Tourist Tuesdays are when I push myself to become a tourist in my own everyday world. This Tuesday, we have a special guest. Muddy Kinzer, MNINB poet and SAHM gives us a family tour of the Dole Pineapple Plantation. I admit it has been down-right decades since I pulled into that parking lot. I currently live mauka of the old cannery which now houses chi-chi restaurants, boutiques, and a cineplex. Her post reminds me of the days when the overwhelming scent on the air as I disembarked a plane at HNL was that of a pineapple upside-down cake. Not a bad smell to associate with industrial chimney exhaust. Without further ado, here’s Muddy’s memories. Please stop by the comments and share your own.~Lara
BIO: My name is Muddy Kinzer and there is life after kids! After years of living in the trenches of infancy and toddlerhood with my 3 sons, I have lately discovered that they don’t need me as much, except for my chauffeuring prowess and my ability to rescue school reports accidentally shipped off into cyberspace. The question is, now that I have the time and freedom to pursue my own interests, what are they? What do I want to do with my life? All I know for sure is that my family, writing, art, and good chocolate will be a part of my future, and wherever it leads, I am looking forward to the journey! I write fiction, specifically women’s lit, and personal essays. I can be found at my blog Muddying the Waters, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Every year on our way to Haleiwa on the North Shore, we pass a lonely stretch of Kamehameha Highway where there is nothing for miles…except Dole Plantation, which rises up out of nowhere with a life-sized parking lot against a backdrop of acres of pineapple plants.
Every year, I suggest we visit and I am promptly outvoted. I can’t blame my family; what pleasure can a pineapple plantation offer that could rival the sand and surf at our beach house?
But this year, during a visit to Shark’s Cove, my youngest son got into an altercation with a piece of coral. Several steri-strips and a gauze bandage later, we were released from the doctor’s office with the news that he could not get his toe wet for 10 days. We were in Hawaii on Spring Break: what were we going to do that didn’t involve water?
Dole Plantation, here we come!
I pulled into the parking lot with my three grumpy kids and headed straight for the gift shop. That’s right: bribery.
It was a lot like a pineapple-themed Disneyland: expensive, crowded, and more ways to market the image of a pineapple than you can imagine. I let my sons pick out a souvenir, and I picked one myself: the famous DoleWhip with fresh pineapple on top. Then it was on to something I thought my kids would enjoy.
Named 2008’s Guinness Book of World Records World’s Largest Maze, this 3-acre maze boasted 2 ½ miles of paths with 8 secret stations to find. It could be a race: the fastest finishers got their names recorded at the maze’s entrance. Standing at the gate, I could see my sons start to perk up. A maze? Secret stations? I smiled smugly. I knew coming here would be fun!
We divided into two teams: my two oldest on one, and my youngest and I on the other, with me ready to carry him should his toe start hurting.
Winding through hedges of plants taller than I was, two things soon became apparent:
1) He had a much better sense of direction than I did.
2) I was mildly concerned I might never find the entrance again, let alone my two older sons.
It didn’t help that we couldn’t find a single station. What did they look like? Were they big or small? Hidden or obvious?
My son plowed ahead, selecting paths as the spirits moved him and—finally!—he found a station! They were silver, with a slot in which to slide our cards and stencil the symbol of the station we had found: a pineapple. Fitting!
2 ½ Miles of Torture
Spurred on by our success, we found three more stations (if you don’t count the 17 times we came across the pineapple station again) before he cried uncle. I piggybacked him while carrying souvenir bags, our cards, and a pencil. I turned right, left, or went straight as he dictated, and pretty soon, my steps slowed, my brow grew sweaty, my back began protesting, and the shopping bags dug into my forearm cutting off all circulation. But my passenger was on a mission and the kid had had a rough day. If he wanted to find all 8 stations, then that’s what I was going to give him…with help.
When we unexpectedly popped out into the center of the maze, we made a beeline for the front entrance and the answer key. Our time would be nullified, but my back didn’t care in the least.
Even with the answer key, it was hard to negotiate the maze. The hula girl and the warrior were elusive. We walked in, out, and around paths that dead-ended and led the wrong way. On our quest for the last station, we ran into my oldest sons. They, too, were looking for the warrior with the answer key in their hands. When we finally found him, we were all together in our triumphant moment: we had conquered the maze! (With a cheat sheet.)
I am not glad that my son’s injury was the catalyst for exploring Dole Plantation, but I was happy we got to see it, and the maze turned into a highlight of our trip.
Next year, when we pass by Dole Plantation, I won’t need to suggest a visit. Instead, I can say “Remember how much fun we had at the maze?” And they will.