As a youngster growing up on the Island of Maui, I had a best girlfriend with whom I got into a lot of mischief. We never went looking for trouble, yet trouble always seemed to find us.
Take the time Lee and I went in search of stray kittens. It was either her cat or mine that had given birth to a litter. We were sure the kittens had been sequestered nearby. We searched in and around both our houses, scouring the surrounding shrubbery as well, and my mom’s greenhouse. It only seemed natural that the cat would want to keep her young safe from prying eyes and worse, bothersome children.
Not finding our prey, my sidekick and I ventured into uncharted territory, a neighbor’s yard.
An elderly, Japanese couple owned the property which backed up against both ours. Separated by a tall, wooden fence, we could only glimpse the tops of their papaya trees.
Proceeding cautiously, we crept onto virgin territory.
Stepping gingerly between rows of vegetables foreign to me at the time, we mewed softly hoping for a response. It didn’t take long when, to our delighted surprise, one white kitten scampered across our path and out of sight. Darting to and fro we tried to pick up its trail. With the noon sun beating down upon us, we paused to find respite in the shade of the papaya trees.
Relaxing my guard I leaned back against a papaya tree, wrapping my arms around its scrawny trunk. Lee and I soon found ourselves laughing giddily. Chasing after kittens in the neighbor’s yard seemed deliciously naughty, and tons of fun.
As if on cue, we heard someone stirring inside the house.
Preparing to flee, the tree moved with me as I straightened up. My heart dropped to my toes when I realized that the tree had come loose from its hole in the ground. With mouths agape and eyes darting toward the front of the house where the owners would soon emerge to see what was afoot, Lee and I hadn’t a clue what to do with the tree. Sounds of a door slamming and footsteps in the carport catapulted me into action. With arms still wrapped securely around its trunk, I leaned the papaya tree against another of its kind nearby.
Without looking back, Lee and I bolted out the side gate through which we had entered. We took refuge on our side of the tall fence, too scared to talk. Hunkering down in fearful excitement, we could hear soft voices grumbling. I’m sure they weren’t saying “Hot diggity dog! Just what we wanted…a broken papaya tree!”
While we were never found out, my friend and I never trespassed onto the neighbor’s property again. We did, however, manage to find ourselves entangled in other such uproarious adventures.
Crazy escapades were just part of our childhood, Lee’s and mine. We were just lucky that way…I guess.