Love at first blush

They first met at the movies while attending Durham University in jolly old England. It was love at first blush. Julia or Julie, as we call her, hails from Stuart, Fla. She grew up with lots of alligators in her neighborhood but she had the good sense not to play with them. For this we will be forever grateful. 

Ryan comes from the green glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland not far from Lough Neagh where lurks the lake’s monster, a distant cousin of Nessie. He had the good sense not to pursue that monster. For this we thank the Lord. When Ryan proposed to Julie, he did so in real style. He got down on both knees. Now knowing what a lovely young lady she is, I would have done so also. A good Irishman, Ryan has a lot of class. Later they would become Mr. and Mrs. Poland in her home state of Florida. 

Julie and Ryan arrived here in Kalaupapa in 2016. Julie is the curator of Hale Malama which we hope will soon become a fully-fledged museum with many artifacts on display including personal items belonging to the many Hansen’s Disease patients who called this their home for many years, as well as Stations of the Cross given to St. Damien by Ed Clifford for St. Philomena Church in Kalawao. 

While Julie oversees the workings of Hale Malama, she also gives tours to those lucky visitors who wish to see the many artifacts of historical interest and value. It has been suggested (though as yet unsubstantiated) that Julie may in the future present some hula moves as part of her presentation.

Ryan, who is highly qualified in many fields, works at this time in the National Park Nursery. Part of his responsibility, as well as working at the nursery, is to plant native Hawaiian plants in designated parts of this peninsula, including the interior of the now dormant crater, Kauhako. Now Ryan is a strong swimmer, as I myself have witnessed, but I hope that he does not decide to go for a dip in the crater’s lake. He is a wee bit adventurous but Julie would not be happy to learn that he did so.

Julie and Ryan are very involved in our parish church activities. Ryan is a lector at St. Francis and both are very much a part of any special projects, including church decorating for Christmas and other festive times. They are always looking to be of service and we are so blessed to have them in our midst. Perhaps some day soon Ryan will entertain us with his music skills and Julie will grace us with her hula routines. And it all began with love at first blush. 

Aloha.

Anchor columnist Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.


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