Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving in Hawaii 2007

It is hard to believe that it has been a whole year since since we spent our Thanksgiving away from family, (but not away from friends). We were on our mission to the Polynesian Cultural Center in 2007. We had been there for almost seven months and were very comfortable and had many friends, but of course missing our family. Dave and his family had come the first part of October and had spent 10 days with us. And we were looking forward to having Cyndi there with us in another month for Christmas. It was lonely thinking that none of the family would be there with us for Thanksgiving. However, as most missionaries realize, there are blessings and other ways of enjoying holidays away from family.

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the PCC missionaries got together for a Thanksgiving dinner out at Turtle Bay, at the clubhouse where several of the senior couples lived in the condos there. One of the couples cooked the turkey and the rest of us brought the usual "comfort" foods that we attribute to Thanksgiving. It was all so very good. And though we were a little crowded on that covered patio, we were with our new friends who were all missing family and family traditions together. It was a very pleasant day.

The following Thursday, which was Thanksgiving itself, we invited LaVere and Karolyn Adams to join us to have Thanksgiving dinner with the BYU-Hawaii 1st Ward. The BYU-H cafeteria cooked all the turkeys, dressing, potatoes, yams, rolls, and pumpkin pie for all of the University students to be served in their individual Wards.

We showed up at the appointed hour, sort of expecting to sit at tables with the students. However, the dear Elders who were on the activities committee had other ideas and planned for us all the sit in the classroom desks and watch a football game while we ate. Well, the sisters put their foot (feet) down, just as any mother would, and said, "No football. No TV." However, we still sat at the desks which made it a little difficult to talk with others around us. At least it was difficult for me and the balancing act I was performing to keep my food from falling off to the floor.

But, the food was delicious. And the students brought a certain levity to the occasion. For some of them, it was their first Thanksgiving dinner which also brought new tastes that they had never experienced before. Our dear neighbor, Spencer Tan, who was the BYU-H chef really went all out and everything was great. I know he was up all the night before, overseeing the kitchen to make sure everything was as it should be.

After the dinner, we excused ourselves, went to a movie at the only theatre in Laie, and then went to the Adam's for pie and games.

On Saturday, we went shopping with the Adam's at the swap-meet so we could get our Christmas shopping started and finished, so the packages could be sent early. I certainly wish I had a swap-meet here in Utah like that one to go to. It was great to take the list and know just what to buy for each individual. It only took us three hours at the meet, and for the most part, our shopping was done!

I am often asked, especially now that winter is coming, if I miss Hawaii. Well, I do and I don't. There was a special spirit there that may really only be prevalent in La'ie with all the great students from all over the world. I miss that spirit and those students. I don't miss being so far from family. I enjoyed the fair weather there, but I also enjoy the crispness of fall and winter. It was a wonderful place to be...for a short time, and even for one Thanksgiving, but I am looking forward to Thanksgiving here in my own sweet home.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Big Tree

Well, we outlasted the tree we planted about 25 years ago.  When we got the cottonless cottonwood tree from Valley Nursery, we knew that it would grow big, but we didn't think we would be around when it had to be removed.  And maybe, under the right circumstances, it would have outlasted us.

When we got home from Hawaii in June, we could see that the top 1/3 of the tree had not leafed out.  And through the summer we could see that the leaves that did come out did not look healthy. We were worried that if we had another harsh winter that the tree may just fall or some of the large limbs would break off and perhaps damage the deck or the house. 

So, last week we contacted a tree removal company.  When the gentleman came out, he pointed out all the infestation holes in the bark and said that he could trim off the upper half and probably keep the tree going for another few years, but the cost would be almost as much as if we had the whole tree removed.  We decided that we might as well just have the whole tree taken and not have to go through it again.  It has only been about 5 years since we had another company come and prune it back from the roof.

This morning he came with his crew of three men who took that tree out in about 2 hours. In addition he pruned the Russian Olive and said it would be much healthier and provide more shade next summer.  

It is sad to see such a giant go that provided us with so much shade over the years.  It certainly made our deck much cooler to use and much more pleasant as well. And it kept our house a little cooler as well. 

Happily, however, it left a part of itself in the tall, fast growing tree that is on the hill to the south. Our tree surgeon said that it would be a healthier tree because it had come up on it's own and had most likely put down a tap root deep into the ground that a planted tree usually doesn't do because the planter does not take the time to  loosen all the roots that are wound around themselves in the pot.  

The big tree will be missed, especially next summer.