Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 25, 2001
Christmas Day in Agoura Hills 


The Hawai`i- California  'Ohana
Agoura Hills, California
Click here for an enlargement

The feeling of close togetherness, an extended island family united by Aloha, and beliefs, and caring, and sharing, is what this Christmas gathering was all about.  

Who's in the picture? In no particular order: Uncle Clif, Aunty Blanche, Iain, Orin; Uncle LeRoy, Aunty Faith, Kisa; Kent, Loreen, Kyle; Uncle Larry, Aunty Bobbie, Brian; Jeff; Lisa, Ryan; Uncle Eddie, Aunty Aileen, Steve; Laurent, Judie; Aunty Sue, Samara, Jonathan, Alana; Uncle T and Aunty D.

 The 'Ohana version of the "Where's Waldo" game: 
Look at the picture above.
 Where's Alana? Where's Uncle Eddie?  Where's Aunty Blanche? Where's Kisa?  Where's Jeff? 
The person who spots ALL five wins a brand-new 8' X 5' flat-screen TV.

Next time, if somebody's blocking your face, no need be so polite. Deal wid it, island-style. Just give 'em one beeg whack on da head, and say, "Eh, brah/seestah, you in my face." No shame. He/She will get the message. We 'ohana, wot (We are family, aren't we?).

Our extended family's Christmas celebration is traditionally held at one of the kupuna (elder) -- that would be us --  generation's family home, potluck style. This year, the "next" generation picked up the hosting reins for the first time, and at 1o'clock, we hit the road, heading for Kent's, Loreen's and baby  Kyle's new home in Agoura Hills.  

Long drive, wuz, but traffic wuz good. We neva min' , not even litto beet. (Translation: It was a long drive, but traffic was good.  We didn't mind it, not even a little.)  Being with locals from Hilo, Ola`a (now known as Kea`au), and Honolulu, that pidgin comes right back!  

This Christmas Day in Southern California was gloriously clear and spectacularly sunny. Our eyes lapped up the urban sights as we drove through downtown LA, past Little Tokyo, before heading into "The Valley" and then finally arriving at Agoura Hills.  

We got to our destination at 2 pm, just in time.  The happening spot was on the lana`i (patio) with lots of wala`u (talk story, kibbitzing) about everything under that California Christmas sun:  defense missiles, Kyle, digital cameras, Kyle, trucks, Kyle, classical music, Kyle, fishing, Kyle, writing, Kyle, computers, and Kyle.  

L to R: Uncle Clif, Uncle LeRoy,Uncle Larry, Uncle T, & Uncle Eddie
The Cool Hawai`i Dudes on the Lana`i

Hawai`i Dudette Aunty Faith (Kyle's Gramma) was decked out in Christmas finery, including matching necklace and dangly earrings made out of itsy bitsy Christmas tree bulbs.

Wooo hooo!

Aunty Sue donned her Christmas sweater. 
Here's she's on that evil make-you-ppule (crazy) dance mat:
 < ^  < >  

Some dressed in festive holiday garb:  Uncle LeRoy in his red Aloha shirt; Uncle T in his Christmas Aloha shirt;  Uncle Larry with his t-shirt with The Lord's Prayer in Hawaiian, no less; Aunty Faith in her Christmas sweatshirt and jewelry;  Aunty Sue in her poinsettia sweater; and last, but not least, baby Kyle in his Christmas red overalls:

Uncle Brian, Nephew Kyle, Aunty Kisa

Nothing like local style pp  (hors d'oeurvres) to help the beer and punch go down. 

The Chinese market screwed up on Uncle Brian's clam order, but it turned out to be an unexpected windfall, as his cooked-on-the-spot Dungeness crabs were a HUUUUGE hit.  Aunty Aileen's platter of sliced sashimi, Uncle Eddie's boiled peanuts and edamame (soybeans) and Loreen's and Kisa's freshly fried  -- brok' da mout' -- stuffed won ton were also consumed with great relish by this group of islanders. Whoever made the clam dip -- that was real `ono, too.

Brian & Crab
Brian shared his crabs with the rest of us.
(somehow that didn't come out right)

L to R: Uncle T, Lisa, Ryan's back, Uncle Larry, busy barbequeing 
(yes, in December!), Steve, Aunty Aileen, Aunty Blanche: 
Deez guys wen w'ack doz crab.  Dey wen hahdleh come up foah ehyah.
Translation for the kotonks:  They consumed those crabs with gusto, barely coming up for air.

Mother & Daughter Crab-Eating Team:
Aunty Blanche & Grandma Yamamoto (Kyle's Great Gramma) from O`ahu
"You can do better than that. 
Ooooopen wiiiiiide!"

Iain and Aunty D 

Author! Author!

with Laurent on the other side of the camera
"Great shot, Laurent!"

The Newest Expatriates from O'ahu: 
Lisa (HBA grad) & Ryan (St. Louis grad)

E Komo Mai i ka H ka Beeeg Island! 
(Welcome to the Mainland!)

Gathered in the dining room, kitchen and family room were more clusters of chattering groups. 

L-R:  Samara, Jonathan, Alana, Orin

Wouldn't you like to know what the cuzzes are looking at? 

Hint: they're stationed in the PLAY room.

The apple of everyone's eye was KYLE -- the first grandkid for this 'ohana. Just plain irresistible, he stole my heart, and everyone else's. He never ever fussed, not even once, although the rest of us did a fantastic job of fussing over him. What a Sweetie!

Grandpa Larry

Sweetheart Kyle!

Grandpa LeRoy

Kent's and Loreen's is the perfect home for our `ohana gatherings, and a row of tables and chairs, easily seating all 27 of us, stretched across their great room. The house was decorated with two trees: one with Disney ornaments for Kyle in the foyer, and the other with gifts piled high underneath it in the living room. 

The Gryffindors in front.

As host family, Kent and Loreen supplied the main dish -- turkey, stuffing, gravy, rice (with island folks, a must) and all the trimmings, paperware -- no washing dishes for this akamai (smart) group -- and hashi (wooden chopsticks). 

The Slytherins in back.

The rest of us guests are the potluckers, and the meal was rounded out with island-style potato-macaroni crab salad, tofu salad, sashimi, tossed salad, and  teriyaki steaks.  With coffee, luscious apple pies, jello cream pie squares, and fancy cookies finished up the meal. 

I think this photo is superfluous.
The previous two shots covered everyone.
But Jonathan's smile cracked me up and I just had to include it here.

"What smile is that?" you ask.
It's this one:

"Too many soybeans!"

And then, the GAME began.  Who could build the coolest house out of graham crackers, M&Ms, candy canes, mints, chocolate candies, gumdrops, candy corn, marshmallows, mini-oreos, wheat squares, red whips, shredded coconuts, sprinkles, using marshmallow creme as glue?

The competition was hot and furious, and the four teams pulled together to erect walls, reconstruct crumbling walls, landscape the grounds, build a moat and even place a manger in the sideyard.  

Gothic Cathedral with Landscaping
Team 1: 
Aunty Aileen, Uncle Eddie, 
Uncle T and Orin

Castle with Drawbridge and Moat
Team 2: 
Uncle Larry, Laurent, 
Steve and Aunty D

Rustic Cabin with Collapsible Walls
Team 3: 
Uncle Clif, Iain, 
Brian, Jeff 

Suburban House with Manger 
Team 4: 
Aunties Blanche, Aunty Bobbie, 
Kisa, Judie

So, who won? You be the judge.  

All good things must come to an end, and we said our late night goodbyes amid hugs, kisses, and gift exchanges. Christmas 2001 in Agoura was a special time of gift-giving, talk story, laughing and teasing, visiting family and friends, feasting, and the usual fierce, cut-throat competition.

We missed you, Cassie and Ethan in Colorado and Shannon and Matt in Massachusetts!  As I put this together, I hoped to bring a little bit of your families to you.  Know that we are thinking of you with lots of love.


"Life is a Gift."

With Christmas cheer,
Author Unknown

aka Aunty D

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


past    the present    future

who | what | archives | comments | photos


This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2001