We’re taking a quick break here to talk about our Fourth of July. We drove to one of our previous hometowns to see old friends and enjoy one of the best celebrations in the state.
Back on the edge of town, the logging show was just getting started. The air was saturated with testosterone as loggers, wearing their signature red suspenders and corks, truck drivers and mill workers milled around, waiting to enter one of the contests – pole climbing, choker setting, chain sawing.
There were only three poles this year -used to hang up big signs advertising sponsors. The first time we saw one of these shows in town several decades ago and long before the stupid spotted owl, there were 8 or 10 poles. After the climbing contest then, other loggers competed in the falling contest, so perfectly cut that the logs landed right on their tiny target. Those days are gone. *sigh*
Veteran loggers also tested to see how sharp their skills still were by running up a huge tilted log to the end, starting up their chainsaws, and cutting of a slice of wood. Not as easy as it sounds or as they make it look!
We don’t know the name of the contest where a logger grabs two steel cables, throws them around a log and fastens them, but we think that skill has to do with getting a log ready to be picked up by a loader, which will lift and swing the log over onto a log truck, where the choker setters will throw chains around a full load – 10 – 30 logs, depending on diameter, so the truck can motor on down the mountain to its mill.
The rest of the day was calmer. We skipped the arm wrestling contest, but noticed an 8-year old girl getting a prize as we walked to the downtown where the food booths and craft sales were set up.
In keeping with our advice to subscribe to your local newspaper, we knew the schedule and events planned for the day. Earlier, we had stopped at the pancake breakfast out at a former one-room school house. Proceeds from this breakfast and event rentals help with upkeep and restoration.
Step back in time and walk into the classroom. In the center were about 18 wooden desks about the right size for 4th graders; on the back wall was a blackboard with just scribbles on it now; in back, wrapped in decorated tin, stood a huge wood stove for keeping warm on cold, damp fall, winter and spring days.
Three, large, dusty windows on the south side of the building were the only source of natural light. Great on July 4, but probably depressing the rest of the year.
We couldn’t stay for the parade and fireworks, we were just too tired. We saw and heard so much – a perfect stranger shared her life story and the tragedy of her kids, a little boy added sparkle to the day when he saw a beautiful gate to an empty alley and commented, “It looks like a Gate to Narnia.”