Posts Tagged logging

Billy Staub

It was hotter’n blue blazes around this part of Texas this past summer; over a hundred degrees on a lot of days. It reminded me of this poem I wrote several years ago. It’s a true story–embellished a bit–and what happened on that long ago day had everything to do with the heat. Lord knows I wish I could say the whole thing happened in my imagination. If it hadn’t been so hot, and the logging crews hadn’t been shut down, Billy Staub might still be with us. But then again… probably not.

This Silence Was Not Golden

 

I was on the porch in the wood swing

It creaked and gently swayed

In a hot south wind

 

No workin’ in the woods on those kinda days

Fire danger and all

Didn’t matter to me

 

I was four beers in; two to go

And Hank Jr. was croonin

‘Bout bein’ whiskey bent

 

Billy Staub’s chainsaw was whinin’

Out back somewhere

An angry steady sound

 

Dale’s old hound dog came up and laid at my feet

I thought to shoo him

But let him be

 

My leg was itchin’ something fierce

No way to scratch it

Through the dang cast

 

Hank stopped singin’… a tree crashed

Then Billy’s chainsaw

Sputtered… and died

 

hound-dogThe old dog raised his head, listening

Somehow seeming to know

This silence was not golden

 

The breeze sighed then went still

And somehow I knew…

Billy was gone

 

Billy Staub was small in stature, but tough as nails, and had a heart as big as an old-growth fir tree. He had his faults, and one of them may have been partially responsible for his death, but he was a good man and a good friend.

I left the woods after a big tree fell on me, breaking my leg so badly it required two operations, and about two years in and out of casts. Billy was killed not long after my accident, when a big tree he was felling took an unexpected turn and landed on him. He was probably high when it happened, because he usually was. When the big tree hit my leg, I saw it coming and ran like crazy trying to get out of its way; I imagine when Billy saw the big tree coming at him, he probably just grinned and looked at it with those ever-droopy eyes of his and said, “Huh… would ya look at that…”

Copyright © C. Mashburn 2012

(Revised 11/07/2018)

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This Silence Was Not Golden

It’s hotter’n blue blazes around this part of Texas; been over a hundred for a bunch of days. Claudia, over at dVerse Poets Pub thought maybe we should write something about how reality and fantasy might blend in the heat of a torrid summer, and it made me think of this poem I wrote and posted almost exactly a year ago. It’s a true story–embellished a bit–and what happened on that long ago day had everything to do with the heat and Lord knows I wish I could say the whole thing happened in my imagination. If it hadn’t been so hot, and the logging crews hadn’t been shut down, Billy Staub might still be with us. But then… probably not. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Slightest Spark

I’m not the superstitious type—in fact, I’m anti-superstitious—but for her Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore has invited us to write about this ominous day that comes around at least once a year and sometimes three. So, I “kind of” obliged her; but just barely. Read the rest of this entry »

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This Silence Was Not Golden

Stu, over at dVerse Poets Pub has asked us to write a poem about weather, and one of the suggestions was to write about how weather affected a point in time. This poem says very little about the weather, but what happened on that long ago day had everything to do with the weather. If it hadn’t been so hot, and the logging crews hadn’t been shut down, Billy Staub might still be with us. But then… probably not. Read the rest of this entry »

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This Silence Was Not Golden

This morning, while commenting on one of Kellie Elmore’s wonderful poems, Red Wine and Norah Jones, I was inspired to write the one you’re about to read. In my poem, I mention a friend from back in my logging days in the great northwest near Mount Rainier. Read the rest of this entry »

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Killin’ Time!

Another story from my logging days has been stuck in my head all these years. The hook tender on this occasion was a guy who’d been dubbed, “Killer.” He was about five-foot-six, and weighed probably two hundred pounds, and most of those pounds were rock-hard muscle. He was known throughout the Mt. Rainier area as a street-fighter you didn’t want to tangle with. Naturally, none of us on the crew gave him any lip. Read the rest of this entry »

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The “Old Man” and the Tree

High-lead logging in the northwest is an extremely hard way to make a living, and most of the men who did it back when I did were young–in the eighteen to twenty-five range. An out-of-shape old man was not expected to survive long at the job. Read the rest of this entry »

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Killin’ Time

Another story from my logging days has been stuck in my head all these years. The hook tender on this occasion was a guy who’d been dubbed, “Killer.” He was about five-foot-six, and weighed probably two hundred pounds, and most of those pounds were rock-hard muscle. He was known throughout the Mt. Rainier area as a street-fighter you didn’t want to tangle with. Naturally, none of us on the crew gave him any lip. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a Comment

The “Old Man” and the Tree

High-lead logging in the northwest is an extremely hard way to make a living, and most of the men who did it back when I did were young–in the eighteen to twenty-five range. An out-of-shape old man was not expected to survive long at the job. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5)

Killin’ Time

I don’t usually post things this late, but.. I’m just sittin’ here killin time, so…

Another story from my logging days has been stuck in my head all these years. The hook tender on this occasion was a guy who’d been dubbed, “Killer.” He was about five-foot-six, and weighed probably two hundred pounds, a lot of which was rock-hard muscle. He was known throughout the Mt. Rainier area as a street-fighter you didn’t want to tangle with. Naturally, none of us on the crew gave him any lip. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)