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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Wild Hurricanes I Have Known..." 'Bettejo Dux' (Vintage Bettejo)

Bettejo Dux has lived on the cosmic Garden
 Island of Kaua'i for over 40 years.

Bettejo is a regular opinion writer in the Garden Island news
 and is the author of the famed novella, "The Scam." 
 Her latest fiction"Children of extinction"
 is now  released and available on Amazon!
Bettejo at 84 years young taking time
 out of her busy day for one of many
scheduled book signings.
Wild Hurricanes I Have Known

Bettejo at the Martin Luther King Jr.
festivities at Kukui Grove back in 2013

 I've weathered four.  My husband and I escaped the ravages of Typhoon Jean, dodging caribou and ballistic teak logs the size of a Kauai bus shooting by us in a Philippine Airline jet taking off from a beach in Aparri, a primitive village in the province of Cagayan, Luzon-one bar, one outdoor movie, one hotel- on the banks of the South China Sea.  Aparri survived. Today it's a first class municipality.

We made the fastest flight- ever- back to Manila that day. Jean was the biggest typhoon of the season.

A typhoon is a hurricane that swirls and whirls and rips around in another neighborhood.

The Aparri memory is a cute story I tell often.

But hurricanes are not cute. No one can ever say 'been there, done that' or 'seen one seen 'em all' . Platitudes don't apply. Each storm's different. They've personalities all their own, and always a very human side.

In 1970 we were in Mississippi a year after Hurricane Camille demolished Gulfport and were amazed at the mess. A tug boat still  balanced  on its keel in the middle of a forest. It looked as though it'd just been planted. Along millionaire's row, all a two story mansion had to show for itself were water pipes standing upright indicating bathrooms on a vanished second floor.

Hurricane Iwa-November 22, 1982-sent our beloved boat, Warpath in Kukuiula Harbor, over the top of a swimming pool and broke her back. She was headed for safe port in the red barn across the street.  We'd built the barn for $900.00. All by myself I tar- papered the roof. Not a corner  lifted. On Kauai's millionaire's row, it looked as though a war had gone through.

I'd spent a terrifying night in the barn with my horses in the lava rock house up the Alexander Dam Road. All I was was the howl of that wind

Bill-who was needed at the power plant in Wainiha- and I, coming home that  night, had a most incredible surprise in store for us.. On the north shore at Tahiti Nui, Louise Marston  prepared-on the beach-a Thanksgiving dinner to end all Thanksgiving dinners-the works-to those who could find their way to her open door. A generous, marvelous, wonderful woman, I miss her. We sat at a savory table with locals, hippies, surfers, tourists from everywhere, survivors, and indulged. I've never felt so thankful. I didn't say grace but I thought it.

Back home, we'd just put the roof on our new house. Not a shingle lifted.

September 11, 1992, Iniki- the strongest storm to hit Hawaii-barreled through. I was alone. I spent the night here.  Three horses locked in stalls. Me and the dogs and cats hunkered down in my old Buick. I had carrots for the horses, nibbles for the dog and cats, and a bottle of wine for me. Before the night was over, the horses were eating dog food while the dogs and cats munched carrots. I didn't share the wine.

My experienced advice during hurricane season? Be prepared.

Bettejo a few years back playing checkers
with her nephew...

Hana Hou, (Encore)  Shared From Facebook...

This is what we call, "a bed of books!"


KimoRosen said...

Bettejo, When you say,"I've weathered four." I thought you meant husbands until I read on...Another great column!

Steve Saylor said...

Not a shingle lifted. Hmm, I might need a new roof. Now I know who to call

Debbie Eayrs said...

I took Kali to Hawaii and 2 days later Iwa hit! It was our first time to Hawaii.... argh!

Debbie Eayrs said...

I took Kali to Hawaii and 2 days later Iwa hit! It was our first time to Hawaii.... argh!

KimoRosen said...

Really, you never told me that? What island were you guys on?

Debbie Eayrs said...


KimoRosen said...

So how bad was it in Honolulu?

Debbie Eayrs said...

electricity went out.... had our apt been facing the ocean we would have been taken out... once the electricity came up we were able to have a tv dinner for thanksgiving. Amazing we didn't lose anything. We were in an L shaped apt building and the surf bashed in the center part and left the sides.... we had no idea what was going on......we were in darkness and could only hear the storm.

KimoRosen said...

wow, great story, glad you survived the storm, what a bummer for a first trip to Hawaii though...