Tag Archives: kauai
Those of you who follow this blog know I mainly use it as a vehicle to muse about existence and rarely use it to promote myself. But, just found out that one of our promo pieces was chosen as one of the Best of 2015 by A Photo Editor. You probably know that Rob Haggart gets a ton of promo pieces every day and feel pretty honored. You might notice the new Ted Catanzaro 2016 imitation wood grain calendar strategically placed in a blatant attempt at some shameless promotion and the large number of hashtags I’ve added that is supposed to reach a larger audience. AND if you act now, you might be able to get one to adorn your desktop throughout the year!
Surfing is partially about texture. It’s about feeling. Feeling stripped down to the basics- you’re wearing baggies and a leash you’re tethered to your board. Smelling wax, salt water splashes in my face as Theo, Ollie and I make the long ass 1/2 mile paddle out to Tunnels and experience a true Hawaiian 6′- 8′ session. On the paddle in, my arms feeling like old dry rubber bands, flanked by my boys giggling, pulling on each others and my leash asking for a tow in, asking what’s for dinner. Back on the beach someone asks if there were waves out there. I say, “Yeah, we got a few.”
We take the road back instead of the beach our feet walking through mud puddles, pavement and pine needles. I’m pretty proud of these guys.
Just after six o’clock the players started arriving to the farm with all the essentials; gloves, beer and a few bongs. I had heard about the weekly Friday night softball game called “farm ball” even before we got to Kauai. Nestled between the pineapples and bananas, Bruce Fehring has been hosting farm ball for the past 5 years on the west side of his organic farm. I hadn’t played ball in years except for the occasional game of catch with one of my boys in our yard and rumors of rowdiness, drinking, cursing and “not really a place for young kids” had me a bit intimidated.
A barbecue was dragged near the quiver of aluminum bats and one wooden Louisville Slugger as we picked teams. Ollie and I were picked last. Our captain introduced himself as Nestor. I wasn’t sure if that was his first or last name. He wore a red, white and blue baseball jersey with the word Boricua emblazed across the front, pin stripped athletic pants and a Mets cap. He was our pitcher too. We were team B.
Sam and Theo were on Team A. Also on this team was Wade who is visiting Kauai and staying on the farm in a tent. Wade hasn’t owned a car since 1994 and travels everywhere on his bike. He also keeps the local rooster population down on the farm with his .22 caliber b.b. gun rifle and claims to be an official softball umpire in New Zealand. He did “work” last weeks game but angered players with his steadfast rules which he refused to bend. This week he kept on reminding everyone that the strike zone is not a two dimensional square but in reality a 3 dimensional pentahedron.
Farm ball rules are pretty much the same as baseball except when it comes to balls hit to the outfield. This is where subjectivity seeps in and grown ups start arguing like little kids. Anything hit into Bruce’s pineapple field near right field is an automatic out. If the ball travels over the plastic fencing in right and center field and into the head high Guinea grass it could be a double, triple or home run. I’m not really sure how they figure that out but with a bit of yelling everyone usually comes to a consensus. Sam was 4 for 4 with all his balls hit deep into the Guinea grass. Left field consists of banana trees and palm trees and is really confusing. I really didn’t understand what was fail or foul. There was an orange cone tucked into the palms that signified a foul pole of sorts but I was told if you think the ball is going to go to the left of it, ” just leave it alone.”
Ollie made the Catanzaro boys welcome with a first inning, run saving, third out catch in right field where he ended up falling on his butt and was able to hold onto the ball. Trotting back to the bench with a big smile on his face he got the nick name “Little Man”. When our team was up at bat, Bruce would pick ripe pineapples to sell at the farmers market the next day. There was a steady supply of kielbasa on the barbecue and some discreet bong hits on the bench.
It was getting dark and Bruce said that this would be the last inning. An amazing sunset was lighting up the sky behind home plate. I have always said that Dodger Stadium is beautiful at sunset but tonight at the Fehring Family Farms’ Field of Dreams there couldn’t have been a lovelier ball field anywhere on earth. There was the unmistakeable “dink” sound of a ball being hit by an aluminum bat and it sailed high and deep to right field, landing in the “Little Mans” glove making the third out and ending the game.
It’s not easy getting out of town. Between tying up the countless loose ends that come with leaving your house in the care of strangers, packing, Henry staying home, and having our nations’ new poet laureate converging at our house for a last minute portrait amongst the chaos, we somehow find ourselves waiting to board a plane to Kauai.
We met Lois this year. Every day we set up our hammock in between two palm trees in front of her house that her husband Fred built many years ago. Lois is great, she is a photographer, has traveled around the world, collects shells, plays the ukulele and sings beautifully. Simon and Lois became great friends. He would ask us if it was okay to go to Lois’ to polish shells.
Making the half mile paddle out to Tunnels for the 2nd time in one day might have been a bit too much for a guy reaching the age that Don Drysdale wore on the back of his uniform. Ollie was complaining that we were paddling too fast on the way in so I let him grab onto my leash and I towed him back to the beach while the sun was going down.
The next morning I wake up with a stiff neck, my elbow feels like my funny bone is being continually whacked and my left index finger is numb. Oh, and I have no power in my left arm either. I try acupuncture and a massage which helps the pain but I still can’t stand up on my board or do upward dog.
A few days go by and I’m still in a lot of pain. A neighbor recommends a doctor in Hanalei who is an old surfer. Dr. Rich Blair sees me early the next morning. His daughter is studying to be an EMT on Oahu and is helping out in the office. She takes my blood pressure and then takes her dad’s car keys along with the Hamilton standup board in the back. Turns out Dr. Blair is a friend of the Hamilton’s and this is one of Laird’s boards.
Dr. Blair is in dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and surf trunks. He’s in his 70’s and in great shape. He examines me and says that I pinched a nerve. He gives my an ultra sound treatment, a bit of a massage and cracks my back. Dr. Blair tells me I should try doing stand-up surfing because it’s easier on your neck muscles. I get back home feel much better but still can’t make the transition from my stomach to standing.
Speaking of my stomach. Our friend Celia made us Kalua Pig and it was so good.