By James E.Sheridan courtesy of Jack Sheridan
One summer morning ill 1926, notlong after the sun had streaked the eastern sky with the first warning lightand brought the short July night to an end, three men who had been prompted to risefrom their beds with the dawn, gathered together, as was the habit of such men,on rickety chairs in front of the ferry shanty.
Red Bolton had come there notbecause he sought company or conversation, but because his bad stomach, and thesnoring of Mrs. Bolton sent him roaming at each daybreak.Elmer Haselgren, known as Whistling Bill, whether itwas early or late, was there due to a desire of company. The third man was
A gray pot of coffee seeped on theone burner kerosene stove. The talk was garrulous, in keeping with the hour andthe mood of men who had not yet breakfasted. The ferryman was silent asbefitted a fellow in the presence of his elders. This day a discussion grewabout the qualities of various woods. It was agreed that there were few speciesof trees which produced anything as excellent for most purposes as the whitepine. There was a lesser mutual point of view concerning certain types of oak,of cedar, mahogany and redwood. The short-comings of yellow pine, spruce andcypress were debated. Eventually speculations were offered over which
"Now you take gumwood,"
"I was just about to nail up the last plank,
The speaker looked withspeculation at his audience as if to measure credence, or the lack of it, inthe faces around him. As usual,
"Then I came right over by that plank and I watched her like a hawk. Thenext thing I see was that one of the edges was a startin'to curl. She curled up and up until that cussed board looked like a stripe on abarber pole."
Red Bolton cleared his throat asif to speak, while a faint grimace crossed his face, but then he settled backin his chair without committing himself.
"Your right, " said whistling Bill with satisfaction,