I learned to cut pineapples from a pre-movie feature at a theater in El Paso, Texas, the year Hawai`i became a state. The Islands were all the rage that year, with the advent of jet travel making it possible for the average mainlander to think of flying off to a tropical paradise newly joined to the United States. I had no idea as I watched that little film that I’d soon be in Hawai`i myself.
But, along with the rest of the country, I was fascinated by our new state. Around that same time, Parade Magazine ran a story about the mu`umu`u fad among college girls. Inspired, I requisitioned a purple blouse of my mother’s and used my newly acquired Singer sewing machine skills to stitch on a matching bottom, creating a floor-length dress. A safety pin held a floppy purple flower at the shoulder and kept Mom’s blouse from falling off me. I felt so islandish.
As it happened, my father was one of those who suddenly looked toward Hawai`i and realized it had always been in his dreams. He brought me here, and here I stay.
That little movie feature stuck with me. I still cut a pineapple in the same way. The other day, a pineapple-farmer friend gave me a gorgeous pineapple fresh from the Upcountry Maui fields. As I always do, I chopped off first the end, then the crown, then stood the fruit upright and sliced down the sides, removing the pineapple skin just as I learned so long ago. I was wearing a real mu`umu`u my mother gave me decades after I made my first one from her old blouse. And I was so grateful to still be living in that dream I inherited from my father. How lucky can a person be.