When I was a little girl we lived across the street from the Canefields in Honokaa, Hawaii.
Besides having the perks you get for growing up in a tropical paradise I lived in place where I was taught to recognize and name Spirits and Ghosts, I learned how to protect myself from demons and curses and I also learned how to grow my own food, take care of trauma injuries and I leaarned how to tell a story.
So tonight, out here on Anita’s Owl Creek Bridge I thought I’d share some stories about my childhood home- the only problem I had was where to start.
And I finally decided on
The Cane Field Cats.
Every morning my after my Grandmother would get my Aunts and Uncles set off to work and the older kids set off to school she and I would get ready for the Canfield Cats.
Every morning we would feed the cats a mixture of fresh fish and shrimp and rice.
My Grandmother would turn the mixture over and over with her hands and then she’d put the food in pie pans and I would take it out to the little place under the coconut tree my Grandfather made special for the cats.
I’d put the pans down and run back to the lowest step and my Grandmother would stand on the top step and she’d call the cats down and as they’d all walk towards us they used to look up at me and meow.
” Tell them hello” my Grandmother would say.
I would say hello and then I’d look back up at her and she said, ” Don’t let anybody touch them Anita”
That wasn’t hard- nobody wanted to touch my Cane Field Cats, they wouldn’t lean over to pet them or talk to them the way I did.
My older cousins would look grim when they saw the Cats and my Aunts and Uncles and my Mom would just look at me and they’d say, ” they’re not pets you know.”
As time went on the cats spent more and more time with me- they’d take off for the Fields at night but during the day they’d follow me around.
They would sit next to me when I was playing outside, or they’d crawl under my bed at nap time and when I’d go out on the porch to practice my singing they’d sun themselves on the steps and watch.
My cousins used to call the cats ” Anita’s Shadow “.
Here’ the funny thing about ” Anita’s Shadow “-
My dad was a shutterbug- he loved to take pictures and I was a very unwilling model ( I was about four at the time ) and the only way he could get pictures of me was to sneak up and take them when I wasn’t looking.
So you would think that in at least one of those pictures- in a corner or off to the side or under my feet or sitting next to me or near me ( because they were Always there ) would be at least one picture of those Cane Field Cats.
There are no pictures of those cats- and when I asked about it years later my Dad got that same grim look on his face that everyone had when they saw those cats around the yard and he said ” ask your Mother ”
Thinking my Mom knew where I could find a picture I went and asked her about the Cane Field Cats and she pulled out an album, turned a page to pictures of me and she said, ” they’re there Anita…they’re in every single picture.”
” There are no cats in those pictures Mom.” I said without looking down.
” That’s the problem Anita, you’re looking for Cats.”
One of these days I’ll look at those pictures again-