A Paniolo’s Life is Timeless

Time stood still for me yesterday. I got the phone call that said, “Bad news. I’m sorry. Daddy passed away on Monday.”

Joe and Queenie

“Screech!” There’s the sound of that phonograph needle across the record of time. The memories came trickling in until I found these old pictures in an old photo album — then the memories came flooding back! So did the tears.

A huge father figure in my life, Joaquin (Joe) Joseph, Jr. may be gone, but he’s far from forgotten!

Remember the Polaroid SX-70? You know, the ones where you would take the picture, it would slide out of the camera and we had to wait for it to develop? We thought they were the best cameras back then! I used a lot of that crazy film. The pictures lasted and, while they’re certainly not the best pictures, they’re all I have.

Unloading the grass cutter from the truck

The Polaroid was not the only thing that was an advancement in technology. I remember this grass cutter that Joe and one of his sons are seen here unloading from the truck. It was noisy and clunky but it sure beat the sickle for cutting all the grass needed for the horses.

Although the pictures aren’t the quality we see in today’s digital cameras, the sight of the old stables in the background with its tin roof and the Waianae mountain range behind that, was enough to make my tears fall even faster.

I would not have had those memories if it were not for this man who worked so hard to keep food on his family’s table and who struggled all those years with the financial difficulties of survival and raising thirteen children and one stowaway… me. His wife, Diane, endured it all right by his side. This has got to be a hard time for her!

Life there was hard work but full of fun and a great family community. I miss the sound of the rain falling on the tin roof, the roosters in the morning and the smell of the stables with freshly strewn sawdust. We were brats but we had fun! Joe and Diane had their hands full with their own children and I was around a lot more than they probably would have liked.

Joe shoeing a horseIf it wasn’t some drama with the kids, it was a crisis or must-do event with the animals. Both required a lot of care and a lot of reprimanding. So much of what I remember of my years growing up I have to credit to Mr. Joseph and his firm hand.

Time moved on and I had to deal with college, growing up and finding a job and all that junk. Over time, the family members who still remained moved with Joe and Diane to the Big Island.

Over those years in Waianae Valley on Oahu, there were many joys but a lot of sorrow too. We lost many much-loved animals over the years and the family eventually lost two of those thirteen children to accidents or teenage stupidity. Through it all, Joe persevered. He was a true patriarch and will be a very hard act to follow.

In 2002, thank you Google, Joe was among the seventeen cowboys inducted into the Paniolo Hall of Fame. I missed it. I didn’t know and I had been separated from the family for too many years. Malia Zimmerman shared the story through her article, Hawaiian Cowboys Recognized for Making Paniolo Culture Legendary over at the Hawaii Reporter.

* Joaquin Joseph, Jr. of McCandless Ranch & Tongg Ranch, Oahu

As the first-born son and namesake of a McCandless Ranch cowboy, Joaquin had ranching in his genes. “I was born a cowboy type,” he says. Known among his peers for his roping ability, Joaquin says His favorite part about being a cowboy was riding out on the range, catching cattle and bringing them in for branding. But he also had to be a jack-of-all trades in his job. Back then, a cowboy had to do just about everything -– fix fences, shoe horses, and work with cattle. But Joaquin is proudest of his skills as a horse trainer.

“I’m going to be 72 this month and I still train,” he says. “When I ride, I like to feel the animal under me.”

He probably inherited his love of horses from his father, Joaquin Joseph, Sr. He remembers that when his father was dying and had come home to spend his final days, he looked out at the arena and asked to be put on a horse. He wouldn’t rest until he was sitting in the saddle.

“That’s going to be my last wish too,” Joaquin says.

The rest of the article is great and very accurate when talking about the look in their eyes. Life was rugged but in between all of that Joe smiled a lot and tended to the physical and emotional needs of both animals and children.

He taught me a lot more than just riding, roping and barrel racing. It would do me a lot of good these days to remember his patience and endurance. We all should live more by such an example.

Apparently a few days before he died he knew his time was near. He told family members he was going to go. On Monday, he did. Dad will be buried on the Big Island, next to his son Albert. Albert and I graduated from Waianae High School at the same time. He was a brother to me and a very dear childhood friend.

I was lucky — a few months ago Joe’s wife, Diane, and his daughter, Ivy, managed to come and see me at work here on Oahu. I’m so glad that they did. At least I got to hug him and hear him say to people, just one more time, “This is my haole daughter.”

~ Joaquin Michael Joseph, Jr. ~
September 15, 1930 – December 16, 2007

Love you, Dad! So much of who I am was molded by your example! I know Red is standing there at the gate waiting to greet you — that’s one beautiful stallion who has waited for his rider a very long time. As you ride the rainbows and lasso the stars, rope one for me!

 |  digg this! digg | stumble this! stumble | submit to reddit! reddit | del.icio.us tag this 
Related Stories:

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ryan // Dec 20, 2007 at 7:49 am

    Condolences on the loss of your father, but it sounds like there is nothing but love and pride between you. And he is obviously a legend to many people. Paniolo pride!

  • 2 Evelyn // Dec 20, 2007 at 9:38 am

    Even though he wasn’t my biological father, he and the whole family certainly had a hand in my crazy personality and the way I look at life. 🙂 Thank you, Ryan, for the kind sentiments!

    This is just a reminder that we should try not to lose contact with loved ones and, for me, it was an interesting realization that some things stay fixed in our memories for many, many years.

  • 3 Sheila // Dec 20, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss.

    What a neat man and wonderful legacy of love he provided.

    Hugs and prayers for you and the rest of your extended family.

  • 4 Evelyn // Dec 20, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you, Sheila! My prayers go out to the family as well. They’ll get through it, they always do. Knowing they are a strong group makes it a little easier for them to lean on each other!

  • 5 valmg // Jan 4, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    I am very sorry to read of your loss. He sounds like he was a good man.

  • 6 Evelyn // Jan 5, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Thanks, Val, he was a good man and his family will feel the loss for a long time. His wife, Diane, is a strong lady but it’s still a huge loss of a life partner… so many years and so many memories.

  • 7 Ashlyn // Jan 7, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Wow! it nice to hear about my grandpa i never really knew….i remember meeting him once when i was little about five years old…when my dad “Willy” lol…told me that he was my grandpa and one day he would take me horse back riding i never got that oportunity but it would have been nice…

  • 8 Evelyn // Jan 7, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Hi Ashlyn! OMG! You’re Willy’s daughter? Wow! Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I’m sorry you never made it there. I almost flipped when I found out your Aunty Jessie has kids. She was the youngest and she was just a baby herself when I kind of lost touch with everyone.

  • 9 Gail (the other haole daughter!) // Aug 15, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I just found out about this article…the family assumed it was me that wrote this! I have to assume it was Evy…
    Great job! And a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man…

  • 10 Evelyn // Aug 15, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I’m sorry, I thought you guys would have known! Hugs to all and he was a wonderful man. He shaped us into the people we are today!

    Hugs,
    Evie

  • 11 Heather Clark // Jan 1, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Hello,

    My name is Heather Clark. I have been looking for years for information on the Tongg Ranch. My mother had lived there in 1973. I am looking for a family that lived on the Ranch. The mother had several children and one of her sons was named Antonio Ancheta. I am not sure if spelling was correct. The step-father was caucasion and the mother was of Hawaiian background.I am looking for my Biological father. My mother was caucasion and a red head.My mothers name was Micki.This has been a very long road.
    Thank you,
    Heather
    wa.hini@verizon.net
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2892910

  • 12 Evelyn // Jan 1, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Hi Heather. I wish I could be of more help. Maybe someone who sees your comment will be able to shed some light on your search. The names are all familiar — Tongg Ranch (of course) and the last name Ancheta — but then, I live here and the names are very common.

    I hope someone will see your comment and be able to provide you with more information or a lead to follow. I’m just sorry that I can’t be of more assistance to you. If anyone sheds some light on this, I will be sure to contact you and let you know!

  • 13 Evon Joseph // Jan 18, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Hello Evie. My long lost hanai sister. Only joking. Thank you for writing this story about our dad. It’s been a year now since we lost him, wow how time fly by so fast. We all miss him so much, and wish he could be here to see all his grandchildren and his greatgrand children, but we all know he is in a better place. Thank again sis. Love ya. Evon and her ohana.

  • 14 Evelyn // Jan 18, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Hi Evon! I saw your comment and had to come over here to reply. Of course I had to read it again and I don’t have to tell you what happened when I did.

  • 15 KAIA // Jan 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    ALOHA EVELYN. THIS WAS SUCH AN AWESOME STORY, BUT TO HAVE BEEN THE ACTUAL PERSON WHO LIVED IT MUST HAVE BEEN UNREAL. ITS SO GOOD TO HAVE THESE STORIES PASSED ON, SO MUCH OF WHAT WAS GREAT TIMES IS BEING LOST. ALL OF THE OLD WAYS AND OLD TEACHINGS WHICH I MISS A LOT BEING RAISED BY MY GRANDMOTHER. I HAVE A QUESTION….. IM DOING GENEOLOGY AND JUST FOUND OUT THAT MY GREAT GRANDFATHER WAS A COWBOY ALSO AT THE MCCANDLESS RANCH HIS NAME WAS “KAWELO KANOHO”, JUST WONDERING IF YOU MIGHT HAVE ANY PICTURES OR STORIES THAT YOUR FAMILY MIGHT KNOW THAT CONNECT TO HIM? OR IF YOU KNOW WHO I CAN SPEAK TO HERE ON OAHU THAT WILL KNOW? I LIVE IN KALIHI. KAWELO DIED AROUND 1946. I CAN BE REACHED AT 673-5754 IF YOU LIKE.
    MAHALO FOR YOUR GIFT OF MANA’O AND FOR HELPING ME IN THIS MATTER…MALAMA PONO…KAIA

  • 16 Savannah // Feb 4, 2009 at 2:19 am

    It was sad for me in a different way when Papa Joseph passed. Sitting in the funeral hall, watching the many people who loved him dearly, the people who shared beautiful memories with him and got to see him laugh and smile. The only thing i could think of while i watched the tears roll down their cheeks was that I’ll never feel the warmth and love that he was able to bless their lives with. I’ll never know what it would be like to have my Papa walk me around on a horse or hear him give me intructions on how to do it myself. I’ll never see the look on his face when i graduated or know that he was even proud of me. I’ll never be able to have lunch with him and talk about stupid things that didnt matter but made you laugh until your stomach hurt. I’ll never be able to tell him the stories from my childhood and let him know of the many dreams i plan to accomplish. I’ll never be able to ask him, “Papa,What do you think of me moving to Italy?Dont you think i would have the most wonderful time of my life?”I will never be able to share big moments with him or even small insignificant ones. As i sat there i felt light tears fall down my cheeks, they were not only tears of sadness because i knew papa was gone, but tears of heartbreak because i never took the chance to get to know all of those wonderful things about him. I will never know how much he could have blessed my life the way that he have blessed others. I had this on my mind for a few months after Papa passed. On my graduation day Gramma Diane was there along with some of my cousin i’ve only met a few times. At that moment i knew that even though my grandparents didnt know who i was they were proud of the person i could become. When Gramma Daine smiled at me on my graduation day, i smiled as well because i knew that Papa would have felt proud of me at that moment. Here’s to you Papa Joseph… Even though we were never able to experience life together at least i can show you that i will live my life to the fullest and you will smile down on me and know that your grandaughter is going somewhere in life.Love you Papa!

  • 17 Evelyn // Feb 4, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Hi Savannah! I don’t know whose daughter you are but I’m going to guess Anna’s? I’ll email you privately but I need to let you know I understand how that must have felt. I couldn’t be there for the funeral but I’m sure I would have “lost it” if I had!

    Thanks for checking in Savannah — I really appreciate you sharing your feelings!

Leave a Comment