fields of cane—progressed to become judges, attorneys, and counselors.
Chinese, traditionally landowners—with properties handed down through generations: Farming crops, rarely selling their land to persons outside their own family.
Filipinos—determined to make life more rewarding for their sons and daughters—industrious workers from the Philippine Islands.
Tongans, whose later arrival in the islands was principally made possible by the efforts of one man, whose own efforts were sponsored by an existing business owner: He recognized the landscaping needs of hotel developments and subsequently aided family and workers with their immigration; likewise Samoans, whose superior strengths contributed to road and bridge building.
Descendants of European clergy from the north-east coast of the American mainland arrived as missionaries to convert the Hawaiian people from worshipping their gods of fire, land and water, to Christianity. This included covering women's near-naked voluptuous bodies with high-necked voluminous Victorian-style dresses and petticoats; regardless of near ninety-degree temperatures: And forbade men and women from participating in Hawaiian music and dance.
However, it did not take the male missionaries very long to decide there were more profitable possibilities for life in the islands than dispensing the teachings of the church!
For the first time in her life, Jeannie felt like an "outsider" and it wasn't long before she encountered the word "haoli"—literally "foreigner" or "stranger"—a non-inclusive title; often spoken with derision. Besides, her skin was the wrong color, even when tanned; and her European features differed from those of Asians and Hawaiians.
* * *
Jeannie prodded the weeds among the coconut palms in the hot sun; dug them out and dropped them into a bucket. She felt dejected, and lonely. She scarcely knew a soul; and those she did know—were her son-in-law and daughter's—Wade and Helen Merton's—friends anyway.
Neil was at a property about a mile away, on the other side of the valley, where Duncan was using the backhoe to level the ground and dig trenches for water lines for the new "spec." house.
Neil was happy to potter around, helping with measurements and locations. He tanned so easily; he could be mistaken for a "local." He'd had six months' start on her anyway, arriving from England in January 1979; whereas she and Duncan had to wait until Jeannie's seniors at school took their final exams in July.
They flew in from England via New York at the end of July 1979: To begin a new life in Maui, Hawaii.
Helen drove up in a truck and watched her mother for a moment. Jeannie straightened her back, mopped the sweat from her face with a piece of paper towel and tried to conjure up a smile for her daughter.
"What's the matter, Mum? You've got nothing to worry about." After all, she'd retired, and she wasn't obliged to break her back in the hot sun.
Jeannie said, struggling to hold back tears, "That's the problem—I've got nothing to worry about; I've been talking to the weeds—and I don't even like gardening!"
She'd always led such a busy life in England. She and Neil each had an engrossing career and a great many friends, but they'd worked until they were worn out and Neil's responsibilities had taken severe toll on his health. Jeannie knew he should retire.
Jeannie wondered what she could do on this strange island?
She'd always had interesting, responsible jobs, giving her a great deal of independence. She wasn't the type to have a "nine to five" existence under a bossy overseer. In any case, this was supposed to be "retirement."
They each had savings, and retirement income; why was she even considering "work?"
Helen said, "I'll go and fetch Daddy, and you can go to the beach to have a swim and get cool."
They each had a quick shower and dressed in swimsuits covered by towel beach robes. Neil drove Helen's Triumph Spitfire—a final acquisition from the corporation in England where he worked—to the sandy beach down-slope, less than five minutes' drive from where they lived. He parked the car at the side of the road, gathered towels from behind the seats, and held out a hand to Jeannie, as they walked down a little dirt path to the beach. The water looked inviting, shimmering in the sunshine. Little wavelets, driven by a light breeze, cascaded onto the sand.
They swam for about fifteen minutes, and relaxed, floating on the gentle waves, looking up at the nearly cloudless blue sky. Jeannie felt caressed by the water; some of her usual carefree confidence returned. They came out of the water together, walked up the sandy beach and—after checking any possibility of ripe nuts falling—sat on towels in the shade of some mature coconut palms.
Neil said, "Wade has plans for a really unique single story home on that parcel where Duncan's working. He wants to build a "spec," house and make money from the sale of it. I think they're going to need to borrow some cash from us for that, but real estate has been selling well—until now, it seems."
"Until now," thought Jeannie. She didn't know anything about properties in Maui, but she'd seen the same "For Sale" signs ever since she and Duncan arrived in July 1979.
That evening, Helen told her parents she'd arranged for them to fly to Kauai for a week. She knew the owners of a famous coconut plantation there, now being run as a hotel, so they'd arrive with a personal introduction and could expect a unique welcome and first-class attention. She felt guilty about her mother's apparent distress. She was responsible for their move to Hawaii, partly because she knew her father should retire, but also for the financial backing needed by Wade and herself for their construction business. Now, Helen wanted her parents to learn something about the island chain; and Kauai was the furthest inhabited island west. They could rent a car, and explore.
With their adventurous natures aroused, Neil and Jeannie welcomed the opportunity. Helen drove them to the airport in Wade's "Maui Cruiser"—a name given locally to any one of the many "junkers" being driven around at that time—a luxurious vehicle which had seen better days.
As they arranged for a rental car at Kauai airport Neil told Jeannie, "We're provided with a map. This is a smaller, even less developed island than Maui, so it should guide us to the sign for our hotel without difficulty."
They soon discovered the building lay at the end of a long, winding, private driveway bordered with large trees and bushes with colorful flowers.
"Just smell those romantic perfumes wafting through the open windows of our car!" said Jeannie.
Neil braked, and pulled up slowly beside the wide rough-hewn wooden flight of steps representing the main entrance to a gracious old building—later to be recognized as an enlarged version of a sugarcane plantation owner's traditional estate home, surrounded by an entire coconut plantation of its own.
A uniformed porter approached the car and said, politely: "Welcome to 'Swaying Palms,' Sir; I will arrange for your luggage to be delivered to your room when you have checked in, and I will make sure your car is parked safely."
"Thank you," said Neil, popping the trunk as he got out of the car so that the porter could lift out their suitcase; and Neil tipped him. They did not see it again until after they had checked in at a long wood desk, of carved and polished koa wood native to the islands, to the left of the entrance hall.
One of several young Hawaiian girls working at the hotel led them to their accommodation. Her glossy dark hair fell straight down her back to below the gentle curve of her buttocks. Her ankle length mu'u-mu'u, patterned in the glorious colors of tropical flowers, swayed gently as she walked in flat, noiseless sandals; she resembled a flower floating in the breeze herself. She opened the carved wooden door to their suite and stood back for them to enter. A porter must have preceded them because the suitcase was already on a luggage stand.
The girl moved across the room with continuous grace, to glass slider doors opening to a large covered deck with a beautiful view of the extensive grounds. Then she turned, and they saw her typically lovely face clearly for the first time with voluptuous lips curved in a sweet smile, and dark eyes tilted up at the corners, with long lashes.
"Welcome to 'Swaying Palms,' she said. Your bathroom is en suite; it has a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower for two. There is fruit on the little side table on the lanai. There you will also find an Invitation from the Host and Hostess to attend the Reception this evening."
"You can see where it is held if you stand on your lanai—she waited for them to join her—and look through the coconut palms and across the lawn to the lagoon, where there is a large covered deck. After the Reception and the traditional Ceremony you will go straight into the Dining Room for Dinner."
"Now, after I leave you, listen for the blowing of the Conch Shells; they announce the time for you to go to the Reception just before sunset. If there is anything else you require, please use the telephone. There is a card adjacent to it with any service number you may need. Please enjoy your stay with us. We are all here to help make the visit a perfect, and enlightening, experience."
They unpacked, found appropriate clothing for the evening, showered together, threw dry towels on the bed and lay there, naked and refreshed, relaxing and enjoying the moment, looking up into the high ceiling with its exposed Redwood beams.
Jeannie said, "It brings back memories of the old oak beams at the Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell, Derbyshire, in England, the old coaching inn where travelers could change horses during a long trip; and the Brimpton Grange Hotel where we stayed during our honeymoon all those years ago ..."
Neil said, "Let's just order room service; this is so peaceful and inviting."
They looked at each other, aroused by the old love and caring, but Jeannie said, "That's rather impolite considering the welcome we have received with the personal invitations to the Reception, followed by Dinner, and the wonderful sweet pineapple and fruit awaiting us here on the lanai. Think how long you were away during World War II! Waiting until after Dinner to make love is nothing compared to that!"
"Okay! But I'll hold you to it."
He rolled over, gave her a quick kiss, then got up and began to dress. She watched that lovely tanned body and his handsome smiling face for a moment, but slid quickly off the bed when he noticed her looking at him ... it was sunset, and the conch shells were being blown expertly, likewise forewarning them of their required presence at the Reception.
You'll never understand how much I still adore you, she thought.
"Are you ready? Come on—we'll be late for the festivities." He held out his hand and slipped her a quick kiss as they walked down the wide wooden steps from their second floor suite.
Neil and Jeannie were greeted by the host and hostess by name and offered a glass of pineapple wine, and pu'u-pu'us—finger food—arranged on huge leaves displayed on large trays woven from pandanus leaves. Melodic Hawaiian ukulele and slack-key guitar music played in the background.
A drumbeat varied in intensity as handsome brown-skinned Hawaiian males, wearing traditional malos—similar to a loin cloth, but with a piece of fabric coming up between the legs and tying—sounded the Call with a Conch Shell, facing first to the Rising then to the Setting sun; to the Mountains and to the Sea, telling all within range that the Drums would Talk; the sound reverberating from each Conch Shell being echoed in the distance by another Call.
The ancient beat of a drum summoning all to the Luau was followed by the Lighting of Torches. Lithe young bodies, brown from the sun, carried flares they swung round and round, running from one stationary torch to another, lighting it with unerring aim as they ran swiftly, barefoot, about the grounds among the many coconut trees and along the banks of the lagoon in the failing light of the sun; the torchlights reflecting in the dark water. With all modern lighting extinguished, it was an impressive sight; the ceremony awe-inspiring; the only sound—the imperious slow beat of the drum.
With all torches lit and the ceremony completed, the guests filed into the dining room with anticipation for a magnificent meal.
Now living in the islands, Jeannie commented, "You can't help but respect the ancient rites. There's a feeling of timelessness—no buildings with changing styles to mark the passage of time and the advent of successive generations; but rather, the same mountains; the same ocean; the same sun; the same moon and the same tracks; all of which were respected and used eons before Captain Cook discovered the islands and named them 'The Sandwich Islands' in honor of his sponsor, the Earl of Sandwich."
"Yes," said Neil, the Ancient Hawaiians regarded themselves as one with Nature—an integral part of the Laws of Nature—explaining why their gods were represented in natural phenomena over which they had no control—their food provided by the ocean and the trees; their canoes guided by the stars and the currents; storms and earthquakes or eruptions caused by their gods' anger—requiring appeasement by some sacrifice."
Neil and Jeannie returned to their fabulous accommodation following dinner, still in awe of the events of the evening; succumbed to the luxury of their huge bed, and made love by the light of the moon, as had generations before them.
On the verge of sleep, and holding her close, Neil whispered to Jeannie, "Tomorrow, we'll explore."
Excerpted from Hawaiian Destiny by Margaret J. Norrie Copyright © 2011 by Margaret J. Norrie. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsCHAPTER 1 Another Sleepless Night....................1
CHAPTER 2 Changing Times....................14
CHAPTER 3 Diversions....................19
CHAPTER 4 Romance, Visitors, And Jeannie's First Client....................22
CHAPTER 5 The Beginning Of A New Career....................33
CHAPTER 6 Silversword....................38
CHAPTER 7 Converging Visitors....................41
CHAPTER 8 If It's Not One Thing, It's Another....................49
CHAPTER 9 The Other Side Of The Coin....................52
CHAPTER 10 Tribulations And Retributions....................58
CHAPTER 11 "Alice In Wonderland"....................65
CHAPTER 12 A Different Christmas....................70
CHAPTER 13 Maui Moves....................80
CHAPTER 14 "You Know How Little While We Have To Stay"....................89
CHAPTER 15 "Spirit In The Sky"....................94
CHAPTER 16 Adventures In Another Paradise....................99
CHAPTER 17 "Uncut Jewels"....................107
CHAPTER 18 Changes....................115
CHAPTER 19 Hawaiian Destiny....................123