Of Pledges, Mail, Seasons, Trees

A bit of this and that, or as we used to say back in the day, dis and dot …

As an independent, lowercase i because the most charitable description of the way I tend to look at political parties is askance I’ve been appalled at the various “pledges” that some special interest groups have demanded political candidates sign. And even more appalled at the candidates who sign. Because to me the only pledge any of us needs to take is the one that begins, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands …”

I’ve been pleasantly surprised no, amazed at all of the mail I received on my recent column about how America the Beautiful came to be. In fact, nothing I’ve ever written generated as much comment. I was told it was even part of a monthly dinner among a group of friends who gather for conversation on a specific topic, on this occasion patriotic songs.

And I learned that “America’s hymn” is sung in Protestant, Catholic and Mormon church services. I’d wager there aren’t many songs of which that can be said …

Why so much positive response? Just guessing, but it starts with the song’s celebration of what is best about America and in us, what we love most about our country, and what we still want it to be especially at a time when political parties more resemble cults, and seem unable or unwilling to govern for the greater good of all Americans. Plus, it’s just a wonderful song, musically and lyrically. A heart-felt mahalo to all who took the time to read and to respond …

No offense to friends and associates who’ve sent email messages asking me to join them in various social media, including LinkedIn, all of which I’ve ignored. Sorry, I’m on Facebook and that’s usually more than I can handle in a day. And on Facebook, I don’t “friend” people I don’t know. Yes, I know, old-fashioned …

With last week’s issue, MidWeek began its 28th year of publishing. Yup, it was July 24, 1984, when that first issue hit Oahu mail boxes, with grinning Joe Moore gracing the cover. Thank you to all halfmillion or so of you who open the paper each week. I can assure you that our entire staff is dedicated to bringing you a great newspaper every issue. And please support the advertisers who make it possible for us to bring you MidWeek for free, because they are literally paying the bills …

This is one of my favorite seasons in Hawaii, when colorful shower trees blossom, and delicate petals fall and swirl like snow. It’s also the happy season when a tall tree up my street blossoms with purple flowers in cone-shaped groupings. Not knowing its name, I emailed Duane Choy, who writes about plants and trees for the StarAdvertiser. Duane emailed me back right away. The tree, he says, is variously known as the Queen’s Crape Myrtle or Giant Crape Myrtle, as well as Pride of India. With cool monikers like that, I like it even more.

I also asked Duane about shower trees.

“The rainbow shower tree was adopted as the official city tree of Honolulu in 1965,” he says, detailing our variety of shower trees:

Golden Shower, Yellow Shower, Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) from India; Pink Shower, Coral Shower (Cassia grandis) from subtropical America; Pink and White Shower (Cassia javanica) from Indonesia; Rainbow Shower (Cassia x nealiae), a shower tree that was hybridized in Hawaii from Cassia fistula and Cassia javanica.

Duane says there are several “cultivars” (propagated not from seed but from stem cuttings) of rainbow shower trees, including:

Lunalilo Yellow has flower buds that open a bright yellow-orange, and fade to a bright yellow; Queen’s Hospital White has flowers that open pale yellow, and fade rapidly to very light yellow to white; Wilhelmina Tenney, the official city tree of Honolulu, has flowers that open with a deep cerise, fading to paler shades with age, and the insides of petals are yellowish; Nii Gold has flower buds of a deep gold fading to prominent yellow.

I love ‘em all …

Another season is about to start the golden plovers that departed in late April are due back soon with their “keiki o ka tundra” …

Which will signal the start of another favorite season: football! …

And dot’s all, folks …

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