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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Paniolos And Rodeo Dreams!

Over the next week or two, I will be posting parts of a great interview with Tamara Ching.  Remember my interview with my friend, Luana? Tamara is her sister.

Today Tamara is going to answer only one question, because she tells an amazing story of growing up with horses on the Big Island (Hawaii.) Enjoy!

Tamara, when you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do?

Beautiful Shoreline on the Big Island
When I was a kid, I loved to go horseback riding.

We grew up with horses. I had 3 sisters, but it was my best friend and neighbor, Loke, that also loved horses and usually came with us to care for them. We’d help with filling their grain, water, and fresh cut grass.  In Hawaii there really weren’t any farmers that grew hay so we didn’t feed our horses hay, they either were in a pasture where they grazed on grass or when they were in a stable we would have to go and find fields of grass to cut for them. Mom or dad would use a sickle to cut the grass and we’d carry it to the truck. We’d cut about 10 big bundles every 5 days or so.  

Once we did our part of the horse chores, Loke and I would get to bridle up the horse and exercise her while mom or dad cleaned out their stall. We didn’t get to ride for long, so we would usually ride bare back without a saddle.  We had several horses over the years, however there was mainly one that we rode. She was grey and we named her Minnie.

My dad would help my uncle on his cattle ranch. We’d pack up and drive way up into the hills of Mauna Kea (meaning “white mountain”) to a little natural grey, weathered, rustic old cabin that was only heated with an old wood burning stove. 

Once we turned off the main road we drove several miles on a dirt road through the most beautiful breathtaking pasture lands. We also had to go through many gates that separated each pasture.  Dad would let us out to sit on the tail gate of the truck so we could open and close each gate for him. I remember times he’d start driving again just before we got to the truck so we had to run to catch him. He also stopped once for us so we could climb to the top of a huge hill and roll back down.

When Loke and I arrived at the cabin our only agenda was to find the horses and see if any were still saddled up to ride. We’d get our chance to ride in the afternoon when the paniolo’s (cowboy’s) got back from rounding up the cattle. We would take the horses and ride through the pastures then bring them back and unsaddle them.

Chili and rice was a favorite meal up on the cold mountain top. In Hawaii we ate our chili poured over white rice. There was always a hot pot of chili on the old wood stove to help yourself to, from morning until night.

At night it was so quiet and peaceful up on the mountain top away from the small city we lived in.  You could look up into the sky and see a gazillion stars in the sky.  Mauna Kea has the clearest darkest skies and is known to be the best place in the world for astronomers.

We also went to any rodeo we could. We loved being around all the horses and enjoyed all the different events that took place. Bull riding, calf roping & barrel racing, just to name a few. I would dream that one day I’d get to barrel race in a rodeo. My dream never came true, but dreaming it created a life long memory. 

Back in those days the little old town of Hilo didn’t have its own country radio station so they had a program where for 3 hours or so, that was all they played. I remember one night while Loke and I listened to the 3 hour program of country music we drew a picture of our dream log cabins that we were going to live in one day. I wish I kept that picture. Another dream that didn’t come true, but the memory lives on.

Amazing Black Sand Beach on Hawaii
Thank you so much for sharing, Tamara! I remember eating chili and rice, too, when I lived in the islands. And I loved reading about your dreams of being in a rodeo and someday living in a log cabin!

Keep visiting my blog as I ask Tamara more questions, and she shares her memories and favorite things.

Aloha and Mahalo for Visiting!

The Hawaiian Island Detective Club
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I love hearing from my readers! Mahalo for visiting and commenting. Aloha! --Cheryl