Story by Kathy Collins
Listen to Tita’s T’anksgiving column read aloud in pidgin:
To me, da bes’ t’ing about T’anksgiving is da fam’ly traditions. An’ I not talkin’ turkey. I been t’roo enough fo’ unnastand dat what you eat not as impo’tant as what you do.
Some years, we no could afford one turkey dinnah; in fack, one time, all we had was tuna casserole an’ canned corn. And yet, dat was one a da bes’ T’anksgivings evah, ‘cause was jus’ my ol’ man an’ me, all in denial. I mean, all in love. We was so t’ankful fo’ have each oddah an’ our dreams. An’ ev’ry year since den, we take time fo’ tell each oddah what we t’ankful fo’, befo’ we eat.
Aftah we wen’ improve our finan-sho status, we wen start one noddah fam’ly tradition of donating to da Maui Food Bank or Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centah, so we can help oddah fam’lies wit’ their T’anksgiving dinnah.
But my mos’ fav’rite tradition is fo’ tell da kids one T’anksgiving story. I wen’ adap’ dis one from Da Bruddahs Grimm.
Once upon one time, had one fishaman an’ his wife, dey live out Kahakuloa side, in one small liddo hale. Dey no mo’ money, but da fishaman no mind, ‘cause he t’ankful jus’ fo’ live where he stay an’ love what he do. He love his wife too, even though all she do is grumble about her good fo’ nottin’ husband and their hammajang shack.
One day, he wen’ catch one humongous ulua. Almos’ he pass out when da fish talk to him. “Bruddah, you let me go, I give you whatevah you like!”
Da fishaman hemo da hook from da ulua’s mouth an’ he t’row ‘em back in da ocean. “No need reward,” he tell. Da ulua swim away, all happy.
But when da fishaman go home an’ tell his wife da story, she get all wild wit’ him.
“Whassamatta you?! You go back an’ tell dat fish we like one new house! Dass da least I deserve, fo’ puttin’ up wit’ dis shack fo’ so long.” He was shame fo’ go, but she no let up, so finally he go back down da beach.
“E Ulua, magic fish! I no need nottin’, but my wife get one wish.”
Right away, da ulua pop his head outta da water. Next t’ing you know, da fishaman get one brand new oceanfront house. But dat no was ‘nuff fo’ da tita. Ev’ry day she tell she deserve mo’, an’ da ulua give all what she like. He even wen’ make her Queen of Maui.
But dat still no was ‘nuff. When da fishaman wen’ tell da ulua dat his wife like be one goddess, mo’ powah-ful dan Pele herself, da fish snap. “Go home an’ no boddah me no mo’. Your wife get all what she deserve.”
When da fishaman reach home, all da fancy stuffs gone. Only get da old hammajang shack an’ his tita wife, still yet grumbling. But da fishaman was happy, no mo’ stress.
Dass da story I tell da kids ev’ry T’anksgiving. Den we dig into one big fresh ulua dinnah. ‘Cause one t’ing I no can stand is one smart-aleck fish.