Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A few years ago, on an early Monday morning, I was a fireman at the scene of a gas explosion. The buildings windows were all blown out, and the doors were laid out flat in front of the places that they used to be. It was a metal building and there was no fire, but the building had a slight puff to it, like it had just taken a deep breath. Without a close look, the building seemed fairly normal.
We shut all the gas valves and electricity off, and were getting things back on the fire truck when the owner showed up. It was obvious that he had no knowledge of what had just transpired. He got out of his car, grabbed his brief case locked the car, and walked over to us with a mildly curious look on his face. He got over to us and started looking around. There was broken glass all over the parking lot, doors laid out, the building was all puffed up. Then completely deadpan he looks at us and says; “Why do Mondays always gotta’ be like this?”
I guess Mondays are better if you have a sense of humor.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

An apple a day keeps the trucker away.

south fork ernie said...
(The So. Fork of the Eel starts in Laytonvile and goes through Garberville. I am a fifth generation native of the so. fork.)

I was hoping to read other peoples comments, because I comment too much. Oh well…

When I was a kid on the family ranch in Laytonville, the family kids would often get into rotten leftover vegetable fights. They would last until the kid with the poorest aim would “go tell Mom”, then it was all over and we would have to clean up the mess. When it was discovered that we had “energy to spare”, we were each given a shovel and told to spade under the weeds in the garden. We soon tired of that game.

My cousin and I would go down to the bottom of the orchard, by the highway, and throw apples at the rear wheels of the trucks that went by. If you hit in the center of the wheel it was five points. If you hit the tire it was two points. It was a great game, and we would do it for hours, and nobody went and told Mom. One day a trucker, that must have somehow gotten wise to us, slammed on his brakes and jumped out of his truck and took after us. We were on top of the hill behind the orchard faster than you could say BOO!

He didn’t leave for quite a while. He must have gone knocking on doors, but nobody was home. Either that or he just took a dinner break and stayed there to make us worry. At any rate he scared the living bejesus out of us and we never went near the bottom of the orchard again.

If there are any kids reading this, please don’t consider throwing apples at trucks, we were highly trained professional hooligans!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

(Yuck!) Volkswagens

My first car was a baby-blue ‘51 ford two door hard top flat head V-8, with the best A.M. radio that you ever heard. In 1963 it was probably considered a beater car, but I sure wish I had it now.

The bane of my existence was Volkswagen's. Every traffic jam and every traffic pile-up was caused by a Volkswagen. All we had back then was two lane roads. It seemed like every time that I was in a big hurry to get somewhere; I’d be behind a Volkswagen. They were the most gutless car on the road and they wouldn’t pull over because they didn’t want to loose that great momentum that they thought that they had going. The only place that you had a chance to get past one would be on a hill with a passing lane, then there would be a logging truck passing it and take up the whole hill doing it. You’ve finally brought up a bad memory for me, it gives me heartburn, and it still makes me shudder, almost as bad as brussel sprouts.

Thank God most of the Volkswagen Transporter vans were made into dune-buggies, because they had a double reduction rear drive axle which gave them lower gearing and higher ground clearance. I will have to concede they made the best dune buggies ever!

NOW, my wife just bought a Pontiac GTO with 400 horse power and 400 ft. lbs. of torque. When she isn’t looking, I sneak it out of the garage and go hunting for Volkswagens! All's well that ends well!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why is there a moon on the outhouse door? Do you prefer Monkey-Ward or Sears?

I usually don’t talk about disgusting things, but you brought it up! Yeah, I was raised with an outhouse, until I was ten years old.(1955). The kids in the family had to dig the outhouse holes. The outhouse was mounted on skids, so it was moved by hooking a rope to the bottom and skidding it over the next hole. The two and three holer outhouses were not for community use like every one likes to chuckle about, but was simply because there was more room beneath. You chose the hole with the most space beneath it. There was a bag of lime in the corner with a tin scoop beside it. If flies were being attracted, you were expected to sprinkle a little lime over the accumulating pile beneath, for sanitary reasons. The outhouse was routinely washed with a hose and scrub brush, and Lysol soap. And of course, slivers were sanded smooth, and cracks were filled with Durham’s Wood Putty. The really fancy outhouses were routinely painted. All together, it was a much cleaner facility than our modern porta-potties, because it was much deeper. No splash back.

We were modern folk, we had toilet paper! It was mounted on a broomstick fastened to the wall. But, there were those special occasions that happened when there was no store bought paper available. Ah, we finally get to the questions! When no store bought paper was available, we used the Monkey-Wards book. As soon as you sat down you ripped a page out of the book and started crumpling it up and scrubbing it together, the goal was to get it as soft and nice as you could. I always thought that was why it took girls so much longer than boys to go to the bathroom, because they have so much more stuff to deal with… But, I was wrong, modern women with modern toilets still seem to take too long.

One of the things that I miss about those days, is back then there were only two choices to make; Chevy or Ford, Homelite or McCullough, Coke or 7-up, Sears or Monkey-ward. We were a Monky-Ward family.

I’m going to guess about the moon on the door; I think the moon was because, that was the way Al Capp, that wrote the ’Lil Abner comic strip always drew it. I never saw an outhouse with a moon on the door until modern days. Sorry!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Possum attacks Janis!

Yep! Possum, and Wild Turkeys right here in Garberville. I would have never guessed!

My wife came to work about a year ago and found a great big rat under the back room steps. While she ran to hide, she sent me out to kill it. While I can kill if necessary or provoked, I have a serious distaste for killing things for no reason. As I looked under the stairs for the offending critter, I discovered the “Rat”. It was a baby Possum. I reached under the stairs and scooted the Possum into a cardboard box and had my wife come identify the offending animal. Well, when she discovered it was a “baby”, all thoughts of killing it left her body. She went about pouring a bowl of water and gave it some cat food, which it ate with great relish. We played with it for awhile, and she started to worry again about; “How do you know it isn’t a rat?” I took a stick and touched its tail, it immediately wrapped its tail around it and I lifted it in the air hanging by it’s tail. That petty much proved it to her.

Then the subject of “what do we do with it” came up. My thought was, we could use it as a company mascot, we could name him “Pogo”. The thought was a lot of fun for about thirty seconds, then reality set in. “Reality” is my wife when she makes up her mind about something. She was worried about whether or not it was old enough to make it on its’ own. I told her that I though so, because we probably ended up with him under our steps because his mother kicked him out.

So we set him out in the hills, with a box of cat food and a bowl of water, and some great memories to tell his grand-possums.