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thanksgiveing road trip

November 23 2017 at 12:04 PM

Steve backus  (Login flashbackus)

Thanksgiving road trip.
The memory dredge seems to be running full tilt on a rainy morning and I drift back to a childhood memory of 1968 when we were supposed to go to my mom Judy's moms place in Spokane Washington, grandmas place was a warm normal house that always had the power on and the phone worked.

It was a day to day struggle for Judy in general and our dad "dirty dick from pistol crick" was a bit of a rascal who was not a very consistent family guy,he often chased big dreams that most often met with disappointment, but every once in a while he would pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Dirty dick had been in pursuit of a big Cedar claim up on the "Cape Elizabeth" located on the northern corner of the Quinault Indian reservation, the Quinault rez was a thirty mile triangle that stretched from Queets to Tahola on the Washington coast then to the foothills of the Olympic mountains at lake Quinault, most of it a primeval swamp full of the most magnificent old growth ceder ever seen on the planet!

He had been a tramp logger for twenty years and was going to go cutting shake blocks on a grand scale and once he got all his paperwork lined up he could get some up front money to buy a big bulldozer and go to work, if memory serves it was a T-D 24 international, that's how you did it in those days my friends, you plowed them large machines through the brush found these incredibly big logs buried in the ground, some had stumps 5 foot in diameter from the recent logging with the roots growing around the log!you then dug a choker hold around them and pulled them groaning and creaking and cracking right out the good earth and then up to the landing to be bucked into shake blocks so as to be hauled to a mill, that was the beginning of a nice handsawen shake or shingle you took out of a nice neat bundle.

But I digress.

We had been waiting for the big provider to return to the homestead and were exited to see him because we had no money and had not gotten anything for Thanksgiving food wise because we were going to grandmas plus Judy had no money, she always worked hard and had a lot of different jobs in those days but nothing approaching financial security, I recall her complaining about a bartending job at the Wigwam just north of Hoquiam {who remembers that place across from mayor bros}because the Man who worked with her got a dollar more an hour and sat on his *** and read the paper most of the time, didn't seem fair then and it don't seem fair now!

Keeping in mind daddy was an inconsistent source of money and the labor market was stacked against her one can see why she fell so hard for the "chainsaw carving game" I for one am very happy for it, to this day when asked how I got started? I reply to the person asking that I am a second generation carver and they always say oh did you learn it from your dad? I always delight in the momentary look of confusion when I say nope,learned from my mom!

Like I said the Beatings Paid off..

Judy's brother mike had been carving since the late 1950s so it was on the carving radar and her life circumstances were ripe for independence, but that's another story for another rainy day.

Nothing like a cold rainy grey November day to set out on a road trip across the state and we had waited all day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for Dirty dick to return, he had left the day before to get his front money and we had not heard from him, Judy was getting a little antsy to go or at least get us something to eat as the day went on, Wednesday night came and the macaroni and cheese was distributed evenly,this was long before the Kraft box's so it was noodles, cheese and them gross tomato's out a can, hunger being the best seasoning we tucked in and went to bed early, no sign of Dirty dick.

Early on thanksgiving morning daddy rolled in still ********* from the night before and puked up a big Chinese dinner next to the truck that apparently had not sat well, he then came in the house and promtly passed out on the couch, Judy was pissed to say the least and muttered something about smothering the bastard with a pillow, Lynn and I were delighted to see him, boaz was but a toddler and we kids assumed all was well, just another normal day at the Backus house.

Judy said get your cloths on we are going to grandmas, she got us started to the truck and in the Time Honored Tradition of many wives of drunk husbands she Rolled him for his wallet and keys, got us kids loaded in the truck and off we went to Spokane to grandmas!

As we pulled out of the driveway I could see that all the neighborhood dogs were lapping up the sizable puddle of predigested Chinese food that Dick had provided them on thanksgiving day, in Humptulips in those days you did not need to have a dog, you just needed a bag of dogfood and you could half a dozen dogs.

I suppose the lesson I have carried from that fine day is to truly be thankful for whatever you have, because some have far less, thank god for strong women they bind it all together.

Not necessarily a chainsaw carving story but in a way it is because if things had been easy for her she might not have taken to the saw so hard!

Then where would we be?

Comfort breeds complacency, strife and hardship builds character, could be why her kids have so much character!?

Rains letting up , gotta go eat turkey................

and remember carve or starve...

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