Columbia Helicopters – Part 4

Although current events should be of consequence to all of us in the long run, there are two factors that lead us to personal stories as a default. One is the fact that contradictory information could cause “misinformation.” The other is that no matter what we do, the purpose of the law has been corrupted to preserve power and not allow upstarts, even though it was upstarts that gave us the opportunity to be a part of a country where walls are built to keep others out, instead of the other way around. So give me a week and let’s escape to the final entry in the Columbia Helicopter stories.

It was a Friday, so the doctor put a plaster cast on my leg before the swelling had run its course. My low threshold of pain tolerance didn’t help. It was obvious to me but the nurses had to fool around all day and night before they took the little cutter thing to that cast. When they got it done, with a loud pop it spread open about a half inch and the pain vanished.

I’ve always thought having a terrible job to start life is essential for future happiness. Well, I felt great after that loud pop. My roommate in this eight-bed hospital was a big old guy. I enjoyed visiting with his visitors. They were a lively group. One of them asked who the loader operator was and they almost all said in unison, “No wonder.”

After a couple of days I was on a plane to Los Angeles where my dad’s mother (Nana) came up to coddle me for a while. It was almost worth breaking a leg to spend so much time with Nana. She was my best friend through my rebellious youth. After a month I moved to Newport Beach where Mom waited on me, then back to Montana where my good friends carried on for Nana and Mom for a while.

I lived like a king on workman’s comp.

The bag with my boots and other gear was sent by Greyhound bus. I didn’t see it until a year later when it turned up in Cleveland. I had to pay back the $150 insurance settlement for them to return my $500 worth of boots and gear.

I got pretty good with that full-length cast and crutches and when they had a dance up at the Elk Creek Lodge, I was pretty dangerous with it dancing. I’m a lousy dancer. Like bowling, I just let it fly as hard as I can. Maybe this was a precursor to the infamous polka that made Dawn seasick at the high school Nostalgia jazz band event years later.

Like I said, this column serves as a cop-out. It wraps up the Columbia story and hopefully buys time to sort out a bunch of media contradictions.

Food for thought: The $1.9 trillion stimulus divided by 145 million taxpayers amounts to $13,000 each. This could be simpler. (Thanks to my friend, Thomas DiLorenzo.)

Andrew Cuomo, naughty boy

This governor caused thousands to die by sending infected people into nursing homes where vulnerable people lived (that is, if this whole covid thing is true or flu or….)

Now he’s in big hot water for inappropriate sexual conduct, a remark, a kiss, you know. What happened to equality for women? What happened to self defense? Bust him one, babe! Who doesn’t know where it would cause immediate doubling over and crying for mercy? You go girl! I want video. The most viral video ever.

The calls for him to resign are mostly based on this harassment stuff while he caused all this death? How bizarre.

Governor Andrew Cuomo contemplating sports' return to New York | amNewYork

“Voting for science”

That seems to be a popular phrase these days.

The U.S. House voted to reject a bill lowering the voting age to sixteen 302 to 125. The science part comes in where a few years ago the human mind was determined to fully develop at 25 years of age. This imortance of voting thing is way out of hand.

Republican, Pat Fallon of Texas said, “Our society has agreed since then (Vietnam war times) for 50 years that eighteen is when a child becomes an adult.” He missed the article in National Geographic several years ago.

His statement, as opposition, shows the dialog is excluding the side of logic and is confined to a tiny scale of argument as if in a debate club devoid of extremes afraid of saying something outrageous; even if it is true.

Elected Officials Directory: U.S. Representative Pat Fallon | The Texas  Tribune
Pat Fallon is within bounds.

Columbia Helicopters – Part 3


Back to the Dead End and snuggled up for the long winter nights felt good. We each had headlamps we used for reading and making meals. It was just a short walk to the creek for water.

Then I got word from Louie, who owned the place (and our phone link), that Lew Morgan had called and needed me to run the landing at a job in California. Outside of Fall River Mills there were old growth Sugar Pines on some lava rock strewn flats.

Sugar Pine can get almost 270 feet tall with a diameter of eleven feet. We employed a ripper, who had a saw with a long bar, to cut eight foot logs lengthwise so the ship could lift them. It was a rare site where select cut was possible as the trees were far enough apart that the remaining trees would stay standing without the help of their neighbors against the wind.

Anyway, after an eighteen inch snow overnight it was pouring rain when I left the Dead End. The rickety bridge over the Cabinet Gorge scared the hell out of me (I’ve been a good person ever since) as I traversed the raging torrent. But somehow I got to the motel in Fall River Mills.

As it turned out our usual loader operator was not there. They hired a local. As I mentioned before, our regular guy was a genius and always able to keep the landing clear for the next turn.

These Sugar Pines were magnificent, their sparse shadows adding patterns over the grit and scattered lava rocks. Trees do have a finite existence. The Ash trees in our river bottom here are no longer growing and some of those Sugar Pines were old and diseased. The use of the wood honors their long lives.

The work was a bit slow because the logs were scattered around instead of part of a clear-cut in a moist environment. This should have been an advantage to the loader operator but he couldn’t keep up. Everything centers around keeping the ship going.

The landing became a tangle of logs and chokers ten feet tall. In his frustration the loader carelessly entered the pile at a random place instead of meticulously focusing on the individual logs. (Funny how that works. Ram that grapple into a community, like laws that ignore the individual and…) A long pole flew around and hit my leg.

Even in all the racket, I still remember hearing it snap halfway below my knee. So I’m sitting there, luckily the loader operator removed the log without killing me. My coworker looked at that 90 degree bend in the wrong place and said, “we better straighten that out.” He had been a medic in Vietnam and seen much worse. He grabbed my foot and yanked it straight. It kinda freaks me out to think of it today.

Somebody brought him a couple of big slivers and some duct tape and that was it. We had a little old school bus that we rode up the mountain in and I was put on a stretcher across the seat-backs. Lew rode with me the 60 miles to the hospital. This grizzly old boss was full of motherly love all the way down the mountain.

It was a Friday. I had only worked 2 ½ days there. The doctor was satisfied with the set done on the landing and put a cast on. It was a Friday. 

sucked out of a plane

Juliane Koepcke, age 17, was sucked out of an airplane in 1971 after it was struck by a bolt of lightning. She fell 2 miles to the ground strapped to her seat and survived-she had to endure a 10-day walk through the Amazon Jungle before being rescued...

Juliane Koepcke, age 17, was sucked out of an airplane in 1971 after it was struck by a bolt of lightning. She fell 2 miles to the ground strapped to her seat and survived-she had to endure a 10-day walk through the Amazon Jungle before being rescued by a logging team.

(historical photos from