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Murder in the Woods...The Day My Dad Killed Mr. Rubberman

Story ID:7234
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Murder in the Woods…The Day My Dad Killed Mr. Rubberman…

By Chuck Dishno

My Dad, Ed Dishno was a hard working cattle man having grown up in the harsh winters of the Big Hole Valley in Montana.

During the Great Depression he lost his ranch due in part to bad winters and not being able to grow enough hay to feed his cattle. Because of this the economy he had to buy hay to see him through the winters A couple of hard winters in a row put him in ruin.

Pop was a resilient man though and took things in stride. He left the Big Hole and met my Mom in Missoula then they took off for Oregon. They never looked behind and trusted that the future would provide for them.

They ended up in Bly, Oregon where I was born in 1934.

Pop soon got a job falling timber for a lumber company in Bly. He was no stranger to the timber falling trees as he had done much of it in Montana.

Most fallers worked in pairs as it was easier to wield those big cross-cut saws if you had a partner. The timber they were falling were Ponderosa Pine that usually measured 4-5 feet at the base. Remember these were days long before chain saws.

Most timber fallers in those days were “gypo” fallers. Meaning they worked for themselves and were paid by the 1000 board feet of lumber they produced. If a faller had to hire someone to work with him it came out of his own pocket.
No, my Dad wasn’t a frugal man but he was a hard worker and he figured he could make more money if he worked by himself.

I don’t know if Pop came up with this idea or he had seen someone else using it but knowing Pop, I think it was an invention of his own.

Here is how it worked.

Pop got a piece of 2 inch galvanized pipe about 8 feet long. In one end he drilled a hole and about 3 feet down he drilled another. He then put a large 16 penny spike thru the holes and bent the end to make a hook. To the hook he fastened a thick strip of rubber inner tube (remember, those were the days that inner tubes were made of real rubber and not synthetic, so they had lots of stretch and stored up energy. In the middle of the rubber band he made an S hook from another spike.

Pop would then drive the pipe about 3 feet into the ground next to the tree. He would then attach one end of his cross-cut falling saw to the hook and proceed to cut down the tree. The theory worked just fine, as anyone knows who has pulled a cross-cut saw that you only pull it and let your partner – in this case Mr. Rubberman, pull it back. By doing this you only use half of your muscles by not using the ones to push the saw back.

I worked with my Pop on several occasions and he would get all over me if I tried to pull the saw to me. He would yell at me, in a nice way of course, “Don’t ride the saw, just pull it toward you and let me pull it back.”

His invention of Mr. Rubberman, saved him from hiring a partner. He also had a “partner” he could talk to or cuss out and get away with it.
After he had felled the tree he would then have to reposition the Rubberman on the side of the downed tree to buck it up into the required lengths, usually 32’, 20’ and 10’ lengths.
After limbing the tree he would move on to the next tree to be felled.

All this worked well with Pop and he was proud and he says he made more money even though it was a lot of work.

One day he came home and told us that he had killed his partner, Mr. Rubberman. He then proceeded to tell us what had happened. He said that one tree he was preparing to fall had a rotten center and as soon as it was ready to go, it pivoted on the stump and Pop dropped the saw and ran. He turned back just in time to see the tree fall on his “partner and drive part of the pipe into the tree. Mr. Rubberman was dead!

He then packed up his saw and headed home to make another Rubberman.

Apparently he forgot to tell the saw mill about the pipe stuck into the trunk of the tree and they missed it.

When the log eventually made it into the saw mill, the band saw made contact with Pop’s “partner” and all heck broke loose. The large band saw broke and threw pieces of the saw all over the mill. Fortunately no one was hurt.

The next week Pop was back falling trees with his new partner, Mr. Rubberman II. He worked this way for several years.

These memories of my dear old Dad have stayed with me all these years. What a wonderful man!

Pop has gone to that big Heavenly Forest now and just maybe he will meet up with Mr. Rubberman and all will be forgiven.