So now that you know my backstory, I’ll continue with my story.
Did you miss Part 1? It’s here: https://planetmaui.com/whats-with-all-the-chickens-on-maui
I arrived on Maui late at night, my sister picked me up at the airport, and when I awoke early the next morning in Paia and walked outside, what should I see but two hens with a clutch of chicks scratching in the front yard!
Well, all those summers on the farm cut in. Escaped chickens need to be herded back into the pen before the dogs, foxes, or whatever get them. I looked around and deduced there must be a hen house down the alley between the two homes across the street.
So here I am at the crack of dawn in a dead-end lane in Paia, innocently herding chicks and chickens back to their presumed hen house, when the Devil Rooster From Hell rockets screaming from under the house and attacks me with beak, claws and flapping wings.
Seriously, this rooster was a throwback to prehistoric times, and looked to be more Velociraptor, maybe even Tyrannosaurus Rex, than chicken.
Understand that by the time I was five years old, “I t’weren’t a’feared a’ no chicken.” But this, this, this, THING was so ferocious, so aggressive, so insane that he drove me back.
And halfway up a palm tree.
AND it kept attacking with beak, claws and flapping wings!
I looked for a stick. Or a baseball bat. Preferably a club. Better yet, a spear. A BIG spear.
I was limited in my access to weapons, being six feet up a palm tree, kicking off airborne attacks by Roostero Diablo.
Yes, Amelia, feral chickens can fly. That’s how they spend the night in trees.
So of course that’s when my sister runs out and hollers, “WHAT are you doing???!!! Leave that poor chicken alone!”
The DRFH was squawking and flapping, dogs were barking, the two hens were clucking in panic and running down the street with their chicks, and my sister was yelling at me for the first time in 30 years.
“Somebody’s chickens got out,” I hollered, trying to sound calm and collected while kicking the rooster away. “I was trying to get them back to the hen house when the Devil Rooster From HELL attacked me.”
By this time most of the neighbors had come out, too. The lane was full of people. Hawaiian, Japanese, Samoan, Philippino, Chinese and Anglo. Hawaii’s quite the melting pot, and everyone was chattering in their own lingo. This must be what the Tower of Babel was like.
Of course, everybody was pointing and laughing at the dude in the tree, chicken of the chicken.
Once the neighbors came out, of course the DRFH feigned innocence and quietly retreated back under the house. And everybody explained about the feral chickens of Maui to me. At the same time. In their own languages.
When I finally got back in the house I made myself a four-egg omelet – as revenge.
My nickname for the remainder of my month-long visit became Haole [howlie] Boi.
Not just in the neighborhood. Oh, no! There’s a Coconut Telegraph on Maui. By mid-morning, when my sister and I walked to the beach, people asked her, “Is dat you bruddah Haole Boi you wit’?”
“Yes-yes,” she’d reply. So much for family loyalty. Then they would talk story (Hawaiians don’t just chat), and have a good laugh while I feigned interest in the displays in the shop windows.
Hawaiians refer to their own as Kanakas. Then there are Visitors, who are here for a week or so. The Kama’aina are people that have moved to Hawaii and embraced it as their home. And then there are the Haoles, the outsiders who never fit it. I’d been branded within 12 hours of my arrival.
Branded for life, it turns out.
Two days later we were in Lahaina, an hour’s drive from Paia, and people proclaimed, “Oh, look! It’s Linda da Teacha’ wit’ ‘er bruddah Haole Boi.”
Then people stopped calling her “Linda da Teacher” and started calling her “Haole Boi’s sistah.”
Linda was so humiliated that she made me buy her house. She moved up-country to Haiku and changed schools during summer break. Three years of being considered Kama’aina had been overturned in one morning by her brother Haole Boi. Me.
So humiliated that when I sent her a rough draft of this story, she made me change her name to Linda for the story.
That was almost 20 years ago. After a few years I moved to Kihei where I’m rarely recognized anymore. Still, when I visit Linda she says, “Please call first so I can meet you out at the main road.” It’s like she’s living in the witness protection program.
She doesn’t really live in Haiku, either. She also made me change her town for this story.
So much for family loyalty.
Almost 20 years have gone by and…
Last week we went walking down our old street in Paia. Our neighbor Maka came out of her house, grinned, waved, and called out, “Marialani! Hey! Hey! C’mere! C’mere! Looky-Looky! It’s Haole Boi an’ ‘is sistah da Teacha’! Hey, Haole Boi! You catchin’ any mo’ chicken now?”
And THAT is the story of my brush with death with the Feral Chickens of Maui.
AND why they call me Haole Boi on the North Shore of Maui…
Oh. You can’t eat the damn things, either. They taste terrible, probably because they live on cockroaches and centipedes. Of course, that’s their upside, too.
A Parting Postscript
A devout paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range in upper Kula.
Three weeks later, a Maui chicken walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the chicken’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”
“Not really,” said the chicken. “Your name is written inside the cover.”
But wait! It ain’t over yet: