Writing in the time of COVID-19: Day Forty Seven

This was a writing exercise during a Hanalei Writers Retreat led by Pam Houston a few years ago. I dredged it up, because it’s time for dinner, and I haven’t written anything new for today.

The Things They Left Behind After Their Hawaii Vacation: A Partial List

-A single flip flop, turquoise and sequined with the molded imprint of a right foot, female, size 7. The only evidence of harm, the strap that once bisected Julie’s toes snapped in half when she hit the rocks at the bottom of a waterfall.

-Leather hiking boots that once summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, now dusted with Kauai red dirt and scuffed from dragging his feet 22 miles along Kauai’s rocky Na Pali Coast. “Please give these a good burial,” Tom said with a nod after surviving the in-and-out journey that took seven of his toenails and chafed his man parts raw.

-A plastic bottle of naturally flavored sparkling water, zero calories. A few weeks later, on the kind of humid summer day when the bottoms of your feet sweat, I reached into the refrigerator and cracked open the bottle, taking a swig. It was gin. Also zero calories. “Cheers to you, Belinda,” I said.

-A pair of size 12 flip-flops, stiff as surf boards. My Dad is six-foot-three, grey haired, and sports a golfer’s tan. He bought the flip flops, wore them once, burned his feet so badly his toes swelled like sausages.

-Uneaten cans of low-sodium green beans, low-sodium corn; bags of frozen peas and sliced green peppers from a dieting Laura. A bottle of white wine and three-quarters full bottle of shoyu from Charlie and Susan. Ginger stir-in paste, after-sun aloe vera gel, hemp seeds, flax seeds, shredded coconut, and a delicious meal of stuffed peppers from Belinda.

[Let’s continue this list. Feel free to share those things you’ve inherited (or left behind) in the comments below.]

Are these anyone’s?


Hawaii added one new COVID-19 case. Kauai sticks at 21. There are no active cases of COVID-19 on Kauai right now. Some state parks and retail stores are re-opening as part of a three-phase re-opening. On Kauai, Mayor Kawakami announced our overnight curfew will expire tonight. Travelers arriving in Hawaii are still required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Rental car companies prohibited from renting cars to anyone subject to quarantine. 

Be well.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ann says:

    Yes, the story of living in Hawai’i!. Left behind: Kahlua (1/2 bottle), Tequila (1/3 LARGE bottle), handmade vodka (almost full), red wine (two bottles). Did I mention I rarely drink anymore?


    1. Kim Steutermann Rogers says:

      That was QUITE the haul!


  2. Heather George says:

    I remember that writing exercise too! 🙂 Here’s one I just looked at this morning in our fridge: An extra large bottle of sriracha sauce, 3/4 full when we inherited it over a year ago from a surf buddy of Scott’s. Now less than half full, but still there!


    1. Kim Steutermann Rogers says:

      Watch the expiration date!


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