|Written by Tony Lonso|
Tony was my father-in-law who lived in Kunia pineapple camp and was a truck driver for Del-Monte Corp. During the summer pineapple harvest season he would drive a 'big rig 'to deliver pineapples to the cannery downtown.
The big rig he drove was an International Harvester with two open trailers behind filled with pineapples. He would drive from Kunia to the cannery in Iwilei six or sometimes seven days a week ten to twelve hours a day .It was hard work but he use to tell me "boy that's some of my Las Vegas money". I couldn't ride with him because company policy was "no passengers".
His favorite hobbies were bowling and hunting. Since he worked for the plantation we could go into the field to shoot doves and hunt for pheasant
When we got home Daddy would cook the dove or pheasant adobo style. With hot rice the birds was ono. One time his friend Masa bought two of his friends to go bird hunting with us and Daddy was always about hunting safely. So when the hunt was over we clear our shotguns to make sure all the bullets was out.
When he seen the two guys coming to us and when ask then, "eh you guys when clear your guns?"
One guy said 'yeah and he pointed the shotgun to the ground and went press the trigger and the gun went off, had one round in the chamber! Ho Daddy was pissed off and told Masa no bring these guys around anymore bum bye somebody going get shot. Good thing he had the gun pointed to the ground! He told me, "Boy always be safe when you handle guns and always every time when pau hunt no matter for birds or pig make sure you clear your guns!"
His favorite hunting was for pigs. He had a dog kennel built for his dogs which were mostly pit bull mix. His kennel had four stalls for his five grabbers and one tracker. His kennel had tile walls about four feet high all around and in between each stall with heavy gauge screen wire tied to pipe with concrete floor and tin roofing.
He never give names to his dogs except for the tracker whose name was Brownie. His dogs were all males and he got most of his dogs from friends when they pups. He fed them dry dog food from the store and when we catch pig we boil the head, bones, and some meat let 'um cool and add dry dog food to the soup and the dogs just grind 'um up real fast.
When I first started hunting with him for pigs I did not have any hunting gear. So he gave me a web belt, a trail knife, and canteen. We hunted mostly in Waianae mountains on the Kunia and Schofield side, sometimes we hunt the "Blues" or the Ko'olau Mountains.
Before the hunt we make sure we have food like rice ball, can pork and beans, Vienna Sausage, water, extra rope, toilet paper, make sure the trail knife sharp and our rifles in good working condition. We carried guns for emergency because if the grabbers no can hold the pig, the pig might come straight for us. Once the grabbers hold the pig tight we would run up to the pig and poke 'um with the the trail knife.
His dogs were for hunting not watch dogs or pets so we treated them just like that, only time we might pet them is when they did a good job. One time we went hunting with Gerard, who was his son in law in Kunia mountain side. So my father in law told Gerard, "you hunt the high side and we going the low side so if the dogs hit the pig going up to you or down to m.e"
After three or four hours we heard one of Gerard's dogs barking, so we figure the tracker when find one pig. Then a few minutes later we heard two shots so Daddy said "Gerard when get 'um."
Two hours later we seen his jeep but no had one pig on the hood. When he got close, Daddy said "Boy where the pig we heard the dog and the shots?"
Gerard said "The stupid dog was just barking for nothing so I went shoot at the dog. You should see 'um run. I bet he went run all the way to Ewa!"
I always remembered that time and the rifle he had in his jeep. I went ask him what caliber the gun was and he said a 475 and my father in law said, "Boy no more elephants in Kunia mountain!"
He knew the mountain like the back of his hand. We would hunt for hours and when we would come out he would tell me, "boy go get the jeep." I would look around and the jeep was nowhere in sight, then he would say, "It's around the bend" and sure enough it would be around the bend.
Daddy's jeep was a M32 or M42 I no remember but it could climb any hill dry or muddy and go thru muddy ground real easy. His jeep was for hunting only and only had a canvas top. All around had rails for tie the dogs to when we go hunting.
I always had to use one of his rifles when we went hunting because I didn't own one. So the night before our morning hunt I said "Daddy, I bought a rifle today." He said "what kind gun you went buy?" I told him one Winchester 30-30. He went crack up laughing. So I said "Why you laughing?" He told me "Boy you went buy a Portagee gun. The 30-30 makes big noise when you shoot um."
So he asked me where I went buy the gun. I told him Waipahu sporting goods by Arakawa. Cause Waipahu sporting goods was the place to buy stuff for fishing or hunting. My father in law has a Winchester 30-30 and a 44-40 that he got from his father.
He told me there was supposed to be another Winchester 30-30 with a hatch barrel . During World War Two the army told everyone to turn in all weapons. His father went wrap each rifle with burlap bags and cover 'um with grease and wrap them up with canvas and went bury them in the back yard. Went the war ended they dug the guns but the 30-30 with the hatch barrel was all rusted but the other two was o.k. after a good cleaning. The hatch barrel one was on the bottom with the other two on top 'um
I cannot remember the last hunt I had with him but I remember how he loved the land not only in words but in deeds also. He used to say, "Boy the places we walked while pig hunting nobody else went walk so let's leave it that way." We would not fire our guns for target practice or for fun and when we cut trail we cut so that the brush would grow back. We would also gather from the mountain fern (pako) a special shoot and pipi'au (elephant ear). Pipi'au only from the kukui nut tree . He taught me that caring and loving something is not limited to people but can also include the aina, My father in law Tony passed away in 2008, but his influence has been now carried by my son .
My father-in-law Tony P. was half Filipino and half Portagee.
I was raised in Aiea Filipino camp. I married one girl from Kunia. Our first home was a townhouse in Makakilo, sold that and moved to Waianae. We moved to Northern California in 1985.We have a son and daughter and six grandchildren. Big Head was my nickname.