Today is Labor Day, and to honor working men and women, I’ve selected this as my daily story:
When I was in my early twenties I worked for a short time as a logger in the woods inOregon. The work was difficult and dangerous. Most of the men I worked with were older than me and had worked in the woods for a long time. They were not, for the most part highly educated or sophisticated. To my eye, however, they were colorful.
The area of the woods where we worked was several miles from town and we rode nearly an hour to work on a crummy. Crummy being the semi official word for a simple school bus that drove through town picking up loggers (We were never referred to as “lumberjacks.”) and taking them into the woods.
One of the men on our bus was Bruno. He was a huge Finn who was older than most of us and had worked in the woods all of his adult life. He was a shy man who seldom spoke. As a matter of fact, I can only remember hearing his voice once:
One snowy morning we had to wait at the bottom of a very steep and slippery hill for a caterpillar to come and winch us to the top. While we waited the guys started telling snow stories. “I remember the time when I was working up in Washington and it snowed so hard …” etc. I think mostly they intended their stories to be believed.
Imagine our surprise when Bruno cleared his throat and said, “You young guys think you know some lies about snow. I remember the time it snowed so hard it filled the cabin through the keyhole.”
It was quiet on the bus for a long time.