August 11, 1938
Dear Vern, Fern and Karl,
Ia ora na outou! E mea maitai anei outou? Mai te mea e, ua mauruuru vau . Well, that is just getting even with you for the first Tahitian you ever pulled on me. Remember? I couldn't understand a word when you wrote in my book, and I have spent quite some time trying to figure out what it said... Well, I'm still trying. Maybe your Tahitian isn't the kind the Tahitian people use. Oh well! It was a good attempt; I know what you mean.
I received your letter August 10, (yesterday) and was pleased to hear from you. I'm sorry you had to write first. I've been wanting to write to you but I wasn't sure about a letter reaching you from way down here with just North Ogden, so I asked Mother to send me your address. Well, you beat her to it, so now I answer your letter instead of writing first.
Thanks exceedingly for the remittance. You know how it is... it all helps. It arrived safe in the Mission Home. There it was opened, the ten extracted, put on my account and a receipt put back into the letter and sent to me. Every time I need money here I send in for so much. So you see as long as there is some to draw from, I needn't worry about going in debt.
Well, the summer camping is on is it? (Probably over by the time you get this.) I wouldn't trade my fishing grounds for the best you found, but I would trade fish. We surely have all we want. Raw, boiled, fried, roasted, etc. and on top of that, the branch sometimes brings us canned salmon along with other canned goods.
Cocoanuts "take the cake." I just enjoy eating them just any old way I find one. For example: an ordinary cocoanut falls to the ground. This can be broken open, the water drank, the "meat" eaten straight. Or, the coconut shredded, the juice squoze (?) out and eaten with fish. The next stage is what we call "Kaipoa " (Pomutian) This is eaten husk and all. Then there is the favorite of most everyone. The young cocoanuts for drinking. The end is knocked off and about a quart of water therin, drank. My favorite is the real old fellows or maybe you would call them new. An old coconut falls, it becomes fertile and begins sprouting a young tree. Well, cut off the sprout, open the old husk and eat the "uto ". This is a matter a lot like cotton only the juice is sweet and lots of it. It actually melts in your mouth. Now the little sprout which was cut off. This gets the outer leaves, bark or whatever it's called, peeled off and then the stalk eaten. Much the same as sugar cane only you chew this up and swallow it.
No wonder a native can live on an island if only he has a cocoanut tree around. Even the house we live in is built of woven leaves from the tree.
Now one more thing. The top of the young tree has a long white "heart" we might say. Looks like a dried bone of a cow's leg, only much longer. This cut into slices like cucumbers makes a very delicious salad with potatoes and vinegar.
The only thing I'm worried about in my diet is the "pouch" which every Missionary seems to get through the diet here. I hope to put on more weight but I don't want it hanging out in front. Wouldn't I look nice trying to pitch horseshoes against you in that condition. Wowee.
I haven't weighed since leaving Papeete, but I think I am adding a little weight. I was sick (kinda) for almost a week, and lost energy and a little weight, but now I feel on top again. We had fish and bananas a couple of days too often and they didn't mix.
Well, this is the longest time I've ever been away from home yet and still not homesick. I hope I'm lucky enough to get away from it. If study and work keep it away, then I have nothing to fear.
This language is quite difficult. As yet I don't get much out of what is being said. The natives talk so fast that to me it's just a jumble. I say "parau maru ". They slow down a little, but doesn't help much. Oh, well, we all get it someday. I don't mind studying it at all. I've read quite a number of pages in the B. of M. (Tahitian) just for pronunciation. Each little bit helps.
To date I have had charge of three meetings. Everything has been memorized however.
I don't like to write about the weather, but just to give you an idea: It very seldom rains here. I believe it has rain four times good and hard. The skies are a beautiful blue all day long. Yet, this is the dry season. They say we will get rain in two months or so. The temperature hasn't gone over 80° since I arrived here. They say even the hottest months it goes only to 90°. (They, are the natives)
A cool breeze is always blowing over the Tuomotu group. If you live on the east side of the Island, the breeze never dies.
Well, for different information read Mothers letters. I try not to write about the same things to each one so you might find something different in hers.
Write often. (Not just to send something.) Your letters will always be welcome.
P.S. Surely miss your swell pies and cakes Fern. Better wrap up a good cake and ship it over... mm.
August 24, Finally a boat heading into Tahiti came in today. Well, just a sample of our mail service. We just have to have letters ready... just in case we are surprised by a boat.
Don't always blame me for a long delay between letters.