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‘Hello You Crippled Old Bastard!’
An Email from a Friend: 1/27/17

Been awhile. I happened to read some of your burnt offerings a few days ago and it sounds like you have become the sacrifice. Walking with a cane? No shit! Some punk is goin' to crucify your slow ass on the way to or from work. You're a bit younger than me but I have occasion to use a walking stick as well. Ain't getting old grand? At least we know how to split a couple of skulls with them canes before they break on us. Then we're hosed. Son of a bitch. You know, a couple of life times ago I made a living as a logger. Got sucked into it from two generations of them. The hell of it is I loved it—even as a child. Part of that messed me up as well physically. Short story.

I loved then, and still do, being in the woods watching the fallers, watching the horses and caterpillars bring in the logs, trucks being loaded etc. They don't use big old skid horses now, like we used to in those days, in combination with machinery. As a toad kid, I'd hang back and catch squirrels with a fly rod that my dad would tie into a noose, put some grain in the hoop end and then I'd nail the fuckers with the automatic reel while the men were doing their job. Always had to interrupt the operations to have one of the guys get the squirrel outta the noose for me. Hell, I was a frog-assed kids of 4 or 5 and groovin' on every minute of it. And those squirrels were pissed when I'd catch 'em! They'd bite like a by God while trying to unleash them. That's why I needed help. I didn't have gloves. The men did.

Seeing my grandpa, dad and crew cut skid and bring in loads of logs off from those mountains always thrilled me. We'd all be put in jail now-a-day trying to pull shit like we did back then. I rode shotgun in the logging trucks, steered them while sitting on many a guys lap and grabbed gears when told to. At age 10, I brought my first solo load of logs off the mountain and to the mill. My dad had passed out from pullin' on the jug that day. He put me in the driver’s seat up at the landing and said, "Head 'er home". He commensed to pass out. My mother would liked to have killed both of us when I pulled into the log yard as my oldest sister had seen me driving the log truck and blew the whistle before we got home. Poor dad. He and I both got a royal ass chewin' that day.

Maybe that what's partly wrong with parents and kids now-a-days, parents won't allow nor encourage kids to grow up and be ballsy people who are willing to take wild risks. Nor are parents allowed to get in each other’s face without it being called "domestic violence" and one of them going to jail. Hell, my parents could be heard for a mile away while working out there differences. Mom was 5' 4" and 120 lbs . Dad was 5'11 and 225 lbs. Mom usually won.

Being in the sawmill and helping where I could at the family business was always fun. I loved it then, and still love now, the smell of fresh milled lumber and playing in a 20' pile of fresh sawdust.

When I was 18, I figured out where the money was. It was falling timber. 1975 was a good year. Fallers were paid by how many board feet they cut, using a Scribbner's scale. Bottomline, I could make up to $300.00 a day just tipping over trees. Not bad ching. One day, while cutting a very dense patch of timber, I started having widowmakers showup. Just look it up I won’t explain. I had 3 widow makers hanging and fell a take down. While working the takedown 3 widows came down to have me for lunch. I was pretty cruched up and lucky to be alive when it was all said and done.

Realizing that was very dangerous work , I joined the Army and later became a RANGER. What the fuck, At least It'ill be quick right? Nope, No such luck. I'm now a cripple old bastard from logging and Army injuries. And you know what? I'd do every damn bit of it again only with more conviction! Maybe then I could die young like in the original plan.

So good luck, old boy. I hope to see you out west again before we can no longer meander the woods. You did a good job trotting through Little Bighorn. Maybe you can do it up on the Greys River.

Take care amigo—

Da Nang

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