When I tell people I used to be a dancer the first type of dance that enters their mind is ballet. Then modern. Then jazz. Then tap. Never hula.
When I say I’ve been a hula dancer for most of my life, a lot of people ask, “Hula hooping?”
“No,” I say. “Think grass skirts and coconut bras.”
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When Trish was little she lived in a small house with her grandparents and her older brother, Nanny. In the backyard, Trish and Nanny’s grandfather grew strawberries. Rows and rows of strawberry plants stretched from the back sliding glass door to the high, brown wooden fence.
They were Trish’s first memories, those strawberries.
Trish would wander the garden, waddling on her chunky, toddler legs over uneven soil through the strawberry patches plucking the bright red berries with her clumsy hands. She would grab them, tug them off the magical green plants they grew on, and cram them into her voracious mouth, stuffing them in with her stubby little fingers.
In one such strawberry-related memory Trish recalled Nanny trying to trick her into eating a ladybug. He disguised it as a strawberry.
His fingers snuck the ladybug into Trish’s mouth, but she bit down in an effort to stop him. She told the story over and over, a hundred times through her teenage and young adult years, of her older brother’s cruel treachery. Not until her mid-twenties did she finally muster the courage to confront him.
“You tried to make me eat a ladybug! Do you remember that?!” she asked, feigning disbelief. In truth, her older brother was just crazy enough to do it.
“What are you talking about?!?!” Nanny replied. “I was trying to STOP you! You were trying to eat it and I was trying to save the ladybug from you!”
“Oh,” she replied.
Strawberries were never the same again.