Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed, Part Thirteen


Okay, remember the fabulous lodge-like great room of Auntie’s place? Today we’re gonna see more of it.

This is one of the sitting areas around the incredible fireplace. It doesn’t take much to imagine myself relaxing and knitting here. Temporarily at least.

This is the library. Auntie is one of the volunteers who keeps the books organized and put away. (That’s not Auntie in the photo.)

After excitedly getting reaquainted again, Auntie took us down to her room; this is the view out of one of her windows. She was disappointed that we couldn’t see the mountains, but the view was still gorgeous.

Auntie was, at one time, a really wonderful sculptor. She and Uncle and my cousins lived in South America at times, and her sculptures reflect that.

She is amazingly talented; I had no idea how prolific she was.

This is her china closet with lots of sculptures. She didn’t say if she did all of them, but I think she did.

Oh, and guess what? She paints, too.

I particularly love this one. She painted it from a photograph Uncle took of her up in Nu‘anu Valley (I think) when they lived in Hawai‘i. There’s just something about it that calls to me, I guess because I relate it to myself when I used to walk through foliage like this growing up in the ‘āina.

This one reminds me of all the times I went sailing with my papa-san around and about Diamond Head.

Here’s another one of Auntie’s paintings. Ho da talent, yeah?

It was so wonderful for me to sit and talk stories with Auntie! She is ninety-four years old, but her memory for the time she and Uncle and my parents were together in Hawai‘i were just as clear as could be. I had so many questions for her!

Eh, you know wat? This road trip had already brought us so many surprises, like the train engineer honking to me, the pīpī drive with the paniolos and MacDonald Pass, to name just a few. But now I was to get yet another wonderful, fantastic surprise!

I knew that Cousin and his wife lived in Bozeman too, but because we had not been in contact for many, many, years, I didn’t know if we’d get to see them. And now Auntie told me that we were invited over there for dinner! Oh my gosh! I was so excited about that because I hadn’t seen Cousin since small kid time, and now he was all grown up! I could hardly wait to get there.

Auntie rode with us and directed us to Cousin’s hale, which is only a few short minutes away. We walked up the walk; it was cold and starting to get icy. Cousin was right there at the door to meet us, and it was as if all the years had just been stripped away. No longer did I see the boy, I saw the man, but he is ‘ohana, family, and there were no barriers between us as we hugged and laughed. Cousin’s wife was right there too, welcoming us with open arms.

After awhile, I took a couple of photos of the beautiful views from Cousins’ dining room. (From now on, when Cousin is plural, I’m referring to both Cousin and his wife, because as far as I’m concerned, she’s cousin too!)

I already knew that Bozeman is surrounded by mountains, but I had no idea they were so close! Imagine looking out at this view every day!

Dinner was all ready, and the five of us feasted on Cousins’ absolutely delicious dinner, all the while talking and laughing, and comparing family stories.

Before leaving home I hadn’t anticipated that we would have an evening like this. Can you get drunk on ‘ohana stories? High on ‘ohana? If you can, I sure was! Oh, the laughter we had!

Auntie was full of family stories, and so was Cousin. Some not so happy, some hilarious. I got answers to many of my questions as well as learning about some family history I had no idea about. And it was all so good! Even the not so good stories gave me so much insight into my family, and I was really glad to know them.

We all talked stories well into the night. We laughed, we talked, and my heart was so full! Looking at all of us sitting around the table like that was the highlight of our entire trip. I was astonished at how clear Auntie’s memory was; she told us stories of my family going ‘way ‘way back to before Cousin and I were born even! Auntie was able to answer all my questions about my papa-san, like why he left Maui for Honolulu, questions that I wanted to ask my mom and dad that they couldn’t answer now.

We’d been going to take Auntie home ourselves, but the roads were pretty icy and Cousin has 4-wheel drive pickup, so we bid everyone a good night and thanked them for a wonderful, incredible evening. I cried when we left; I had tears of joy at being reunitied with my cousin again and getting a new cousin as well. My heart was so full, and even though I was really tired, my mind was spinning with all that I’d learned. I’d just experienced ‘ohana to da max!

I’d already programmed our motel into TryLook, so off we went. By now it was a combination of rain and snow coming down, and my windshield wipers were no help at all. They were streaking my windshield like mad, and I was having a really hard time seeing. I thought they were okay before we left, but obviously not.

TryLook said our motel was seven miles away which seemed pretty darn far to me. I never would’ve reserved a room at a motel so far from Auntie’s! But TryLook had never been wrong before, so we just kept going. “Turn right”, she said, so we did. And oh my gosh, we ended up on this deserted country road! At midnight. She’d gotten us to the right ROAD but not the right ADDRESS! So we called the motel and got directions and headed all the way back into town.

Only one problem. There had been a terrible accident and the road was closed! The very nice State Patrolman gave us directions but somehow we got turned around and ended up heading west instead of east. Or was it east instead of west? So much easier back home, yeah? Mauka and makai, Diamond Head and ‘Ewa. It’s an island! But Montana is very big and we ended up going the wrong way, having to go nine miles down the freeway to the next exit. I could barely see, I was exhausted, and even mad at TryLook for getting us into this mess. We shoulda printed out a map!

After making yet another call to the motel, we finally arrived. The wahine at the front desk said that most people who relied on their GPS’s had exactly the same trouble that we did. Didn’t matter which brand. They all got their owners lost!

Finally we got unloaded, got Kukui settled, took our showers, and fell into bed.

The next morning, we headed back up to Auntie’s again. And try look da snow! We’d planned our trip in a relatively short period of time, hoping to avoid snow. Auntie thought we’d be fine, that any snow that came in October usually didn’t stick. So this was quite a surprise to everyone.

It was really beautiful.

Then Auntie told us that Cousins had invited us for dinner again that night! Whoo hoo! Another fabulous surprise! I was concerned though that with the roads so icy we wouldn’t be able to get from their hale back down to the motel; I talked to Cousin and they very kindly invited us to spend the night with them. So I called the motel, explained the circumstances, and they (whew) didn’t hold us to our two-night reservation (I’d already paid in cash). Holiday Inn in Bozeman. Good people there.

Telling Auntie we needed to go check out right away and that we’d be back (she’d invited us for lunch at the lodge), we hurried to the motel to pack up our stuffs and get our refund. It took us awhile to get all our stuffs together, and when we came out, we saw this!

Poor Musubi! He couldn’t see out, and told me that because of the wild snowstorm we’d had in December ’08 when we got snowed in for two weeks, he was now claustrophobic to da max!

So we cleaned off the windshield wikiwiki! Try look how much snow had come down just in that short amount of time!

We headed back up to Auntie’s place, driving through downtown Bozeman.

I wish I knew the names of all these wonderful old buildings.

More downtown Bozeman along Main Street.

I loved the autumn colors against the snow.

Auntie and Cousin were right; the snow was melting quickly.

Just outside the main part of town, we headed back up to Auntie’s place.

Still get plenny snow on the ground, but the roads were clear. Cousin had explained to me that the asphalt retains enough heat to melt the snow.

The snow on the grass wasn’t going anywhere though.

And the trees were beautiful!

Here we are, pulling up to Auntie’s place.

We had a wonderful lunch with Auntie and got to meet some of her friends. Then she showed us around the lodge.

This is part of the dining room.

Just outside the dining room there was a lot of snow, and it wasn’t melting. Just since last night there was that much snow!

This is the greenhouse, where residents can grow their own plants. What a great idea! They also have a workout room; Auntie uses the treadmill almost every day, and also goes to an off-site water aerobics class twice a week. She is amazing!

It wasn’t major cold, but cold enough to keep the snow on the ground. I love this old thermometer! Everyone was talking about how surprised they were at this amount of snowfall so early in the year.

After lunch, we went back with Auntie to her room so that we could talk stories some more. Auntie has led such an interesting life, and I was glad to find out more about it. It made me wish that I’d seen more of her through the years.

Nolemana and I needed to get some new windshield wipers; no way was I going to try and use those junk wipers again, especially at night. We promised Auntie we’d be back in enough time to take her down to Cousins’ hale. It had started to snow again!

Next time I’ll tell you about our next evening together; it was a repeat of the first one… high on ‘ohana!

6 Responses to “Da Mystery Road Trip Revealed, Part Thirteen”

  1. Clare Says:

    Wai maka again! Auntie’s artwork is so nani; what an incredible woman. Cousins’ view is spectacular. Next time you go on an adventure, can I come? Looks like so much fun!

  2. AFK Says:

    This is quite a journey of discovery – physically and emotionally. How wonderful to connect with your family again. It’s clear you get your artistic ability from your family.

  3. Diana Troldahl Says:

    Wai maka another time today!
    What beautiful art your auntie makes!
    I want to live there when the time comes, what a beautiful place to be!
    I am so happy for you Mo-chan.
    (I like calling you Mo-chan, reminds me of when I lived in Japan)
    Many hugs, and thanks for sharing your journey.

  4. Kikue Mugen Says:

    ACK! I’m so dissipated with my RSS feed. IT didn’t notify me that you had made another post until last night. Well, actually this morning. I don’t know what it is about that thing, so I’m going to ask our Techie-kane guy if there’s something else I can use.

    Nonetheless, I am here and LOVED each word you used to describe your most heartwarming and emotional trip. I loved the snow, loved the lodge, loved the very thought about you finding a new cousin and enjoying time with your “well seasoned” auntie! How so very special, especially since you’re getting ‘well seasoned’ yourself. I totally understand the feeling, for I’ve been studying my roots too only because I’m at the age of appreciating where my roots extend to get to me. Fascinating, to say the least!

    Will you be going back out that way any time soon? Now that you know what it takes to get there. Maybe if you do, perhaps you can plan on stopping for longer time spans along the way… you know, those points of interest that you only peeked at briefly. There was a lot, wasn’t there? Well, let me ask you, if there was time for just ONE place, to take and extra day at to explore, where would that place be?

    Wonderful Pic journal! I’m loving it to the max!

  5. paula Says:

    Oh Moki Congrats on finishing your knitting goal! Proud of you girl :-) Having a good time on da road wit you. Aunties house is soooo nani, adn I had fun I spying the orchids in the greenhouse picture. Say, you still coming to Kauai?

  6. paula Says:

    AAUUUWWEEEE dat snow pictcha done give me the chicken skin. Serious, I have my socks with slippahs on!!!!!

Leave a Reply