The Caretaker of Salt Pond: Uncle Louis Almodova Jr.

1 January 2005 - 8:30am

Uncle Louis and friends harvest taro in 1980

The Caretaker of Salt Pond

By Betty S.

During the summer of 1980 I was with my teenage daughter and some friends, their 3 teenagers and grandmother camping at Salt Pond. We had spent an uncomfortable windy night and were collapsed on the beach that afternoon wondering whether to stay there or not, when Uncle Louis came to meet us and help. We all chatted awhile and he invited our group of 8 out to his daughter's family taro farm to help harvest taro.

We had no idea what we were getting into. His directions to the farm were Hawaiian style and we were very Mainland, so it was a challenge. We were to drive over the small bridge that branched off the main Hanapepe road, go past the goat farm, turn right at the tree. When I asked the address he looked somewhat puzzled and then said he'd put a newspaper over the mailbox.

We found the farm and upon going out back saw the taro growing in a watery field. We tentatively walked out to the taro field to help harvest the taro and somewhat squeamishly waded into the above ankle level watery, murky rows. Frogs and who knows what else were jumping around in there. With each step our thongs suctioned on the soupy mud base.

We all soon pitched in with his family and harvested some taro for about an hour or so. During this time we joined with them singing Hawaiian songs (we hummed along) and then sang some songs we all knew. We were mud filled but happy. Despite initially not wanting to get dirty, even the 3 teen age girls with us had fun!

A tutu (it might have been Uncle Louis' mother, I'm not sure) had prepared pupus and afterward we all sat around and, as Uncle Louis would say, talked story. Uncle Louis bestowed our Hawaiian names on us and declared my friend's mother to be "Tutu".

Louis Almodova Jr in Hanapepe Valley, 1980

This memorable afternoon was the beginning of a long and rich friendship with this dear man. We still talk about it from time to time and looking at the photos we took brings back the memories full force. Since that time many of my friends have met Uncle Louis through me and some are still in contact with him. We all feel enriched by the spirit of Aloha he so generously gives to all with whom he comes in contact.

See also:
Island Breath: Uncle Louis - The Caretaker of Salt Pond
Island Breath: Uncle Louis remembers the Eleele School Song
Island Breath: Unlce Louie Tales - The Rumba Kings
Island Breath; Uncle Louie Tells the Menehune Fishpond story
Island Breath: Uncle Louis tells the Two Dragons of Lawai story
Island Breath: Hanapepe Mochi Pounding

Island Breath: Uncle Louis Tales - Last Football game & the D7 Bulldozer
Island Breath: Uncle Louis - The mayor of Salt Pond

Ea O Ka Aina: Salt Dedication to Uncle Louis