Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I remember when I came to this valley about 37 years ago. It was a rough and ready place. It was a logging and sawmilling camp. Running that big diesel powered mill ten hours a day, six days a week. On Saturday might you got into a keg of beer and get a little drunk. Maybe got into a fight. Maybe passed out in the front yard. Maybe had a down home, play-what-you-could band and sang your ass off. Most of the songs were home made with rough lyrics. Some of them were so rough I wouldn't want to repeat them on line. They would be considered offensive. And they were meant to be offensive. So mission accomplished. It wasn't too long before we started Saturday night plays. Here was all these rough and tumble, bearded, very strong men sitting around watching plays and skits. You might get a poem or a song or a skit or a play. Didn't matter. It was no holds barred entertainment. It usually went on for an hour and a half to two hours. Then we started the music and the party. And God only knew how that would turn out. It generally went to the early hours of Sunday morning. You made it to bed if you could find your way. Not everyone was this involved, but I damn sure was. All that testosterone made the air thick with the fight or fornicate attitude. And there weren't too many women available so you can guess what happened to those who were boisterous. Sloshing down beer all night and singing' songs of a lurid and carnal nature really go the pot stirred. You just never knew what to expect. You went to watch the evening go along or sometimes you were the entertainment itself. You just never knew. Somehow God kept it all together. Somehow.

There was very little in the way of running water in the village. Oh, the kitchen had water and all of that for cooking and sanitation, but we had no showers and no flush toilets. You got a little gungy in the Winter time from not bathing and you had to get up and go outside to the outhouse for your bowel movements no matter what time of the year. We eventually got running water and water heaters and all of that but for a few years they were non existent. Women got Thunder Buckets for their rooms so they wouldn't have to go out to the outhouse at night. In the morning they would empty them into the women's outhouse. And the men dug the outhouse holes. Life went on. The drumbeat of production was upon us and we went for it. Life was tough and hard but so were we! I know what people can endure for survival's sake. They can go through a lot and never worry about it. Of course I was 26 years old when I started this and I don't know if my old fat ass could handle it anymore. But I think I could give it a try. The flesh might be weak but the spirit is more than willing.

We were a people united against all odds. Our salute to the outside world was an extended middle finger. We sorta had an attitude. And the Old Man sorta loved it. He was our leader back in them days. And he was a man's man. He could bring forth the word from God and he could make a big business deal. And he delivered babies. A few hundred of them. Oh, did I tell you that we were not celibate. We had kids running out of our ears. We started our school not too long after I got here. We actually had children who never went to a public school until they went to college. We had "Freedom School" and the kids loved it, for the most part. We had one young woman who had a teaching degree and she was our first school teacher. The Old Man set up a small trailer away from the main village a bit and the young woman and her three students walked to school every day. We finally got rid of the little trailer school and went to a three story, one room per story, log building. The lasted just a few years while we built a modern school, all on one floor. That school was in session until the late 90's when the schoolmaster decided to have the older kids go to public school. I guess he got tired of the freedom school. I don't talk about that decision very much. It's painful to me. We had something unique and good and we had to give it up.

We ate in our dining room. Like us, it started out rough and crude. We had an old Hot Blast Florence wood stove for heat. It was quite the thing on a cold Winter morning to come into the dining room, grab a cup of hot coffee and go sit close to the stove. It kinds helped you get ready for the day. Breakfast was traditional American fare, eggs and some meat and home fries. We were not into diet much in those days and basically we wanted our stomachs filled and that done with decent food. Nothing fancy but well cooked and full of energy. We needed lot of energy. The kitchen and dining room were always static in condition. We were constantly improving the building. We finally ended up with a concrete and stainless steel kitchen, gleaming in its glory of cleanliness and sanitation. Modern appliances for the ladies to use. We built a big cooler room and and a huge freezer room. All sealed concrete. Big heavy freezer doors that kept a good seal and kept our food. No rats or mice in our shiny new kitchen! We even had our own bakery system. Big mixers and proofing cabinets and bread slicers and nice modern bakery ovens and stainless cabinet tops for assembling all the goodies that came out of there. We even ended up with a machine that kneaded the bread for the baker. It was a long way back to our primitive days. Electric and gas appliances that worked like a charm replaced our old wood cook stove. Sorta wished we had that old cook stove back again. Gas and electricity are kinda expensive these days. I know that the wood stoves are on their way, I just don't know when they will get here. Life has a way of making decisions for you if given enough time.

Those primitive years were tough and full of hard work but they made men and women of strength and character. They made a people who depended on God and his help and mercy. they made a people who were united in their desire to serve the common cause as well as their own personal desires. Such a thing no longer exists in this country but it is coming back. It will be in vogue again. God and his people. The GROUP. The ORDER. All these things will come back around for the survival of God's people. I never told you before that God was a member of the group. You can't keep him out! It's his idea! And you will be amazed at his power and love as he establishes his Kingdom here for the people of this planet. In the Bible it is called the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. It will be great for those who see the way and join up with him. It will be terrible for those who do not. I joined up a long time ago.

Stay alive!



1 comment:

Mayberry said...

You've had one hell of a good life! A model for the rest of us to follow.