As you know BW and I just returned from a couple of weeks in Hawaii. It was glorious. The temperatures ranged from the high 80s during the day to the bone-jarring low 70s at night.
Hawaiians wear sheep line coats and hoodies when it gets that cold. I said to a local, "Why don't you come to Indiana if you want to know what cold is?" He said, "Why would I want to do that?" I had no answer.
Which brings me to the hula. The hula supposedly is used to tell a story. Of course when in Hawaii one must experience the hula dance and most entertainment venues harass Hoosiers and other mainlanders to come out of the audience and learn to do the hula. It is embarrassing. I resemble a constipated sumo wrestler trying to feel his way to Fort Necessity through a bamboo forest at night.
Of course the hula is performed by beautiful wahines (single girls to Hoosiers) who move gracefully about while mainlanders clump about like Junior Samples trying to stamp out the fire under his still. Hairy legged boys also dance in very manly warrior moves. They scare me. OK, Hula Honeys, let's see you do a Midwestern square dance and see how clumsy you are.
The islanders say, with a straight face, the story is told with the hands unlike the Tahitians who tell the story with their hips. Either way I get the message.
It all begins with the feet. The feet bones are connected to the leg bones which oddly enough are connected to the hip bones. The wahines move their feet as if they are trying to gently feel their way across an unfamiliar rocky road in the dark and that movement is exaggerated when the hips move also. Now I get it.
I can't determine if they are telling a story or giving directions on how to get to Indy from Calvertville. The arms and hands are used extensively. First, one arm is extended to one side as if to say, "You go that way." Then the other arm is extended as if to say, "No, that is not the way, go that way." Then they are both extended as if to say, "I caught one this big," and everyone snickers and says sure, sure. Then both arms are extended to one side as if to say, "I really, really mean it this is the way over here." Then they are extended to the other side as if to say, "No, I was wrong. I am sorry because on further thought this is the way over here." Then to the front while implying, "You might want to try this way," then overhead as if to say, "No, no it is up there some times" or "Touchdown Hoosiers." I'm not sure what they are saying.
Back to the hip movement. When the wahines move their hips it looks like two large barn cats fighting over a mouse in a toe sack. To the uneducated and unwashed, me, there are only three or four movements and after a time I begin to feel, "I've seen this before. Bust a new move girlies."
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State University -- four times. He can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656.