Rollin' rollin 'rollin' -OR- How Bess lost her Nerves
Bess is in her early nineties. We see each other one to four times a week. Bess is a Islander born and bred. She was born in Nanaimo and worked her early years at home with her father, clearing the land. By hand mostly.
When Bess got a bit older she was snapped up by the love of her life and lived happily up and down the Island as work went. Work did not go much for many years in spite of the forestry and fishing industries. Jobs were hard to get and temporary in nature.
Housing was sometimes a tent pitched on Crown Land. Finally things settled down a bit and her husband found a more permanent job. They negotiated with the holder of a tree license to build a cabin near the logging road just outside the woods. As long as the home was on skids, they could do it.
Bess talks about going to the lumber yards and buying "B" grade lumber by the truckload for $5 per. She and her man built their cabin for a grande total of $95.00 . It sat about 30 feet back from the road, at the start of on upslope of a big hill. One of the charms was a huge boulder 9 feet long and 2 1/2 feet high that sat in their front yard as a natural boundary. Her two tiny sons would run their toy cars along it as she gardened.
Bess and her family knew every one of the truckers that went past their place. They could watch the loaded trucks as they came down the big hill. Loaded in those days meant some first growth superlogs. Sometimes the loads were only 2 giants. This paticular day Bess heard the truck blaring on its horn around 3 in the afternoon. She had time to grab the boys and watch as the driver set the steering wheel towards the forest and away from the cabin and jump out to safety.
The boys had no idea that they might be in trouble. Bess calmly told them that if the truck swerved they must run as fast as they could into the woods behind them. All looked well until just before the bottom of the hill, a small rock on the road changed the course of the runaway. It missed the cabin but as it roared past, Bess saw the logs loosening. To her horror, as the truck went off the road, the load spilled down and the giant logs came toward the cabin. Bess put her faith in the boulder. She and the boys ran to the woods. She turned to take a last look in time to see the monster log roll calmly OVER the boulder, crush her front garden completely and stop 2 feet from her front window and door.
I asked Bess if they stayed there much longer.
"No", she remembered, "My nerves were shot - still are- and I could never live near a logging road again."
I guess not.