The Pacific Northwest Forum
Volume I, Number 4, Pages 2-15
Lynn A. Hull
One of the most interesting ingredients in the history of a region is its folklore. Tall tales, legends, and myths tell us as much about the experience and aspirations of a people as historical documents and statistical records. These letters, written by Lynn Hull in 1961 embody a tradition of tall tales which grew out of the lumber camps of the Northwest.
Lynn Hull was born on September 1, 1901, in Pe Ell, a small logging town in western Washington. His grandparents and father had crossed the Plains in a covered wagon. The Hull men spent, and many lost, their lives as lumberjacks. Lynn's father and grandfather both died in logging accidents, as did several cousins and uncles. His father was killed when Lynn was only one year old. His mother died a few years later in 1914.
Lynn Hull began working in logging camps at the age of fourteen by hiring himself out during the summer as a "whistlepunk". After graduating from high school he followed logging until the depression caused many companies to close. He then worked in heavy construction in the Northwest until 1953, when a heart condition forced him to retire. He died in 1974 at his youngest son's home in San Diego. Unlike his father and grandfather, he went peacefully, with a cigarette in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
His stories are set forth in a series of letters to a son. They are written as if they were mailed in the 1920s or 1930s at a time when Lynn was actually working as a logging foreman, and they are based on experiences from his days in the lumber camps, but he freely admitted that they were a combination of fact and baloney....Of such materials legends are made.
After completing the letters, he wrote, "As I know I'll never leave behind anything like money, stocks, or bonds for my children, I hope by these letters to leave a chuckle or two for you and yours."
With this issue of the Forum Lynn Hull's legacy will become available to anyone interested in the Pacific Northwest. We hope that they will provide our readers with "a chuckle or two" and with an appreciation of the character and humor of the region's first lumberjacks.
The tales printed here are the first in a series, which will continue in forthcoming issues of the Forum.
They are illustrated by Jon Herman, who, appropriately enough, works in the forest service in Washington.
A Mighty Lonesome Life
This is going to be a mighty lonesome life for me - you way off there and I way over here, but as I have to make some kind of a living for us and not being prepared for a job in some office in town, I have to work at what I know best - logging. I came by this. you might say, naturally, for my own dad was a logger as was his dad before him. Anyway, here I am in the Pacific Northwest - out in the timber 20 miles from town by boat - with a crew of 45 men to keep busy at getting logs out of the woods and into the mill pond - all to make the owner happy. So far everything here is new - the camp, the men, and this part of the country. The camp is situated on a fast flowing river that is full of fish and is a fisherman's paradise. Only two families live on it even though it is navigable to large tugs for seven or eight miles above its mouth. A fisherman and his family are below camp a mile or two and a moonshiner and his wife, about four miles above. Then for at least forty miles nothing but timber. The camp is a wild and lonely place - so that is why I will be able to write you every once in a while and keep you posted on what's going on.
At present we are building a short railroad - I mean a group of Japanese are laying the steel, and already logs are piling up to be loaded and hauled to the pond. I've been real busy and very tired at night, but as you are in my thoughts so much, I had to sit down and let you know where I am - what I'm doing. If anything at all happens out of the ordinary I'll write and let you know. Maybe I'd better put that in a different way - if nothing at all happens I'll write to you anyway. Well, here comes the big wheel (the owner) to have our first conference - so I'll write again whenever I can and have something to say.
Be a good boy, remember your Dad, say your prayers and don't forget to go to the bathroom - don't wait too long. I know you will try and remember just for Dad.
Good night, Son -
P.S. - The owner is gone now - and nothing new came up. I'll just repeat myself that I will write you again, and I hope I have more interesting things to tell you - I may have at that as a lot of odd balls usually are in a crew of loggers - again.
Windy Jack and Silent Bill
In my letters I will tell you some of the tall tales told in the bunkhouses of a logging company in the Pacific Northwest by a character named Jack, nicknamed Windy Jack. He has a partner named Silent Bill, so named because he speaks very little - partly because no one could get in a word edgewise with Windy Jack around.
Windy Jack is short, fat, full of wind and a teetotaler, doesn't care for women or liquor and work, just likes to talk.
Silent Bill is tall, lanky, high waisted and a lover of whiskey, doesn't care for women or work or talk, just his "likker".
I enter into the stories occasionally for two reasons: I was the listener at most of Windy Jack's talking bees, and I was the most despised man in camp. I was the foreman.
Other characters were also taken from real life. Some of those shouldn't be in this story at all, but they fit the subject. There is a little tiny bit of truth in most of the stories, but most are just plain baloney, like the stories by Windy Jack. If you had ever confronted him and said "That's a damn lie" - he would simply tell you a bigger one, so big that you would forget all about the smaller lie. And after reading what I've written I can only say, "My God, I've caught that horrible disease from Windy Jack." Well I'd better quit this and let you read what is in the book.
Arriving in Camp
Here I am in camp - bunk cleaned off and bed made up ready to use. Let me tell you how this all began. Before leaving for camp I met the owner at his office in town for a final briefing on what he expected. It was short, to the point, and very definite.
"First thing I want you to do is get those logs rolling and keep 'em that way. Second, you will have full control in all phases of logging, and we will back you to the limit on any and all of your decisions. Hiring and firing is yours alone, get the best and keep 'em. Don't raise anyone s pay, that's our business. Now I know we will get along in great shape. Oh, yes - one final order: There are two old buddies of mine that went throught the war with me. Don't worry about what they do or where they go - but keep an eye on them for me, and see that they get their paychecks regularly. Good day to you." Then, "Hey, you, their names are Jack and Bill and don't forget that either!"
Off I went to startle the world in the amount of logs sent in daily from this one small operation. Late that afternoon I arrived at camp and all was quiet. The crew was still out working and the only noise came from the cookhouse, the way it should be - a noise of pots and pans as the evening meal was being prepared. Then I saw something move - anyway I thought it did - down by the bunkhouses. After really straining my eyesight I recognized a man, leaning against a building with his hat down over his eyes - so I started down there to see what he was doing in camp. As I neared him I took in his physical looks: about 6 feet, 2 inches tall- 165 lbs. - stoop shouldered, high waisted and, as he still hadn't moved - I didn't know whether he was alive. I yelled, "What's your name."
The answer came, "Bill. Who you?" "I'm the new foreman here."
"You're a dam fool too."
I was about to try out my spurs and give him the honor of being the first to be fired, but then an inspiration, idea, or some dang thing said to me, "Oh, no, my friend, this is one of the buddy buddies, must not touch." So I said, "Well, it looks like you're doing fine. Carry on," and started back to the office. As I neared it, I heard voices, no, it wasn't voices - was only one voice coming from inside and, believe me, whoever was talking was in fine form and must have had a wonderful pair of lungs, for he continued long and loud without a pause for breath. I opened the door and behind the desk, leaning way back in the one lone chair, hands clasped behind his head and staring at the ceiling, was a fellow about 5 feet 5 inches -195 lbs. Pot bellied - shoes off - and looking to be at complete ease with the world at large. As I noticed his mouth forming words and no noise being made, I knew it was the calm before the storm, so I quick like said, "Who are you and what are you doing in here." (I knew dang well who this was - the other buddie buddy, but I had to say something and first too).
Lumberjacks. Lynn Hull is on right.
"Well, now, who told you to enter here in my presence without a special invitation. If my private secretary hadn't of asked for the afternoon off and the use of the White and Gold Cadillac, you wouldn't of got past the receptionist." After about three more minutes of this and me with my mouth wide open at this line of talk, he said, "I'm Jack, and until the new foreman gets here I run this camp."
''I'm the new foreman." I said. He jumped to his feet. "Well, how do you like the way I've kept your place clean? I was just going out to pick some posies for your desk - Good night, sir," and out he charged.
I set my bags down and lit a cigarette. As I needed a cup of coffee bad or some other drink, I took off for the cookhouse. There I met three wonderful women - dedicated to pots, pans and the life of three lonely women in a lonely camp with 45 lonely men.
I should have gone back to town, but I hate a man with no guts. A fighter, that's what I am. Well, anyway, Son, I soon learned a few things. The man holding up the wall, was called Silent Bill. He drank liquor and was the greatest lover of all the many men in camp, but as one of the women, said, "the darn fool don't love wimmen only likker." Jack was called Windy Jack. He never drank liquor, because he talked and bragged so much he didn't have any time to drink. Knowing now that forevermore I was saddled to these two deadbeats - couldn't work them, couldn't fire them - I decided to join them.
Well, that's my introduction to them and now it's yours, too.
The Biggest Steam Donkey Ever Built
I want to tell you more about old Windy Jack. He never harmed anyone or entered into malicious gossip about anyone that I ever heard - just talked to anyone who would listen or would talk anyway to them if they didn't listen - no difference.
We had a 15 year old whistle punk with the crew who Windy cornered most of the time, and as he was young, gullible and a good listener, old Windy Jack really spouted off. One of his stories I overheard went somewhat like this.
"Say, son, did I ever tell you of my engineering days down yonder in those redwoods in California? Well, I ran the biggest steam donkey that was built. It took two big companies to build it, - Willamette and good old Seattle Iron Co. Neither had the men nor equipment to build it alone; so the two companies united, and the woods boss sent me up there to tell them the kind of a machine we needed. Now the biler (boiler) was the biggest ever made. The water gage glass on the machine here in camp is only 1 inch. T'was 3 feet through on that new machine. Of course the water tank would hold maybe a million gallons at all times - it took 7 men just to feed her biler fire wood so we could have steam enough to run. Believe me they really threw wood in her. I was always skeert of some of those darm idjits a fallin' into that water tank and drownin' as all those oilers were letting oil spill all over the place and it was pretty dang slick.
Well, then it happened. I had just made a long haul and looked up at the water gauge and seen I should take on water pretty soon as it was a long ways down in the glass. So I turned on all 12 of those injectors and as I just got the last one sucking water, one of those tenders (or firemen to you) ran up to me and hollered, "Jack, Jack, shut her off - quick - shut her off, some men fell in the water tank."
"Believe me I sure started jerking valves, but before I got the last one shut off 5 men were bobbing up and down in that glass water gauge. Now I'm a quick thinker, son, and do you know what I did right then and thar?
"No Windy, what?';
"Well I yelled 'Turn on those burners - full blast - full blast,' I sez, and I watched that pressure gauge go up now this machine instead of popping off her safety valve at 150 Ibs. or 200 lbs. went right up to 1500 and as it popped off - out went those 5 men up into the sky.
"Then by quick thinking I said, 'Fellers, quick like, open those flood gates on that water tank - let her run all out'. (I was worried about what in hell those men was goin' to land in hard rocks and chunks of logs were scattered around there, and one of 'em might break a leg or an arm.)
"So this million gallons of water made a big lake down thar about a mile deep and 7 miles wide, and just as that water leveled off, darned if those men didn't start coming down right straight for that lake. As they got closer, I saw old Pete, my best fireman goin' by. So I yelled at him 'yer dern oil can is down there on the bottom, I can see it from here - you'd better git it, as that's the one your pappy made for you'. Old Pete never answered - just waved his hand that he understood. He was sucking in his breath for he knew it was a deep old hole.
"Yes, sir, Son - nary a man got even his hide a little red as my quick thinkin' got 'em out of that hot water and in the cold air and back down so quick that nary a one even lost any time aworkin' - every man got his full days pay, and old Pete got his squirt can back.
"But old Pete he was sure mad at me, and the next day he said - 'Windy, you know yesterday you blew me up stairs - well you dern fool why couldn't you of raised that pressure just a few pounds more, and I wouldn't of ever came back down here to look at your ugly face. I was just a-stretchin' my arms out to get that golden harp and old Saint Peter (I was named after him) was a-stretching hisself a long ways down, but we jest couldn't get closer. He was only about 3 feet away when I started back down. Now, dern you, raise that steam up thar agin. I want another ride and this time let her blow!' And then that old fool started to jump back in the water-tank and he did. Now what do you think of that?
"Well, Windy, what happened to Pete."
"Well, I jest don't know - I saw him bobbing up and down in the water gauge and that's the last I saw of him- don't think he got his harp as I never did let that machine pop off after that.
The whistlepunk just said, 'OH' and Windy went to bed muttering to hisself. "Pete sure made me mad."
Trapped on the River Bottom
I know I told you a little about Windy Jack but not very much about his partner, Silent Bill, who was quite a man - a firm believer in doing things in a systematic way. For instance, he was supporting a family up the river from camp with his monthly pay check and had been doing this several years as some who knew him that long had told me. Oh no, the family wasn't his own. He was a bachelor. They were from the hills of West Virginia and made the most potent moonshine in nine counties. You see Silent Bill was their best and most regular customer. He really carried his liquor like a gentleman - not loud or mean at anytime - just carried one big load all the time and always had a gallon jug somewhere close by for any emergency.
One day I sent Silent Bill and his crony, Windy Jack, to raft some logs down in the log boom and also gave them one other small chore to do. There was an old dead tree with roots extending out and down into the water that was always causing us a little trouble when moving logs. So I told them to take their axes along and get rid of it. Well, time went on, and about mid-afternoon I left the office to see how they were doing. I stopped at the cookshack first for coffee and found out those two hadn't come in for dinner. At once I smelled a rat and felt very sure Silent Bill had taken a jug along to help pass the time while working. I hurried down and sure enought Silent Bill was stretched out on the grassy bank, Windy Jack sitting alongside him. Windy Jack was a non-drinker and Silent Bill always said he had to drink for both, and that is why he was always broke. It took so much cash for the whiskey and Windy Jack wouldn't pay his share. I took a look at Silent Bill and knew he had passed out. I didn't even have to look as I could smell him a half mile away. But he was sure wet and so was Windy Jack. Before I could open my mouth and ask what had happened, I was beaten to the punch. Windy Jack commenced.
"Now, Mr. Boss man, I know it looks bad, plumb bad, but pore old Bill ain't drunk. He has fainted plum dead away after getting me from down thar on the bottom where I was trapped. Now you listen to me, and I'll tell you how this here all came about. I was choppin' that tree down as you told us, and Bill, pore old soul, had to set down for a minute and rest as he was plum give out. He was a settin' thar with his eyes shut when I slipped and lost my axe. In trying to reach it, I fell in and, by grannies, my foot got caught in a root down thar and I just couldn't get loose. I tried to wave at Bill but I was down 25 feet or so deep and my hand wouldn't reach out of the water. So I started yellin for Bill to help me. I must of yelled for half an hour before Bill came over and looked down at me.
"Jack," he says, what in hell do you want?"
I sez, "Bill, go get your axe for me, my foot's caught and I can't get loose."
Bill says "Jack, I'll let you use it but don't you hit ary a rock with it or I'll beat you to a pulp."
Well, he went back across the boom for his axe and pretty soon he was back lookin' down at me. I was looking up at him and, Mr. Boss man, old Bill had the funniest look in his eyes. Then they rolled back in his haid, and he jes' fell right in beside me.
A good thing he helt onto that thar axe, as I took it away from him and in about fifteen minutes I got loose and went up. I wrapped Bill's axe back in it's leather cover and yelled at Bill, "Come on Bill, let's go eat - I'm hungry," and you know what? Bill didn't even say "go on Jack by yourself," or "I'll come pretty soon."
He didn't even move. So I said to myself, "Old Bill don't look very fit down thar, no sun warmin' him, so I better help him back here on the bank and let him rest in the sun while I go eat my lunch. I didn't have no trouble at all gettin' Bill up on top or even over here on the bank.
When I drug old Bill up here he was plum full of water, and I'd swear on it he'd been drinkin' water, as barrels jes' poured out of him - his ears, nose, and mouth. So much so he looked jes' like a small waterfall. Now you know old Bill and I have never had any secret between us, and I feel right down mean at Bill for him to be drinkin' water on the sly. I've known Bill nigh forty years and he never took one drink of water afore that I know of in his life. Mr. Boss man, I feel right porely at him. Dad burn him anyway. So lets me and you jes' let him lay there till sun up and go on back to camp."
I agreed with Windy Jack. As we left old Silent Bill was breathing again and muttering something about "That stuff is only good for boilers and to wash your socks in. My God hasn't it got a flat taste." So we both started back across the log boom for our meal and a good night's sleep, knowing we'd see Silent Bill at the breakfast table early in the morning. I'll be dad burned if he wasn't there too.
I started to tell you about Silent Bill and wound up with Windy Jack's big outlandish tale of saving Silent Bill's job for him, or so he thought. (Little did he know that I had orders from the front office to put up with them.) Both were experts in not working. They weren't afraid of work at all. They could lie right down beside it and sleep. If Windy Jack could keep his mouth shut that long. However, his yapping didn't seem to bother Silent Bill, or if it did he never said anything (or was too polite to interrupt).
I've always thought that was why he was tagged with the handle of Silent Bill, but his drinking kept him quiet too. He was either taking a drink or just ending one. I know from experience that one big shot of that moonshine and you couldn't get enough breath back for a half hour to say anything. In that length of time old Silent Bill would have been taking another shot, as he was quite regular in timing. In fact he was so regular that some of the crew knew the time of day at noon and at quitting time by just keeping track of Silent Bill's jug. That old stinkeroo, Silent Bill, sure put the Ingersoll Watch Co. back a few bucks for a while.
Then things began to happen and all to no good. No one could trust Silent Bill anymore. One morning I went out to see how things were going (about ten thirty) and met some of the men coming in to camp. I stopped them and asked what was going on. Naturally I thought someone was hurt or maybe a strike was in progress.
One of them said, "Holy mackerel, Boss, it's nigh onto noon and we're going to eat."
Of course I had one bad time for a few minutes convincing them my watch was right and they should go back to work till noon. I asked whose watch they were going by and, for Criminy sakes, to set it by the right time mine. Well no one had a watch and they told me about Silent Bill's jug being half gone, how for months that had been their hour glass.
They went back grumbling about Silent Bill losing his self-control by drinking too much liquor and fouling up everything. Now, he couldn't be trusted, they'd have to buy a watch. Dad rot him anyway!
I decided to go up to where Silent Bill and Windy Jack were (incidentally they were always in the same place and had been for more days than I cared to think about). At the landing where someone had built a shack Windy Jack was walking up and down in front of Silent Bill, who was working at his job, being silent. As I neared them and could hear Windy Jack, I sat down on a stump and listened to what all the arm waving and yak yaking was about. It seemed to me that Silent Bill had pulled some big deal with the family up the river, and Windy Jack was sure telling him how durn low he was, and how ignorant could one lone man get.
Well, Silent Bill had been drinking hard liquor that this family made which was quite potent - way over 100 proof or else it had a lot of red pepper in it. Boy, was it hot! After Silent Bill took a shot he could light a cigarette by blowing on the end of it. I never saw this happen but the boys swore that it was true. I couldn't stand up that close as the smell got me. Anyway, the family and Silent Bill figured if they cut their liquor to around 80 proof and cut the price a couple of bucks a gallon, Silent Bill could drink more each day. He was getting tired of having new comers call him Old one-jug-a-day Bill, and the family had their pride aroused by having another moonshiner start up in business. He would not have lasted long if they could have found his still, but he was a slick customer, and word got around that he was producing more and better moon. So the family decided to eliminate their competitor by cutting the proof and using more water. So doing they would increase their output - and everybody would be happy, including Silent Bill who could drink more per day without having to dig up more money. But Silent Bill never tho't about how he was wrecking his reputation for reliability. He drank his noonday meal and Windy Jack talked his - neither knew that they had destroyed all faith the men had in them concerning the time of day.
Fortunately the crew still knew when to quit at night as Windy Jack, when the shadows got longer, would invariably start yakking about how Susie, the cook, could fry steaks. He said she always saw that he got the largest, tenderest, and of course, the first. And she hid an extra one for him. After the crew had been chased away from the table, she would sit on his lap and feed him. With the telling of this tale the crew always knew it was nearly quitting time.
Of course this was another one of Windy Jack's big blows. I and the timekeeper were the only one's who stayed in the cookhouse after the crew had gone - neither Windy Jack nor anyone else was there - just the hash slingers. One, long and lanky, we called "Highhead"; the other one was in her forties with her hair tinted some color of red with only a few gray hairs showing and was called the "Old Roan". Of course Susie the cook was also there. She was fattish and forty or so, and who said fair? - lets put it where it belongs, - fat and forty period nothing fair.
Oh, one other thing, there was someone who got an extra steak and all cut up. How did Windy Jack know that Susie sat on someone's lap and fed him? I'll never know but, My God, she sure was a heavy gal - I'll never forget her getting up to stir pancake batter for the morning meal, leaving me with both of my legs sound asleep from her 260 pounds. Windy Jack talked so much about anything and everything he was bound sooner or later to hit on something true.
Padding the Payroll
I have surely had my troubles with Windy Jack and his partner, Silent Bill, the last few weeks. It was demoralizing for the crew to see and know that day after day and month after month these two deadbeats were getting paid for just plain nothing, and they, the crew, had to put out or get their walking papers. So I just had to move them out of sight and sound from the men, or actually put them to work, which would mean I would have to stand over them every minute. I couldn't do that and keep the wheels rolling. But I had to come up with something and soon too.
Lumberjcks - group photo.
Then I had a real good idea (or so I thought) start in my mind. I wish now I had kept it there. I know one job, that of foreman, which all or most men think of as just one big joke and as useless as water was to Silent Bill - So why not make those two - foremen. Here in our company we have a short railroad for hauling the logs down out of the hills to the log boom. There they are rafted and towed by boat to the sawmills. Naturally we had to have a section crew for maintaining and building more railroad at all times. This crew was composed of Japanese. The foreman knew his stuff but like his crew couldn't speak a word of English. So we hired from Tacoma a young Japanese fellow who could be their interpreter and keep the daily time worked by each man. Well, I figured that would sure be a good place for those two deadbeats. So I made them foremen. Silent Bill could sit and look on, and Windy Jack could just talk on and on, and nobody would be stopping work to listen to him, as no one understood English. But I overlooked this timekeeper and really under estimated his business ability.
Things went along fine - no griping from the logging crew, not a word from the section crew and not a word from Silent Bill. But Windy Jack kept right on talking to anything. I even heard him talking to a chipmunk, and to hear Windy Jack's conversation, that chipmunk was talking back to him and even asking and answering questions too. I wondered now just how long it would be before the boys in the white coats were sent for to take Windy Jack away.
Then came payday. Always on the day before and on the day following payday both of these new foremen were flat broke. Silent Bill gave his check to the family up the river on what he owed, and Windy Jack gave his to the saw filer; who is a top notch poker-player and is putting three girls through college, so he says, on his poker winnings. That is for those who don't know his family life. He has no family, and I know it. He could be sending money to three girls in college - but I doubt that too. Anyway Windy Jack is helping put them through too, but in a round about way.
Then came a time when both of these upstanding and, I thought, honorable foremen should have been broke, if true to all past behavior, but they had money to rattle, and that just didn't make sense to me. Silent Bill's check had been cashed by the moonshiner at the company store, and I knew the sawfiler had no compassion or mercy for a sucker like Windy Jack. He wouldn't leave him a dime in his pocket or loan him or anyone else any money. Everyone was a bad risk to him. It was also bad luck to loan money in a poker game. So he stayed firm on the no loaning deal.
Days went by and still those two were rattling their money. I was sure curious, when, however. my curiosity was completely satisfied, I was without two foremen and an interpreter-time-keeper for the section crew. This happened when I overheard Windy Jack's loud talking in some very thick brush, where those three - Silent Bill, Windy Jack, and that chiseling Japanese interpreter were having a board meeting. I then learned how everybody was picking up a little extra change.
Windy Jack was saying, "Gol durn you, Ito, you ain't payin' up! Y'er cuttin' us off about $25.00 a week and, by dern you, kick through, or I'll tell on you, you dirty little crook."
"Oh! no sir, Mr. Windy Jack, me give all to you - no keep back - me like you."
"Well, how come you got seven extra names and we only get paid for three."
"Oh, Mr. Windy Jack, so sorry you not know - me have fix, you catch three - Kay, Japanese boss, two me, two - allee same now seven."
"Well, don't you get any ideas we don't know what's going on. See my pardner Bill, he watches you all the time."
"Oh, Mr. Windy Jack, me watch everybody all a time, me honest Japanee boy. You like - Me like. Okay."
Now I thought, "What in the Hell is this palaver all about." I had a sneaking idea, but it would take checking and proving so I went back to the office. On the way I passed the section crew. I counted them - only eleven men and that included the foreman and the time keeper. During the next few days I checked the crew very closely and still only eleven. As it was near payday again, I went to the timekeeper's shack and started checking their books. Lo and behold! for over a two month's period on a padded payroll, we had eighteen men in the section crew. I got that little runt in the office and started showing and telling him facts and figures. After asking him how he would like wearing a striped suit in the state penitentiary for several years, he tried to get me in on the racket too.
"Oh, Mr. Bossman - nobody knows - me make money for you - you like money - easy make money. I give checks to Japanese boy payday. I cash checks for boys. Me like you - me put three names for you - we catch more money - easy - you like? - me put names tomollow."
But "Tomollow" never came for him in our camp. Through his fear of being deported, I was able, after threatening a long prison term, to get all the company's money back. Then he left in a hurry. Those two ex-foremen's only penalty was the owner's withholding their wages for the next two months and having them forever banned from being foremen again.
For a while I was sure in the dog-house too, for the owner told me in these words. "You have been putting those World War buddies of mine in a perilous position - flaunting temptation in front of them - so they were placed on the road to sin. You had better not in the future ever - ever try to change those two again from their way of living. See that you follow through on this as long as I own this Company."
Well, shucks, it was his company and they were his buddies, and anyway, they were the poorest foremen I ever had. So the next morning those two were back in their true form - doing nothing, and even I liked it now! Jobs were hard to get - I knew that too, and a foreman's job is not easy to get anytime. See how easy a foreman's life is. No trouble at all.
The letters of Lynn Hull will be continued in the Winter 1977 issue of the Pacific Northwest Forum.