A New Life! Retirement at its Best 85

Merrie Monarch Festival 2019

The Merrie Monarch Festival honors the legacy of King David Kalakaua’s vision for perpetuation of Hawaiian traditions, language and arts through week-long international hula competitions which take place in Hilo on the Big Island following Easter Sunday. Dancers come not only from all the Hawaiian Islands, but from as far as California and even Japan. Weeks ahead of time all hotels and B&B’s are booked, as are the flights to the Big Island. That Wednesday night is a free night, tickets for the other three nights go on sale on December 26. Thursday night is the Miss Aloha Hula competition, where the dancers perform the Kahiko, the ancient hula, accompanied by chant and traditional instruments, as well as the Hula Auana, the modern hula, often accompanied by ukulele and steel guitar. This picture shows 2019 Miss Aloha Hula, Taizha Keakealani Hughes-Kaluhiokalani, in her Auana performance. Her Hālau, Hālau  Hi’iakainamakalehua is now famous too, as are her Kumus (hula teachers), Nā Kumu: Robert Keʻano Kaʻupu IV & Lono Padilla. Looking at that name: Robert Ke’ano Ka’upu IV, I believe that he was one of my teachers when we lived in Hilo. I danced first with another Hālau, Kumu Hula Puanani, then moved up to study with Uncle Glen, whose young girls were so good that they performed in the Merrie Monarch Festival sometimes. Robert was the young assistant of Uncle Glen, lithe and smooth, and everybody loved watching him when he performed. In the 16 years that I have been away he must have become a Kumu Hula. Amazing memories of those wonderful years where I learned to love hula: ‘Hula is the language of the Heart and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian People’.

Well, I was planning to watch all three shows, but there is a time difference of six hours and all shows started at midnight there. I tried but could not “livestream” and was afraid I would not be able to find replays, so the first night I woke up and watched most of the Miss Aloha Hula dances. The following nights I was not so lucky, but then I gave up and decided we would purchase the DVD after it became available. So I could sleep again with a peaceful mind. It was wonderful to see the familiar stage again, floor new and divided into squares; and the people in the bleachers, and King and Queen on their thrones. But in a few weeks we can watch it in our living room, snacking on the Hawaiian delicacies a good friend on Oahu sent us specifically for that purpose; a five-hour show, three nights in a row, would ask for some goodies, she wrote us. The surprise package came Special Delivery, on time, but we’re saving the contents until we are watching the DVD.

The past week flew by with many activities, among others puppy training, a dental visit (I have two beautiful A-1 white crowns in my mouth now), administration, planning for our summer visit to our daughter in Canada and much more. So here ends my tale for today.

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,







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