Not long after I met my husband, his parents moved into their home in Kahalu’u on the island of Oahu. It was a house they had purchased years before, but due to the fact that that my father-in-law’s job provided on campus housing, they had yet to live in it themselves. That was over thirty years ago. The house was home; it had a dark wood interiors with large windows and before large trees obstructed the view, you could see Chinaman’s Hat framed in the living room window. It was deep in the valley and the Koolau mountains were in the the backyard. When it rained, and it rained often, the walls of the mountain were covered in waterfalls. It was a truly beautiful and special place.
The property itself came with an acre of land. There were a number of trees on the property – a huge mango tree, a guava tree, mountain apple, bananas (lots and lots of bananas), and a large macadamia nut tree. That mac nut tree provided thousands of nuts over the years. It also created a lot of memories, good memories of summers together, of time our children spent with their grandparents. The kids and their cousins would pick nuts off the ground and their grandpa would place them on a cement slab my brother-in-law made for him with indents to perfectly fit each individual mac nut. The nuts would be placed in one of the pukas just right so it wouldn’t roll off. It was always a fun exercise for the kids to participate in, and truth be told the “grown ups” enjoyed it too. You wanted to hit the shell with the hammer just so as to break the shell, but not damage the nut inside. The nuts were then given to grandma who would roast them in the oven adding just the right amount of salt to taste. The picking and roasting of the mac nuts was something everyone enjoyed for years. For the times we were unable to come over during the season, grandma would send a sweet package in the mail of roasted nuts for us to fight over.
A lot has changed since that time. The house itself was sold and moved to a different property for another family to create their own memories in. A new home was built on the land. My father and mother in law have since passed, but my sister in law and her family, and her oldest daughter and her family live on the property.
A lot hasn’t changed. It’s still home. Kahalu’u will always hold a special place in our hearts. And that mac nut … it’s still there. It’s still producing nuts and still creating memories. A few years ago, my husband and I took some nuts from the tree and planted them with the hopes of getting our own mac nut tree here our on our property. We were able to get two really good starts from those nuts, and planted one tree in our yard, and one in my other sister-in-law’s property – she has a home right next door to us on the Big Island. Each child from my husband’s family now has a mac nut on their property, a tree from the tree of their parents.
It’s been about 8 years, and for the first time ever, our mac nut tree has flowers. We’ll soon be getting our very own mac nuts. It’s so bitter sweet. One day our grandchildren (someday, no pressure to my children who may be reading this) will be sitting with my husband, their grandpa cracking nuts while I roast them in our oven. We even have our own stone made from river rock ready for cracking nuts. We’ll be creating our own new memories. I’m so grateful that we have this tree on our property and that we can have a piece of Kahalu’u here in our Hamakua home. I miss my in-laws greatly, my children miss them, but we are so thankful for the memories we have of our time spent together. We not only planted a tree, we planted a piece of our family history, a history to be shared with future generations.
Follow my blog