Monday, October 25, 2010

We Will Not Be Silenced

This is my husband, Gene's, coffee thermos. He got it out from underneath the cupboard on Saturday when we decided to take an afternoon drive to Naches. This is the smaller of two thermoses we own and I like this one better because it's smaller and easier for me to handle while we're rolling down the road.  I actually love this thermos because it reminds me of my dad.

That little sticker you see on it is a union sticker. It says, "We will not be silenced. No on 59". There's another worn out sticker on the left that says Local 48 IBEW Portland, OR, and a new sticker on the right that says Elect **Carol Moser** 8th LD, Position1. Note: Carol is our favorite local politician.

This thermos has lots of dents in it and I suspect it was a dark teal color when he first got it. I don't know how long he's had it but it's a Stanley and my guess is it's at least 30 years old.  If this thermos could talk, oh the stories I'm sure it would tell.

My dad had a thermos just like this one. He used to put it in his lunch pail when he was a logger. His lunch pail had a hole cut out of the side of it so his thermos would fit in the pail along with the sandwich mom made for him and whatever else she put in there. The thing I remember about dad's lunch pail is the way it smelled. I can't really describe it except that it reminded me that he worked in the woods, probably a mixture of food, coffee, chainsaw exhaust, and fallen trees.

Dad used to wear black & white, tiny striped cotton work shirts and I loved the way he smelled when he came home from being in the woods. He would come through the door when we lived out at the logging camp and my sister & I would open up his lunch box to see if he left any goodies in it to eat. I don't think he was ever a big eater and I imagine he didn't eat much when he was out there working but I'm pretty sure the coffee thermos came home empty. Just like ours is when we've been on a road trip!

When I was a teenager, we moved to Wrangell, Alaska and lived out at logging camp for one summer. My cousins Mike, Tom & Linda lived there along with a few other kids our age. We spent a lot of time down at the boat dock swimming, fishing and just hanging out. We didn't have television out there at camp but we somehow managed to stay entertained. I learned how to gut a fish and drink whiskey from a bottle.  Oh, I did learn words that you don't hear much outside the logging world!

Crummy = that's the rig that takes all the loggers from camp to where they are falling trees that day.
Snag = a branch broken off a tree or stump.
Cull = an inferior tree

My dad got hurt a lot, as did many of the other loggers and finally had to give up logging. He ended up working union jobs out of the Operator's Union on the Alyeska Pipeline in Fairbanks until he retired. My mom left a banking job and went to work for the Laborer's Union before she retired. My first husband was a union worker out of the welder's & pipefitter's union.   My husband, Gene, was a union electrician working out of Local 48.  I was in the union when I worked for the AG's office in Anchorage.  I think about that a lot these days.

On our walk yesterday, Gene and I were talking about the state of things in this country.  We have stores like WalMart and other gigantic corporations who have moved in and put small businesses out. They do it by lowering prices and then when the little guy is gone, they can charge whatever they want.  Hell, even Tupperware isn't made in USA any longer, it's made in Mexico, did you know that?  I love Tupperware but I'll be damned if I'll ever buy another piece of it.

I have everything I need and if I never buy another piece of crap item from China or Mexico, I won't be any worse for it. This post just went from a wonderful memory to a slow boil kind of anger that happens when I think about what has happened to this country.  I'll admit that I would have loved to stop at a Starbucks on Saturday for a cup of fresh brew but honestly I know I'm contributing to the problem that is plaguing this country when I visit Corporate America. We're still in a deep recession and the elections are coming up. I think I'll take Gene's thermos and go wave signs for Carol Moser.


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  2. I remember the smell of our dads' lunch boxes too. Nice post!


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