Jeep Days of Summer

At the end of WWII there was a huge surplus of the all-purpose military vehicle
named the “Jeep” that replaced the pack animal, the “Kona Nightingale” donkey, that carried the 100 pound bags of coffee cherries. Cherries were picked each day and hauled to the pulping machine next to the hoshidana drying platform that every farmer had.

But the Jeep was used for a better purpose on those days when there was a break in coffee picking – the Jeep was our transportation to the beach. With luck on
our side, we survived the Jeep that had no seat belts, no doors, no power brakes,
no power steering, no roof, no ABS, no GPS, and no rational adult behind the wheel.
Those were the fun Jeep days of summer between coffee picking days.

“Uncle Ray”

Bea really liked this story.

I have a few of my own memories of the jeep, different than Uncle Ray’s. Grandpa would take me in his jeep to go pick poha berries (cape gooseberry, not the same as gooseberry; or physalis peruviana) so Grandma could make jam. I don’t remember a door or seat belt in that jeep.

Another memory is when my California-born-and-raised dad drove us in Grandpa’s jeep. When we took the steep road down from the mauka road to the Belt Road, he had trouble getting it into gear as he downshifted. We were picking up speed in neutral, and I could sense the danger with Dad fumbling and scrambling. He did have experience with military jeeps during his army service, so muscle memory came through in the end.

I know we must have photos of Grandpa’s jeep, but I just couldn’t find any yet. So for the moment I had to find a royalty-free image, not even in Hawaii. When searching for an image, I stumbled upon an apparently long-running myth about $50 for a WWII military jeep in a crate.

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