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Red, High and Those Dratted Bugs…

Story ID:8948
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2013
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
Red, High and Those Dratted Bugs…
By Chuck Dishno
2013

I was about 16 the first summer I worked with my Pop, a timber faller, in Sequoia National Forrest near Kings CanyonSequoia National Park. It was a great experience for me to be working with my beloved Pop and learning something about the timber business. I don’t know how much help I was but it was a great job for me and I was being paid the fantastic wage of $1.63 per hour. More money than I had ever made.
Work was steady the first couple of months and when Pop and his partner got a contract to fall the right-of-way timber for a new road. We knew that work would be continues until late fall. Part of the contract was to clear all the stumps and slash from the right-of-way. Since I was low man on the crew I was put with the brush piling bunch.
There was an old man on the crew by the nickname of High. He got this name because in his younger days, he had been a high-climber in Washington. High-climbers were the ones you see on TV, who strap on a pair of spurs and climb up those tall Douglas fir trees, cutting off limbs all the way. Once they reach the desired height, they proceed to cut off the top of the tree, then rig pulleys and cables in order to winch logs up the steep slopes.
Also on our brush crew was a 35 year old joker called Red. Red was always doing something to harass poor old High. His favorite was to stir up a nest of yellow jackets and run toward High. High would see him coming and yell, “Red, you redheaded bastard, don’t you bring those bees near me.” High took it all with good humor and seemed to enjoy the attention but always said that Red would get his comeuppance someday.
A few days later High’s wish came true. He was working on a large brush pile when Red discovered a large underground yellow jacket nest. He stuck in his axe, stirred them up and started to run toward his favorite target, High. Apparently he didn’t run fast enough and one of the yellow jackets went up his pant leg and stung him on his “whizzer”. We all heard him let out a scream and the next thing I saw was him running down the road with his “thing” in one hand and his axe in the other. As he passed by me he said, “Charlie, take this damned axe, I’m going home.”
It took us about 30 yards to catch up with Red and needless to say he was in pain. Of course we were laughing our heads off but when we looked back at High he was rolling around on the ground laughing hilariously and pointing at Red, saying, “I told you that you would get yours someday.”
About this time, the woods boss came along and volunteered to take Red, who was writhing in pain, to the nearest hospital in Dinuba.
Red didn’t show up for work all the next week and when he finally did come back he was a changed person. He said he never wanted to go through an ordeal like that again. We all felt sorry for him and even High said he could feel the pain, albeit with a sly grin on his face.
Too soon, my first logging season was over and I had to head back to Bly and school. I went with many fond memories of that year that stick with me to this day.
I worked the next 3 summers with my Pop, then after graduating from High School in Bly, I went back to attend Reedley College.
Red had a son about my age and we became good friends. They lived in the little town of Orosi, near Reedley. I spent many weekends with my new friend and each time I went over there, Red would say, “Hey Charlie, have you seen any of those P---- Bugs lately?”
Over 60 years have passed since that first summer working with Pop. Red and High have gone onto their final destination and you can bet that if there are any yellow jacket nests there, Red will steer clear of them and High will still be laughing.