Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Be really careful what you tell the authorities

I'm one of those fathers a lot of you may remember when it comes to my kids and their friends. When the kids were in the early elementry grades and they brought home friends I made sure the new friend felt welcome in our home. I actually do that to anyone that enters my personal space or my home for that matter.

When the boys were young I always referred to them and their little buddies as girls, and visa versa with my daughters. It was and still is nothing for me to ruff a kid's hair and give them a bad time or most often talk to them like they actually count. That their opinion or perspective of the world around them is as valid as anyone elses. But I have to admit many of the kids I have known over the years took awhile to understand me. I'm not like a lot of dads many of my kid's friends have. I'm not a micro-manager, I'm not a conformist, I am big and loud and consume life. In no way can anyone ever confuse me with a wall flower or a silent participant. Let's be honest I am not a lot like my peers.

For years I use to train my kids to respond when I said," I've killed before" and they would say in unison, "and you will kill again." I would then follow with "Its because I am..." and their part, "simply evil".

Of course I am not and have never been but it was some mindless thing that landed in my noggin somwhere along the road and my kids loved playing the straight man for me.

Kids would ask my little guys, "What happened to your dad's hand?" and they would respond "Oh, he stuck it up an elephants butt and the elephant farted." all in straight face. They were good. Something like Rowan and Martin, George and Gracie, Lewis and Martin, a true team.

Another one I always told kids was, "I once shot a man in Reno. Just to watch him die". I had been saying that phrase ever since I first heard the man in Black sing it on my mom's Johnny Cash's San Quinton album. I loved Johnny Cash and I loved to emulate him. He was the real King to me.

Then one day when my boys were in first and third grades respectively I had to run something up to the office of their school. I dropped off what ever it was and was making my way down the long hall of the old school building when I heard a kid yell with overwhelming excitement, "Hey guys there's Jock's dad. You know he once killed a man. Yeah he did, just to watch him die". I looked over and the teacher who was in charge of the class turned as white as a ghost and promptly closed the classroom door. As I neared the stairs to descend I looked back and she was peeking around the door making sure I left the building.

Thanks Johnny Cash I am now a wanted man.....

Have you met myfriend JJ Cale?

When I was 18 the summer before college I got the opportunity to run around in a large city, Portland. I know to you metro-types Portland isn't that big. But remember I just graduated from a class that had only 10 students. Portland could have been NYC as far as I was concerned.

One night I got to see this man, JJ Cale, for my the first time, playing in a small venue, I think was called Arbuckle Flats. Out came this nobody to me and sat on a stool and changed the way I listen and understand music. I don't know if it was the smoke in the air or the way a guy could come out and play it so cool with so little. And no fanfare, no fame just good music.

My whole first year in college could have the soundtrack of many of his albums.

To have Eric Clapton backing him up in this video says more then I could ever say about the guy. Who is he? Turn over the old Eric Clapton vinyls you have laying around and take note of who wrote so many of Clapton's hits.

I hope you have enjoyed the four last videos. John lee Hooker, The Doors, John Prine and now JJ Cale.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Willie and his Tomatoes

You all got to meet Willie a few posts back. If you haven't please tell your boss you are on break and take the few minutes it takes to get to know him.

One day during the short time I was commuting to work with Willie he picked me up at Fern's Corner at the usual time and we headed toward Valsetz. Before you make the climb up the twenty miles of the winding road you have to go through the small town, Falls City.

In Falls City there is an old tavern, that is still there with the name, Boondocks. Early in the 1900s my grandfather Frank Mack owned and operated the tavern with a then attached pool hall, smoke shop and diner. He used the name Mack and Sons. Years later they added gas pumps.

This particular day was a hot day and Willie's LTD surely didn't have a air conditioner. So I asked Willie if he'd like to stop in at the Boondocks to have a cold beer before we started up the dusty road. He agreed that a cold beer sounded like a good idea. So we stopped in and picked up a couple of KBs (Kangaroo Beers). If you haven't drank any KBs they are the ones in your local beer cooler at the store that look like cans of oil. Come to think of it they may even taste like oil. Its been too long since I have had a KB. (Note to self stop off on the way home at the local "Stop -n- Rob" to pick up a KB).

We each bought ourselves two cold KBs and headed up the road toward the mill. After the first cold KB I asked Willie why he had the backseat filled with yard bags of leaves. With the windows down and Willie working on Pall Mall number 15 of the trip, ashes flying everywhere he waves his hand back towards the bags of leaves and said, "Oh, those leaves." he takes another long drag on his smoke, switches hands and swallows some more KB, burp. "Umm, well, I um, I gather those leaves for the kitty's poop box at home."

"Your cat will take a dump in leaves?" I asked thinking we may be onto some future money venture here.

"Yeah, they all do, all nine of em" drag on smoke, slurp of beer, burp of breath. " Then when they are done with em. We plant our tomatoes in the leaves. Makes great mulch and better tomatoes." He then lit another Pall Mall off the last and chucked the dead butt out the window.

I sat stunned for just a minute or two, thinking I have never ate a tomato from this guy, have I?

I then raced around my head for another topic. Eventually I found a topic from my many inquiries Willie felt adept at discussing and continued down the road. After about ten minutes of discussing whatever, I noticed a little stream of smoke smoldering its way up from the backseat. I looked back and right behind Willie's drivers seat I saw more smoke. "Willie! Stop! Your car is on fire."

He slowly found a pull-out where Willie could pull the car safely off the road and we got out of the car. I sprinted around the back of the car and to the passenger door before he could amble his way there. I flung open the door and started scooping the burning leaves out of the car, throwing them on the side of the road. I was smashing the clumps of leaves on the floor of the car with my hand when I heard this pouring of water over my head. I turned around and Willie was standing there pouring his KB out on the smoldering leaves, extinquishing the fire completely. When we were sure we had put the fire out we continued down the road toward the mill.

A few minutes later Willie asked me if it would be alright if we stopped on the way home from work to pick up the now beer drinched, burnt leaves. "I got to thinking the carbon in the burnt leaves and the beer might mix well with cat poop and then I might have better mulch for my tomatoes."

I told him I didn't see any problem with it as long as he put them in the trunk if he was going to smoke in the car.

He said he couldn't use the trunk because he had something else in the trunk that was personal.

I never did ask him what he had in the trunk.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back in the Office Again

After all the family and holiday joy. After all the eating and lounging around. After all that travel and reading. I'm baaaaaack in the friggin office. The Mrs. is working a four-ten this week so I dropped her off at 6:15 am and got to work early got the pot of coffee going. Checked my emails (work ones not the hotmail fun) and got settled and figured that Sir Von Ass Wipe and his lovely and gracious wife, Peach would have spent the holiday at the beach so they would come to about noon and carry their sorry butts in here around closing time (that's the usual Monday schedule) but NO. At about quarter to 8 I saw their shit carrying car whip into the parking lot and out they came. Fighting and yelling all the way up the stairs and down the hall. The little four foot 90 pound H. Ross Perot look alike stomping like a three year old with his six foot, 350 pounds of love stomping right behind him. Her arms a waving like a scared emu and her trap a flapping like an unlocked metal door to a tool shed following him all the way to my office.

The first thing she does is lit into me for not taking the phone off night ring and not having the office unlocked and the lights on. I wanted to tell her that I was about to but saw her sorry ass coming and decided she could do something constructive around here for once. She stood at the door of my office shutting out any possibility of light coming in from the hall trying to squeeze information out of me about my holiday. Her chicken shit of a husband finally stuck his head throught a crack betwen one of her rolls and the door jamb to tell me they will be out of the office until Friday. They will be in Minnesota drumming up business. By 10:30 they were gone and the three remaining people in the office were completly frazzled. It was like visiting my friend McMurphy at the state hospital. Everyone was riled and the asshole nurse Ratchit wouldn't put the damn game on the TV. I wish Ken Kesey before he caught the last bus trip would have not only written about my hometown in Sometimes a Great Notion but this crazy outfit. I guess I'll have to do it.

What Sir Von Ass Wipe and his lovely and gracious wife, Peach don't get thewy have lied too much lately and Friday may be just drop dead day. They have lied to us since May that we were getting a bonus. First it was during the summer, then at the end of October (fiscal year), then before Thanksgiving and now we have been told December 1st. There are several deadlines and promises to clients due the next couple of weeks and they think they can go galivanting around the frozen tundra while we slave away. Not happening. January 1 will be the day I tell them I am leaving and they can just stick the whole thing in their ear. That's if I make it to January 1. Friday will be telling.

Meanwhile back at the ranch. We returned safely to our beautiful home that has more fix-it needs then Bob Villas could ever muster, but everything was intact. Right where we left them except for the dead mouse all chomped on, on the kitchen counter that "Killer" cat thought would be a great welcome home gift. The kid watching the house told me he couldn't see what was in her mouth when he let her the house the night before.

Oh yeah, all the neighbors have their Christmas lights(or holiday lights for you Bostonians and left-wing pinkos)up. This is the first time in ten plus years in the neighborhood we weren't first. So Wednesday night we go to work on the display.

I hate when holidays are over. I am going to write my congressman and see if we can extend this years holidays to May.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Still Frozen in Weiser

Got a quick chance to get a note out of the thick fog of Weiser, Idaho and let the outside worl that I am still here and not being held by some whacked out Arab group that thinks my head would look better on the mantle.

My brother-in-law Mrs. Pirate's only brother who happens to be the only person wound more tightly then me, has let me use his iPod and I have borrowed my nieces laptop to ride along with Jimmy Buffett and tap out a message. Leave it to my brother-in-law to have a gadget such as this. I think he was put on Earth to entertain his nephews. Right now behind me one of my nephews is flinging Junior mints from a homemade catapult across the living room and BIL is catching them with his mouth. Now these things are flying at about 50 mph and he is diving to make every attempt count. I see the other nephews in the hallway plotting a means to increas the velocity.

My other brother-in-law is now trying to sabotage my post and doesn't know that I am watching him with the eye under the patch. The sisters are all in the kitchen with mom-in-law, probably plotting all of us guy's demise. The little girls four at last count have a "to the death" tournament of rummy going and my father-in-law is sitting with his schnauzer in his lap thinking why me?
Thank God for volume control on hearing aids.

My other broyher-in-law tells me I type pretty fast for a hunt and pecker type of guy. If only he knew. And Jimmy Buffett keeps singing in my head, "We are the people are Parents warned us about".

I'm on my fourth diet coke and my feet are about thawed out after my nephew, Bobby's Shrine All-star football game. By the way, their team won in the last minute of the game so the drive back from Boise was worth the bragging.

I apologize for not getting to anyone's blog, but I am trying to do my best with the laptop I'm not use to and I am positive many of you are having a time yourselves. Jimmy is now telling me "sailor men eat the same things again and again, Cheeseburger in Paradise."

Peace to all and I will get back to my regular blog practices as soon as I reach Salem again.

Good golly almighty which way do I steer?"

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Quick Thankgiving Day greeting

For the first time in 20 years the Mrs. Pirate,the Pirate brood (minus Blaze), and myself are having turkey day outside of our own lair. With Jock graduating this year and Blaze being 24 we decided we should venture out and do the turkey thing at someone else's house for once. Could be the last time as soon as two are out of the nest and will need a place to ESR (eat sit and run) in the future.

This year we are visiting the Mrs. Pirate's clan in Weiser, Idaho. The home of the Fiddle Championships. About 60 miles west of Boise and 15 miles notheast of Ontario, Oregon. The little burg sits next to the Snake River down in a canyon. The area is experiencing an "inversion" so unlike the rest of the northwest this Thanksgiving we are not enjoying the sun and cold weather but rather a thick eerie fog and the cold.

Even though the eats and festivities are outside of our control because we are guests on this holiday it has been one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember. All the nieces and nephews are 7th grade and up through sophmores in college, which makes the visit with them all great. To see them grown up and talking smack with their uncle Pirate. Their smiles and loving attitudes makes me realize how real fortunate I am. My nephew, Bob (he and Jock are the same age) plays in the Shrine All-Star football game tomorrow in Boise so we will all be piling in cars tomorrow to go the game. Football on Thanksgiving Day weekend, good food and company make for a nice holiday.

I am keeping the post short because of the droopy head I am sporting thanks to the Captain Morgan that seems to be working its way into the Pirate's cup of diet coke. I have also been eye-balling some of the pies my sister-in-law Holly brought and they keep calling my name. Pirate come eat me...

So this Pirate wishes all of you a great holiday and hope it is as great for you as it has been for me this year. I appreciate all of your comments and the time you have spent reading my posts and for including me in your lives no matter how small a space you have allowed me. Thanks. And welcome back Hoss. Keep the pot stirred.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Say Willie Have You Ever Seen A UFO?

This is dedicated to my blog buddy, Old Horsetail Snake. I hope you like it as well. Its long but worth the wade.

When I was in college I was able to convince the mill in my hometown to hire me for weekends and summer work. I was married to Blaze's mom (Annie Hall's twin)at the time, both of us young and gliding through life with few worries and not the best grasp of reality. I was going to school with the dream of coaching pro basketball and writing Steinbeck-type novels. She wanted to save the world and play her guitar while singing, "One Tin Soldier". She was killing turkeys at the local Norbest plant and I was commuting everyday to the mountains to pull veneer off a conveyor belt and digging sawdust out of my shorts. We had one car which was a teeny little Datsun something with a name full of numbers that sounded more like a Star War's character then a car.

I was able to hitch up with a lifer at the mill named, Willie VanderHooten. Willie was in his mid-fifties at the time and had worked at the mill before, well, as he said it, "before you were a sperm in your old man's ball sack." Now that's an image. I'm figuring if I'm right with the math he had been at the mill since the late-1950s. Willie was a strange sort and the mention of my old man's ball sack may have been the only thing he ever said to me that was of this world.

Six feet and a couple of inches he stood with a kink in his back that gave one the impression of a walking question mark. He was forever donned in a furry-hooded-coat that appeared a size or two too big, leather boots with his denims legs tucked inside and topping off his millworkers uniform, a stocking cap that sat at a point on top of his head. Oh yeah, thick black-horned rimmed glasses and the ever presence of a five day shadow on his chin. Willie was far from an attractive fella, minus the ornriness and the green shade he looked a lot like Jim Carey's Grinch.

Willie would pick me up at "Ferns Corner" every day at 1:00 pm in his boat of a car where we would ride to the mill together to work the swing-shift. I think it was a LTD of some sort and built like a tank and rattled as bad. The car had to be able to handle the 20 miles of gravel road that was meant to stop an invasion by the Russians, with winding corners that obstructed any view of oncoming traffic, 100 foot cliffs and washboard moguls forever etched in the road base from the hundreds of logging trucks that took the trip many times a day and Willie's driving. Young and invincable I never put much thought in my daily commute with Willie and if I had I may have missed some of the most insightful discussions of my young life and quite frankly, some of the craziest stuff I'd ever heard.

It just so happened shortly after the two of us connected up as "commuting buddies", I was reassigned to a dryer feeder position where I was teamed with Willie for the next six months. So our long talks, which were mostly my inquiring mind digging nuggets out of Willie's head, were not only during our commute but now a whole ten hours of Willie and the young and inspiring Pirate talking about anything that came to my mind.

Types of discussions we would have went a lot like, "Hey Willie where'd you meet your wife?"

He would stop in his tracks, turn to me and while he dug out a piece of "Big Hunk" candy bar from a hole he had in one of his molars and lay it all out. "Ummm, I actually I met the missus, well, I met her through a mail order. Yeah hmmm, yeah she answered my ad."

This was long before Al Gore put together the internet so meeting strangers was a bit slower in that day. "You did? Man that must have been something. How many answers did you get from your ad?" I'd ask just curious why anyone would ever respond to anything this goofy fella could ever put in an ad.

"Oh, I had one other lady answer." He told me so proudly.

"Oh, yeah? What happened?" keeping the story going to pass the time and to avoid the boredom that comes from feeding veneer dryers.

He cleared the wad of white "Big Hunk" chunk from his tooth and tore off another bite,"This one beautiful lady had written me and we met for dinner and a night on the town. Listening to music and me reading her the poetry I had written about the lady of my dreams."

Thinking what type of poetry this fellow could have ever written and having the image of Cyrano coming up with the idea of using a proxy while he read his words of love from behind a bush. "How did she take a night out with a Casanova like you?"

"She seemed to have had a wonderful time that evening but she wrote me a letter the next day telling me that she had had a great time but believed we weren't meant for each other. She told me that we lived in two different worlds." He appeared to stand a little straighter then the usual hunched posture. "In which I replied, what is the color of the sky in your world? We never seen each other again. I guess she had other dreams to catch. Then my wife was the second woman to answer."

"I guess the two of you are of the same world?" I chided.

"Yep and the sky is the same color to the both of us." He smiled.

Our talks covered the whole gammet. We talked of world problems and he would answer many of my smart aleck questions I would ask just to keep myself from falling into the rut of a millworker.

One night on our ride home in the dark over the graveled road surrounded by nothing but stars and trees I asked him if he had ever seen a UFO? Willie lit another Pall Mall filterless cigarette pulled over slowly to a pull out section of the road which over looked the deepest of the canyons along the road. "Several years ago I was driving through this area. It was late like this and I saw a flying saucer circling the top of that mountain top over there." He pointed toward Laurel Mountain where SAC had placed a radar to keep an eye on them rascally Russians. "It was circling around that radar over there. I then drove around these hills until I found myself just out side of the compound and could see the UFO circling around the radar. When I got to the gate in the road that led to the radar I got out to see if I could get closer to the radar when I was met by three men. Soldiers with guns and they forcefully convinced me to get back into my car. I left and never said another word to anyone other then my wife. My wife and I have been taking lessons from a medium in order to see if we can communicate with them, the aliens." He lit another Pall Mall off the butt of the last and we drove the remaining miles to my car without saying much. I thought Willie was inhaling his smokes a little deep.

The commutes continued for several more months and the topics of conversation varied with Willie and my imagination. Then one day he told me that he and his wife had taken up witch craft many months ago and last night they had to cease because objects were flying around their house and they were visited by someone. He wouldn't tell me much about the visit from the strangers other then he thought they were connected with the radar and the UFO. I thought I sensed some fear in Willie when he told me about the visit.

Then one Monday afternoon Willie never showed up at "Ferns Corner". After waiting for a half hour I drove to work myself and again the next three days. I assumed that Willie was sick and hadn't bothered to contact anyone. On the fourth day someone from the mill office called me into the office to ask me if I knew anything about Willie. I told them I hadn't and headed back to work. The older lady in the office called me aside as I was heading out the office door and told me they had called the Sheriff's office and the Sheriff had went out to Willie's house and found no one there at all. No Willie, no wife, nothing. It appeared that the two just disappeared. They had left their house and left everything behind. Just evaporated.

All I could think of for the next several days was that Willie must have finally made contact with the other side and probably had been abducted by aliens. To this day I wonder about Willie and what color the sky is in his new world.

Quick Post

Thanks for enjoying the music of late. I will hold off on it for awhile until I figure out how to shut off the previous one when I make a new post.

Mrs. Pirate has been trying to cheer me up today. She thinks I've been riled a little lately. I agree this last week was hell if you really care. Dealt with excess crap at work and had a situation that almost came to blows with a liar, cheat and thief. I told the prick if he ever showed his face around me ever again I'd stomp a mud puddle in his forehead. For a peaceful Pirate it wasn't good. I also was pissed off at those who wanted to inflict additional pain upon the soldiers and their families by creating political gains. But it looks like their attempts were pushed back by a 403 to 3 vote. I don't have the time to go into it or to address my buddy Rev. Dr. Abagambi's remarks because of Mrs. Pirate is getting her coat on and telling me I need to get my butt in gear. (No I'm not whipped I'm just desperate).

We have sunshine in Salem and she wants me to go get my haircut. I tell her God has been working on the top and the front of it why should I help him. Stop at the Book Bin and look around. See if there is any classical literature calling out my name this week. Maybe a Faulkner or a Miller or let's see any suggestions?

Grab a slice of bread at Great Harvest and make a depsoit at the bank.

The civil war between the Ducks and the Beavers is today so most football Oregonians are hunkering down for the right to brag. We live in a split house as far as the game goes. So it should be interesting.

I plan to do something on the blog tonight. I hope the muse is still awake then.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Random Thoughts and Jim

I dedicate this rant to my friend the infamous Rev. Dr. Abagambi, long live Hunter S Thompson and his pissed off view of the world. A lot of beer in the pot listening to Jim and his college buddies. When are they going to give you parole?

You know what makes me sick is the Democrats playing politics while young men and women are in country.

Blood is on W's hands but I agree with W the left is trying to rewrite history. I think the Democrats are as responsible for the situation in Iraq as anyone else. Teddy, Barbaras, Chuck Shumer and the rest of you chikenshits you sound like Hitler's youth after the war. "We were only following orders". Or the defendant who claims innocence because all he did was drive the car.

I find it funny that Woodward is ass deep in the Plame leak. Its funny how the left held him on a pedestal for withholding his secret meetings with his leak in a smoke filled garage.

I hear Cindy "Its-all-about-me" Sheehan is taking her show to Europe. Good. Maybe she can swing by France and say hello to the rioters there. She can report back how much better off the lads on the other side of the pond are then us.

I say we send Cindy and her ilk to the Middle East to talk with the Islamic Fundlementalist. I'm sure they won't lose their heads over them.

Boy am I glad to hear that Martha's Apprentice won't be back next year. I agree she got a bad deal for her stint in the "Big House" but she still grates on my nerves. Don't you think he daughter looks better then her mom?

I have found my show for the year. "My Name is Earl". If I'm not wrong I think he's my cousin. You gotta love the mouth breather brother, Randy.

I'm still liking "Medium" too. Reminds me a lot like of the old Twilight Zone in some weird way. But definately not "Night Gallery". What Night Gallery scared you the most? I'm with the bug in the ear one myself.

Rams are pissing me off. Thus the rants for today. But the Blazers are giving me hope and so are the Ducks. Ducks 24 Beavers 21.

How about this mother who got 30 years for partying with the party boys from school sounds a little harsh to me. Especially in a world where OJ is still free to rent cars. Couldn't they have stuck her in jail for 2 and gave her 5 year probation. She needed a Kennedy lawyer on this one.

When I was in college I drank a lot of Rainier pounders and smoked a lot of twisted smokes to Jim and The Doors. I hope you appreciate their music. The edge they project is missing in a lot of the stuff today. I have only seen their type of edge and social disgust in MM.

You guys are in a lot of trouble now that my son, Jock showed me how to add videos. Watch out Kasey Kasem. If you are unlucky you'll get my Top 40.

I've been listening to a lot of my old stuff (music) lately on the way to and from work. I think they think I'm developing an attitude. Peach is about to slap me up side the head. But it takes her three days to figure out how I RF'd her. Screw em. The ass wipe of a boss bitched me yesterday for missing four days earlier this month for being sick. Then he missed half of this week and out again today sick. But he sends his lovely and gracious wife to micro-manage my ass. I might charge him for dog sitting. I went back through my time sheets and over the last two years I have worked 320 hours overtime without pay. That's 40 days and he bitches about four days. Man don't get me started on this butt crack.

A friend of mine (I should say a commie friend of mine) was telling me the other day that Helen Keller was a Socialist. Who gives a rat's tail? Of course she was she was dependent on others for everything.

Hey, George let's find away to get the hell out of Iraq. Lock the door, throw the keys on the roof and call it good. Maybe light a match and let the whole place go up then call Cindy over for a beer and let the bitch sleep on your couch.

War all is over.......

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Day as a Pirate

And you thought the only thing good from Tupelo, Miss was Elvis the Pelvis. Enjoy my man John Lee Hooker as he introduces you to the "Healer".

Home Welcoming

After a day of working for Sir Von Ass Wipe and his lovely and gracious wife, Peach and then battling the traffic south on Interstate 5 for 45 miles my blood pressure drops twenty points as soon as I see this area.

This is the start of the street to my lair. This picture does not do the street justice. A recent storm had just blown through and removed most of the luster in the colorful trees. In mid-October and mid-May this street is by far the prettiest in Salem. The fall colors varie from many shades of yellow, orange and red. During the spring months the blossoms on the trees welcome me home with a different pallete of colors; pinks, whites, purple and green.

These trees greet me every evening as I near my driveway. They seem to be telling me to leave all the "funky-shit-going-down-in-the-city" behind me and put on the Pirate dad and Pirate husband hat.

In the morning when I leave for work I swear I hear them whisper, "Take it all in stirde Pirate. We'll see you later."

If you look real close you can see part of the Pirate's lair at the end of the street.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

He who hits first...

When I was ten or there abouts, prior to my adventure to "Triangle Trees" (see earlier post) I went through a stage of being bullied by eighth graders. It wasn't like they were bigger then me just the fact that they were several classes ahead off me in school made them "bigger". Being born with a right arm a bit shorter then my left arm and looking similar to a hook and wearing horned-rimmed glasses made me an easy target or should I say an obvious target. Being the oldest of four kids I had little experience with fighting people outside of my younger brother and no experience fighting kids that truely intended to inflict physical harm on ones body. My idea of being a ruffian was calling Julie from across the street names.

I spent one whole summer running for my life whenever I encountered a certain eighth grader and his posse. Once they chased me up a tree where I sat for three hours as they tried to hit me with rocks and pine cones in their attempt to dislodge me from my roost twenty- feet above their heads and just enough distance to make their projectiles lose their punch. Finally another kid who had some sympathy for me came by so I was able to pursuade him to get my mother. When the bullies saw my mother coming they scattered. You didn't want to mess with my mother.

That particular summer had been a great summer except for the three or four times I had to run for my life or hide from getting my butt kicked. One day word got to me the reason this bully had designs on rearranging my face was because he heard that I had called his mom a "whore". Keep in mind at 10 years old I had never ever heard of the word "Whore". Least not know what the heck it meant. Now it became obvious to me the reason this bully wanted me dead was he thought I had lessened his mother's reputation or enhanced it. I wasn't sure.

That evening when my dad got home from work at the mill I got the opportunity to ask him what the word "whore" meant. From the definition he gave me I was more confused and wasn't sure if what they said I had said was even possible. The "whore" incident hadn't been all that long after I had been told what the word, "fuck" meant, literally. I was still mulling that one over in my mind. At the time I was convinced that the kid that had told me about the word "fuck" came from some "nut" clan. I was pretty sure my family had never partaken in such wierd behavior. I was confident my mom and dad surely hadn't.

I assured my dad I had never called this bully's mom a bad word and couldn't recall ever thinking of the woman in the first place. But I still faced the dilema of running for my life whenever the bully and his posse appeared. I needed a solution.

My dad told me that the reason these kids chased me was because of the "sport" of it. They saw me as an easy target and whenever they chased me I ran, so they had their game to play. He told me they would continue chasing me until I stood up to them and fought. He also told me the secret in fighting was to be sure to throw the first punch. And to make sure the first punch landed where it counted, had the most effect. The three areas he told me was the nose, the chest or the crotch. I wasn't sure if this was good advice or if my dad was trying to make extra room at the table.

Several days later I was walking home across the baseball field between my house and the "Rec Hall", which was the General Store in our town. As I was walking toward my home I heard one of the bully's minions yell, "There's that four-fingered bastard. Let's get him." I turned around and saw four of the posse taking up chase on their bikes toward me with their terra-cotta-toothed leader riding the bike in front. I took off running as fast as I could. As I neared my home I could hear them laughing and puffing right on my heels. I knew I was a dead man, there was just too much space left to reach my yard and little before they ran over me with their bikes.

At the last minute I spotted a large stick laying in a ditch between the ball field and our backyard. The stick was about four feet long and had the diameter of a baseball bat. It was my only hope. Just as the bully was about to clip my heels I veered left and dove on the ground to get the stick. I jumped up with the stick in hand and swung the stick like I was swinging at a fastball. Eyes closed, stick swishing through the air and "POW". I opened my eyes just as the stick slapped across the bully's chest,chin and right shoulder. I hit him so hard the end of the stick broke off and flew several feet. The bully flew off the back of his bike right on his butt and his bike peddled away on its own. I thought there was a chance that I may have killed him. Then he sat up and with an ever so evil voice said, "I'm going to kill you fuckin four-fingered little shit."

He then continued the chase on foot. As he tackled me I made sure to cover my face as best as I could as he pounded all about my back and the back of my head with his fists. When he was done pounding me with his fist he threw in a couple of kicks to the ribs for good measure. He then left me there pounded and crying. But I had a sense of satisfaction knowing I had left a mark on him too. A mark that stayed planted on his kisser a lot longer and in plain view for all to see for sometime.

I guess my dad was right if you stand and fight they will leave you alone but not after inflicting a royal ass kicking.

From that day on the bully never ever chased me again and neither did his flunkies.

Monday, November 14, 2005

When Life Comes Around on You

When I was a little kid around the third grade a girl moved in across the street. Her name was Julie. She was in the second grade and all girl. My brother and sister and I were introduced to her when she moved in because her dad was one of the new foremen at the mill and was one of my dad's new peers.

My brother Kevin and I took an instant dislike to her for no reason other then she was "all girl" and she befriended our sister. It wasn't long my sister had herself a new good friend and my brother and I had someone we could terrorize. I mean haraass the crap out of.

We constantly made fun of Julie and never missed an opportunity to make her visit at our house nothing short of hell. Even if our sister told our parents what we had done to Julie that day and even if they punished us it was just motivation to harrass Julie more.

Julie was in Kevin's class at school and his drive to give Julie heck even landed him in the principal's office a time or two. He once put glue in her hair and cut one of her hair ribbons with scissors during arts. He told me everytime the play kickball he always kicks the ball right at her because she was afraid of catching it. Whenever they played dodge ball he told me he always drilled her good with the ball.

Whenever I saw Julie I had to call her four-eyes (even though I wore glasses too). I made fun of her long plaid dresses she wore and the pink bike she rode back and forth to school.

Julie was a little taller then most of the boys our age so "Jolly Green Giant" always sounded appealing enough to yell at her as she went by and most often brought her to tears or at least brought her boiling blood to the surface of her face. Her ever skinny frame leant itself to names like "bean pole" or "praying mantis".

You could say that Julie's physical features and close proximity to the second and third grade boys who lived across the street from her brought a lot of unwelcomed misery. But to her credit she never wavered her friendship with our sister and rarly allowed our orneriness to dampened her smily personality. To be honest with you I would have to say my brother and myself were bordering on bullies when it came to Julie. We never physically hurt her other then the bouts of dodgeball with my brother but we did our damage with our mouths and our poor behaviors toward innocent girls that befriended our sister.

After a few years living across the street from us, Julie's father had a terrible auto accident and was left with permenant brain damage. He was a tall Dutchman whose body was strong enough to get him through the tragedy of the wreck but his mind was left to relive his childhood. He had grown up in Souhteast Asia in a Dutch colony that had been captured by the invading Japanese during WWII and he spent most of his younger years in a Japanese concentration camp. The medical attention and the nursing that comes along with such tragedy wasn't found in our little logging community so after a year Julie's mother moved their family to the valley and Julie was never to be terrorized by my brother or me again.

Several years later when I was in high school my brother and I were helping our dad put wood away for the winter and a big new shinny Chrysler pulled up in front of the house and out stepped the most beuatifully, tall, statuesque brunette I or my brother had ever seen. She gracefully looked around our place and then set eyes on the two of us both filthy and gruffed up from cutting, hauling and stacking wood. She ambled her beautiful self up to us and asked if we were Frankie and Kevin. Taking our hats off to show a slight amount of respect we both puffed out our chests and answered, "Yes we are. And who might you be?"

"I'm Julie. I use to live a cross the street from you two. " She delicatly smiled. "Do you remember me?"

"Oh, yeah. We remember you", slightly embarrassed and hoping she was into turning over new leaves and all.

She smiled showing even more of her beauty. "Good." she said and turned back toward her car. When she got to her car she turned back once again and smiled.

What revenge she must have felt.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

When Grandparents "Come out"

My grandparents are in town. They live in Wasilla, Alaska and try to get around to their realtives at least one time a year. Now that they are in their 80's it is harder on them then it use to be. As my grandmother says they, "came out" before the holidays because it is cheaper.

I asked the little sawed-off 4' 10" preacher's daughter what she meant by saying her and grandpa "came out". I then said I hope you have not read my blog the last couple of days because you're going to be pissed. With my rambling and her diminished hearing she fastly became confused. "Grandma are you trying to tell us that you and grandpa are, "coming out"?

"No", she said. "We already came out".

"Does my mom know about it?" I asked knowing she is wondering what her smart aleck grandson is up to.

"Of course she knows we came out. She knew before anyone did, because she picked us up at the airport." Shaking her head. "Herb I told you to stay out of those candies." she barked at my grandfather.

"Does anyone else know you came out?" I asked leading her down my the road of total confusion.

"Yes! my mother knows and my sisters and my brother knows" she assured me.

"Its a good thing Great-Grandpa has died already or this would have killed him." I said as I gave her a hug.

She sat back down and kept looking at me like I had completely lost it. Shaking her head and telling Mrs. Pirate she was worried about me and occasionally telling grandpa to get out of this or that as he hunted around the house for candy.

When my brother came in I whispered just loud enough to him so grandma could hear that grandma and grandpa were gay.

She shot across the room and asked what I had just said.

"I was telling Kevin that you and grandpa had announced to your daughter, mother and siblings that you two were gay," keeping a straight face I played it a little longer. "I for one support you and have no problem with it at all."

"We're not gay, if you mean that we're homosexuals." she told the two of us completely in a state of confusion.

"So you're not happy about it?" I asked.

"What are you talking about? Of course I'm happy" she laughed.

"About coming out?" I attempted affirmation.

"What are you talking about, you?" she asked as she began to pinch my cheek.

"You said you both came out and I wanted you to know I love you regardless of how God made you." I told her with a big Pirate smile on my self.

"I love you too. You made me a grandmother."

**A note to all that may be confused. Those who have lived in the interior of Alaska before it became a state always say the "came out" whenever they come to the states.

What is funny about this is I do this to her every time and she still hasn't figured out what I'm doing but she is getting better at keeping grandpa out of the candy dish. Over the last ten years he has developed dimintia and spends his whole day looking for candy or anything elde he can chew on. I believe this may be a blessing for him because the man fought on four islands during WWII the last one being Okinawa. The simple man from Paradise, California has a lot of things to remember and they can't all be good. He never spoke much of the Pacific tour but I know it wasn't pretty. He once showed me a handful of pictures he had taken in Okinawa. Seeing Japanese men stacked up like cords of wood and the destruction people can be a lot to carry around. So if he spends the last years of his life sneaking around looking for candy and avoiding the commands from my grandmother who recently "came out" I think its a blessing.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A little side note to yesterdays pondering

One of my good liberal friends gave me a call today and said, "Boy did you step in it yesterday with all that bullshit about gays being the proof that their is a God." He then laughed his usual, Pirate what have you been smoking laugh.

He continued. "What the homosexual life style is, is natures way to cut down on the population."

Confused and still trying to remember if I'd smoked anything before I posted yesterday. "Why would nature want to cut down on the population?" I asked him still confused.

"Because the world is getting over run with people. There isn't enough room to put everyone." he kept on laughing.

"I don't follow you", continuing with my confusion.

"Look Pirate there are 6 billion people in the world and not enough land. So nature wanting its super species to survive, creates other activities to keep the humans happy and slowing their mulitplication process." Assured my professor friend from one of the country's finest institutions of higher education.

"How dense does the land mass people quotatant have to get before we all "turn" gay then", I asked?

"Its getting there" was his final assurance.

"Man, Pat Robertson is going to be pissed." I joked. "I just think it will be 1 billion years before that could happen, if not longer. You know if you took everyone in the whole world. I mean everyone. And put them in the state of Texas. They would be less dense then the population of New York City?" I informed him.

"What?" he asked as he was trying to hang up the phone.

"Yeah, there are 6,478,380,004 people in the world. And Texas has 1,382,288,160 square feet. Which is 5 square feet per person." I informed him.

"So" he said as he left the phone up to his ear.

"New York has a population of 8,005,742 with 1,605,120 square feet, which is 4.8 square feet per person. Definately more dense then the overly populated Texas or the world for that matter." I told him feeling that the two seasons of watching "Numbers" was paying off. "I'm sticking with my theory".

"You know what Pirate, you either have too much to smoke or too much time on your hands" click....

Take the Time to Say Thanks

Today is Veteren's Day. A good time as any to take the time to thank those that have served our country. Thank those who have provided so much for so many. Those who have sacrificed either in their own life or that of a loved one. Send a card or an email or make a telephone call to those you know that have served and thank them.

Whatever your political views may be where ever you may have come from, take the time to thank those that have allowed us to have the freedoms we enjoy today.

Then tomorrow we can get back to our own self-serving endevours.

I want to thank:

Wes Gale
Bruce Eddie
Herb Spreen
Michael Solis
Jim Krummel
Richard Krummel
Richard Roberts Sr
Richard Roberts Jr
Harry Cathcart
Ed Salaska
Noah Webster Shaw
Kenneth Eddie
Mel Eddie
Johan Miller
Jeff Jones
Keith Ames
Don Takley
Jim Robinson
Robin Brown
Michael Walters
Donald Eddie

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Intelligent Design or One Big Mistake?

I had to spend a lot time in a car today driving back from Grants Pass, Oregon. This put me in close proximity to talk radio. Bad idea for a guy who has opinions himself. I got to listening to this discussion between some athiest and a some overbearing zealot as they discussed the debate of "Big Bang" vs. "Intelligent Design". Both of them spewed the typical closed minded BS that you usually hear in these types of debates. Both taking positions that only some one 10,000 years old would know. Then somewhere in the dabate homosexuality came up.

I do not know a lot of people that claim they are homosexuals but I have known a few over the years and am related to a couple as well. I have never had an issue with them if you don't count my high school years. I think most boys between 12 and 18 see the gay life as possibly the worst thing imaginable. If I think about it "straight" men tend to think bad of gays until they are in their mid to late twenties.

I think I quit thinking about gays being something of the devil as soon as I had a kid of my own. When I became a father the last thing I wanted to do was layout a game plan in my family that could come back to haunt me later. I mean how could someone ever un-love their kid if he or she was gay?

Well anyway back to these numb-heads and their debate. As I listened to them it became obvious to me they needed a third opinion. They needed to hear the Pirate's thoughts on this but I couldn't get through on the cell so I decided I'd share it with you.

First, I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I also think all sin is equal in the eyes of the lord. So when I lie, cheat,steal or use the lord's name in vain my sin is equal in the eyes of the lord as the homosexual's. So I have no easy out for me other then asking forgiveness on judgement day and hoping my advocate, Jesus understands my heart.

Secondly, the fact there are homosexuals in society is proof there is a God. An Intelligent Designer if you will. Because based on the evolutional theory or scientific theory animals evolve. The survival of the fittiest is the underlying process that allows a species to move to the next level. The strongest in a species essentially dominant of their species.

Now, with that in mind why would a creature that is driven by the survival of its species take part in actions that would obstruct the species from multiplying? My thinking, though not tested and not backed up with a doctorate degree or stuffy surroundings, is that only a creature that innately knows that there is existance beyond this life would participate in activities that would and could keep it from multiplying. Its only a Pirates opinion.

Then I thought of the discussion of those trying to identify a gene that produces homosexuals and all the discussion of couples selecting the sex of their child or eliminating down syndrome kids from being born and the selction process of what types of people society prefers to be born. I then had this image of Jerry Falwell and the Gay Pride Society in the same corner fighting abortion.

Its a good thing the ride was only 3 1/2 hours and I had a Montgomery Gentry CD with me. I could only imagine where this post would have went then.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Please bare with me on this

I do not want to be seen as some kind of nut that just can't let something go. A crazy who dwells on the morbid or seen as a pessimist, but I have had this reoccurring dream for about three weeks now. I originally thought what a great idea for a book. Then I thought maybe a screen play. Then it hit me I do not have the talent nor the research time to pull this off so I am going to put it to you guys and ask what you think. This weekend Pirates tried to highjack a cruise liner and it hit me this is too much of a coincidence for me and I had to put my idea out there.

The dream I have been having is that a cruise ship leaving San Francisco is highjacked after a hundred miles or so into its voyage. The ship is over ran by Islamic Terrorists with the help from the crew. Once on board they ship is turned around and brought back into the bay and moored right off Alcatraz Island.

The terrorists then notify the authorities that they have a nuclear device with the capability of destroying San Francisco, Oakland and all the municipalities surrounding the area. The terrorists demands are simple. Remove the American troops from the holy land within 30 days or they will detonate the bomb. If their contacts in the city detect a mass exodus from the bay area they will let the bomb off as well. If the military takes any action they will blow it all up too. The ship's passengers will be used as bargaining chips throughout the ordeal.

What I need from you guys is what would you do? What are you willing to try? How can we prevent this in the future?

I am not seeking a place to plant the blame, the administration could be Hillary, Bush or McCain for all I care. I am just wondering where something like this would go and how we as people would react. Any comments?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pirates at large

Any of you that have read my blog over the last several months knows I try to keep my ear on current events and I tend to side with GW when it comes to the war on terrorism and I have gotten a lot of support and some flack about it. All good and healthy debate that has made me better informed and I hope it has made more of you a little better informed or at least interested in observing the events as they play out.

I am as sickened as anyone when the tally of dead and wounded American treasures are scrolled across our television sets. My back stiffens and I lose a little air every time I hear of another Oregonian soldier being killed in action since I know several young men now serving in the Middle East and know many more reaching the age of being able to serve their country. As long as there are soldiers in harms way I will not voice any opinion other then my full fledged support of our actions. I as everyone else, have noted the incompetence and the mishaps that the Administation and the military have either perpretrated or endurred. I am also disheartened to hear of so much death on both sides. I have explained before how I celebrate all life and as a conservative do not support capital punishment. But thank God this world is not all about what I believe and fortunately this old Atlas does does not revolve around my Pirate arse.

Since 911, I like millions of other Americans have been vigilante in our attempts to be good citizens and to do what we can do about any future terrorists acts against the USA. I have often thought where is the USA vulnerable? Where could someone do the most harm to us? What types of things could those bent on destroying the infidels be willing and able to do?

The obvious targets have been the airline industry, domestic power facilities and urban transit systems. The areas of entry that concerns a lot of us is the borders with Canada and Mexico and the shipping cantainers that arrive unsearched into our ports throughout the USA. I have focused my energies at possible targets that would make the biggest bang, create at the most fear or anger and targets that appear to be easier then the obvious targets. I have come up with three that I think are important and we need to keep an eye on.

The first one is the schools in the USA. All schools from elementary to higher education are easy targets of mass murder. In the early parts of the war in Iraq a personal computer of one of the Bath Party member's was found and searched for information. On the computer six school districts around the USA were found. The data that was taken from this computer revealed that in these school districts they had schedules of the staff and security monitored, there were floor layouts of these schools and dates noted that had maximum capacity and minimal security. Salem school district was one of the six. What it tells me is that someone living among us has been busy plotting while we accepted them as neighbors and co-workers.

The other area that has concerned me has been the propensity of Americans to be entertained in masses. At least every weekend in the USA there are 50 or more sporting events taking place where 50,000 or more people have gathered. Areas like college and professional football stadiums, NASCAR events and rallies and conventions. All of these events are easy targets with the numerous means of volleying a projectile into the crowd from several miles away. It would be seen by many all at one time and create a lot of havoc and fear.

The third area that has concerned me has led me to attempt to write a novel about and I have been busy trying to put together as much data as I can. This is the luxery liner industry. This industry is such a weak under belly it has made me think of many scenerios. This last weekend some of my ilk tried to make this concern a reality. Apparently two "Pirate" ships or speed boats attacked a small ocean liner with shoulder launced grenades and tried to board the crusie ship. The Captain of the liner was too good for them and thwarted the Pirates aims. (And you thought we were all living in Anaheim). In 1985 terrorists Abba Abu was the mastermind behind the Achille Lauro highjacking. On a side note he was captured in Baghdad by the USA troops during the current war in Iraq.

What concerns me most about the ocean liner "highjacking" is the potential weapon it becomes. First you have a large number of hostages. Secondly, armed with a nuclear device you could cruise it into a place like San Francisco Bay and take out a whole city or at least hold it hostage.

On a more up beat note. My 8th grade girls basketball team begins tonight and cross country is over for the year. My voice is completely gone and am having a heck of a time shaking this bug.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Slick is 16 (so you have been warned)

I'm only bringing this up because I care about others and I don't want to be sued. The Slick meister turned 16 years old today. That's right there is one more driver on the road from the Pirate brood. And I'm warning you he drives a lot like his mother. Those of you that have ridden in a car when the lovely and gracious Mrs. Pirate was at the helm, know exactly what I'm talking about. She can do many things better then most but keeping her passengers feeling safe while she drives is not her forte. Now to complicate things Slick will soon be seeking his driver's license very very soon. So you have been warned.

Slick is my youngest son. I gave him the alias of Slick not because of any unsavory characteristics or any "horn-dog" behavoir usually associated with the name. I gave it to him because he is the coolest most laid back guy I have ever met. He is the epitome of Type B personality. A lot like Blaze, not much bothers this dude. He rarely has his self riled about much other then girls. Boy does he loves the ladies.

I knew it the first time I took him to kindergarten he was a ladie's man. Even though he could acutally pronounce only a few words properly and was a late bloomer when it came to talking he had little fear expressing himself with his eyes and smile. When I took him into his classroom for the first time, holding his hand and introducing him to his teacher, he looked up at her as she greeted him and said to her," You're handsome," accompanied with his killer smile and beautiful eyes. Instead of being nervous of the new environment of a school and all the ruckus that comes with a new set of kindergarteners, he instantly seized the opportunity to make it his. All these new friends and a handsome woman in charge, how could life be any better then that?

As he met new friends in those first weeks of school he would always tell me about the new friend and how their mother was pretty (We had fixed the "handsome" part). Slick wasn't the best at expressing himself verbally and often we had to turn to Jock and ask him what his brother had just said. But he did express himself with few words. I think the first word I could actually understand what he had said other then mama and dada was "shit". To this day it is still his favorite word for expressing most situations.

Slick has always been poor at remembering names and how certain things and people relate to each other. Several years ago I was driving my kids out to see my sister on a farm she lived on outside of town. After we had been on the road for awhile Slick asked me who we were going to visit.

"My sister Kim." I told him.
"You have a sister?" he asked all puzzled.
"Yes, of course."
"Who is your sister?" still puzzled and looking at me like I was pulling his leg.
"Aunt Kim." I assured him. "You know, Zach, Tia and Chris' mom."
"That's your sister?"
"Who did you think she was?"
"One of mom's friends."
"You know that picture on the piano of me and Uncle JK and Kevin?"
"Yes." looking even more puzzled.
"Why would she be in that picture with the three of us if she wasn't my sister?"
"I don't know. I never thought about it. Has mom seen the picture?"

Now that is Slick in a nutshell. Happy Birthday Slick, you're a stud.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Old Joke Recycled

This is for my good friend Hoss who l.ikes discussing innane subjects like the animal kingdom's gestation periods. This was originally ran in February. But it still is funny.

A fifth grade teacher was explaining reproduction to her class one day and thought of a good way to get the point across to her pupils. She told them since a three day weekend was coming up the only homework she would have them do is take note when they are out and about over the weekend and to see if anyone could spot nature taking its course.

After the weekend the teacher asked if any of the students had seen anything over the weekend they wanted to share.

One little girl related how after school last Friday as she was walking home she saw one dog pushing another dog from behind.

The teacher chuckled and then explained how dogs reproduce and the gestation period and how dogs tend to have litters.

Anyone else she asked?

Another little girl proudly told of an incident at her grandparent's farm over the weekend and how she had seen three mallard ducks holding down a female duck and they were all ganging up on her. And how they were hurting the female duck.

Once again the teacher chuckled and told the class about the breeding habits of birds and how they lay eggs and so forth.

Anyone else?

A little spirited boy in the back of the room who had his hand up the whole time was finally called on.

"Yes teacher", he said, "Over the weekend I was watching an old movie with my dad and there were three indians on top of old John Wayne".

The teacher couldn't contain herself. She laughed and laughed. "No son she replied the were only fighting".

"Good" the boy replied. "I thought it would take more than three indians to fuck old John Wayne."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Our Town

As I've mentioned several times in my blog that I am a product of smalltown America. I come from a town a lot like the one Thorton Wilder writes in his play, "Our Town". Un like his town we never had a local cemetary. Most of those who died in Valsetz were buried in either Falls City or Dallas. But like Thorton Wilders play we had the usual drama and personal experiences that people live through in their daily lives.

I never grew up in a jungle of tall buildings and concrete. The jungle or forest if you will where I grew up is located in the Coast Range Mountains approxmiately 50 miles west of the state Capital, Salem.

It is this time of year that I remembr Valsetz the most. The changing color of the trees and the ever present rain. In fact, it is said that Valsetz was the rain capital of the United States except for some exotic place in Hawaii, but who actual counts Hawaii. You just know if there is a place in Hawaii that gets more rain the Valsetz area it was created to impress the tourists. I can't imagine anyone actually living in a rainy part of Hawaii. I would have to say it rained in Valsetz from Halloween until Memorial Day in May. If it wasn't raining it was snowing. There were parts of the town that was nothing but a large mud puddle three fourths of the year.

The combination of the rain and the type of soil found in the Laurel Mountain area where Valsetz was located is considered the best place in the world for fir trees to grow. We had several variety of firs, Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, spruce, white pine, and others that slip my mind. Our hillsides were also covered with viny-maples, alder, chitum (cascara), various wild fruit trees (crabapple, prune), huckleberries, skunk cabbage, Oregon grape and sallal.

I suspect the bounty that God blessed on the area is why Valsetz ever came to be. Men and women brought their families from various places around the world in the early 1900s to places like Valsetz. They brought their families to the region in search for jobs and some amount of prosperity and a small chunck of the American dream. These people were hard working people. People that had never heard of ergonomics, SAIF, or sick leave. These were people that endured the environment and the elements that nature provided or put up as obsticles. These people came to the area as loggers, camp cooks, millworkers, train engineers, road builders and carpenters. They came in the early 1900s and carved out small logging camps all along the Siletz river and its tributaries.

Eventually these small logging camps evolved into one town, Valsetz. Until the day the town's last standing homes were razed by Boise Cascade, the town was often referred to as, "Camp" by the older residents. I do not ever remember my dad or any of his peers referring to Valsetz as anything other then "Camp". "Better call in the dogs and wrap it up, its time to head back to camp".

This picture of the men sitting in front of the sawmill were of the original settlers in Valsetz. My dad's grandfather, father and uncles are seated in the front row. Eventually the timber industry would take my dad's father and one of my dad's uncle's lives. My dad lost his dad when he was nine years old from an industrial accident and a few years later one of his uncles would be killed in the woods as well. In Falls City our family has at least five men that lost their lives in the woods.

In the mid-1980s Boise Cascade Corporation had determined that the plywood plant and the residence of Valsetz were no longer vital to their bottom line and to Boise Cascade's shareholders. The fact that those from Valsetz had built the company to the success it had become meant nothing to the corporate heads. Everything that had come before Boise Cascade meant nothing as well.

The decision was made to fire, layoff and downsize to a small crew to raze the mill and the town. As people found new towns and homes to move their families to outside of Valsetz, the town crew was ordered to put a red "X" on the side of their home and within days bulldoze and burn the home. Very few were offered jobs in other Boise Cascade mills and many found it difficult to adopt to the "civilized" world. Within a few years many of those men that my dad had grew up with and worked with in the mill for twenty plus years had passed on. Old age, too much alcohol, cancer or heart attacks I do not really know. I suspect broken hearts.

In the summer of 1985 the town was to be finally "closed". There were to be no more families to raise, no more ball games to attend, no more school days, no more life in Valsetz. On that last day the largest Mountain Days-wake ever was thrown. There was enough bar-be-ques, beer kegs and live music for a large city to be had. People met at the school grounds and brought their grills, favorite adult beverage, musical instruments and memories. The day was filled with hugs, tears, laughs and more tears.

This picture is the last picture of the folks from my hometown. It was taken by a Statesman Journal reporter. I look through it ever so often and note those who have passed and those I can't remember their names. I also notice those I grew up with and the parents of the kids I knew.

I can't boast that any of these people were the greatest at anything. They probably weren't necessarily the best looking people in the world nor were they the smartest that I ever met. I don't know if any of them ever created anything great or solved any world problems, but they were my people and in my eyes, the best.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blazes Birthday

I didn't have a lot to post today since I am at the end of the bug that got me down. I do want to tell everyone I have had the fortune of being a father for 24 years as of today. Not bad since I have reached forty yet. Blaze was born in the hamlet of Dallas, Oregon 24 years ago. What a joy it is to be her dad. She has never dissapointed me. She has worried me a time or two but never disappointed. She always has the beautiful smile on her face to accompany her beautiful hazel eyes. She has always had determination in her stature and carried a positive outlook into whatever she pursues.

The funny thing about her birthday is the day she was born she had three uncles with the same birthday, my youngest brother being one. Both ths doctor and the nurse in the delivery room were enjoying the same birthday as well was the eldest child of both the doctor and the nurse. And the woman that I was cumuting to work at that time also had November 1st as her birthday.

On another note. The oldest boy, Jock's varsity cross country team will be running at state this next week. They were picked to come in last of the conference at the beginning of the season. Now who is laughing.

I'm using his computer to post today and sitting in his lair. He has pictures of Prefontaine all over his wall along with a picture of Rocky dancing at the top of the steps from the movie, and a picture of Belushi in Animal House and the Beatles. I look around his room here and think my God did we spoil this kid. He has more stuff in his room then his mom and I had in our first apartment. Computer (he built), desk, lazy boy, couch, bed, microwave, TV, stereo, video games galore, and an Ottoman. I can not ever see him wanting to move out and go to college. He's got it made right here. Why take a step down?