By now one of my uncles and his wife had given us two cousins (though we always referred to one another as brother and sister). Living in the same house has a tendency to secure these bonds.
Imagination is a wonderful friend!
I must have been about 5 when I began paying extra attention to the early morning rooster. Their wake up call, “Coo Coo Roo Coo” would wake me up at the crack of every dawn. I would tell my family about the conversations that went on: ‘Did you hear them?’ I’d ask.
Some were near and some faint and far. I remember thinking that they must be conversing with one another. “Hey! Are you guys up over there? It’s time to wake everybody!” one would say, calling all the way from England to the one in America or maybe even Australia was talking to the one down the road, though I wasn’t really sure where these places were; past the ocean is all I could understand.
We were a very happy family, living in a nice wood-built house with a very big yard. We kids played hide & seek, rounder (your baseball) and soccer just to name a few of our daily activities.
There’s plenty of trees in my childhood; guava, mango, bread fruit, banana, lemon and coconut. There were vegetable garden patches which included cabbage, butter beans, egg plant, tomatoes, long beans, carrots, chilies, basil and cucumber. These were our daily food staples, nothing for sale here.
Our house was away from the main street of Waimanu Road and the way to it -as well as some neighboring homes- was covered in heavy brush. This brush had to be trimmed back in path form regularly.
There was rain nearly every single day and so you can imagine the rate of growth! The local residents would get together every 2 or 3 weekends with their machetes to manicure that path. This was to ensure we could walk safely and not get our clothes dirty.
We’d walk through this semi-cleared path, laden with heavy brush on either side to the main road to either catch a bus into town or walk down the road a ways to visit friends or relative’s homes. But let me not forget to tell you about the overflow from the creeks which ran in various places throughout the field.
These were daily renewed by the guaranteed short cloud bursts and frequent tropical storms which regularly visited the islands. It would seem that Suva was at the prime location to be hit first. Our path was often dimpled and quite soggy.
We’d walk barefoot down the path carrying our umbrellas, keeping sandals and a clean towel in a waterproof bag. We’d then stop at one of the creeks at the end of the path to wash the mud away from our feet. Now for the clean towel and dry, un-muddied sandals!
Did I mention it rained just about every day?