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Sunday, March 15, 2009

HOM: Doug & George & Ted & Voyle & Tim

This is gonna be a long & wandering post that covers a lot of ground. I apologize in advance for the lack of organization. ---------- Doug Fox was originally hired to act as a foreman and do some reconstruction. He was a biology teacher when I was in high school, though I never was in one of his classes. Doug was quite a flirt and rumor said he left teaching because of an episode with a student. He was a good guy. We bought a car from him -- a blue Rambler station wagon with a big six and a three-speed overdrive transmission. Before that, we had a '65 mustang that kept eating clutches, and we needed a bigger car with family on the way, so we sold it. Mike Powell, by the way, helped me change the Mustang clutch a couple of times. I used to razz Doug about being old -- he was maybe 55 then, and was pretty insulted when I told him anyone over fifty was over the hill. Now I can understand why.... More of the Good Guys that passed through the mill while I was there: George: A laborer, he was a Hippy with long curly hair and drove a 1941 Dodge ambulance. Ted Burcham: Marvin Burcham's father, he did the after-work cleanup around the plant. He was a widower and ran into his recently-widowed high school sweetheart while he was at GC. The flame rekindled and they married. I teased him about having a honeymoon in a geriatrics ward, but he didn't think it was funny. Since he was probably only in his late sixties then, I don't see any humor in that anymore either . Voyle Staab: Fiftyish, stocky, quiet, extremely competent. He got more work done in less time with less movement than anyone I've ever known. He worked over in the shop forming rebar reinforcing for the concrete forms and doing other work. He was missing some fingers from a logging accident when he got his hand caught in a winch, but the loss didn't seem to affect him any. He died a while back, but one of his sons is still a customer here when he is in town. Tim Hill: I'd worked with him at Wards and Lyn & I got to be friends with him and his wife, Debbie. He was out of work, so I pulled a few strings and got him a job as a cleanup man there at GC. This didn't work out. He wanted to be a cop and there was a special program for unemployed men to receive LEO training so he quit GC and put in for the program, but then wasn't selected. There are a few "Tim" incidents that stick in my mind. He was working at Hungry Horse Dam and used a motorcycle for commuting for a while. Two things made him give that up -- one was hitting a black horse one night up on Lasalle, the other was when the throttle stuck wide open when he was going into the right-angle turn on Conrad Drive just past the bridge. He hit a tree and totaled the bike. The gas money he'd saved didn't cover his medical expenses. He & Debbie bought a house and were doing some remodeling. He carefully padded their lovely dining room table and laid a sheet of plywood on it to measure and cut, but when he fired up the saw he forgot that the table wasn't square, but had rounded ends. He sawed the end off of the table. I guess the piece of Debbie's prized walnut table and his heart hit the floor at the same time, with a massive thud and "Uh-Oh." The four of us went to Charlie's Beer Depot for pizza. I went in and used the rest room and when I came out I commented on the fact that the sink was almost at chest level while the urinal was almost at floor level. Debbie said it was a good thing it wasn't the other way around, Tim said "Yeah, think how funny you'd look bending all the way to the floor to wash your hands" and I choked on the pizza... We hunted together a bit. He got a massive mule deer buck up on top of Ashley Mountain that he had a taxidermist mount. I wasn't with him on that trip, but I was still envious! We also got a doe up at the intersection of Mountain Meadow road & Talley Lake road. He eventually became a parole officer, and is now retired. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)