When I was young, my dad, much to my mom’s chagrin, loved to tell story of his adventures in life. I never got tired of hearing them. This is one of those stories:
My dad in 1946 at the age of 19 wanted to earn some extra cash so that he could return to University. He was a strong young man, about 6 foot tall and had the build of a Rugby player. He and his high school friend Jack Harman started a small summer enterprise, logging in the Fraser Valley 30 miles east of Vancouver, B.C. They would go into the bush with a six foot long, two-man chainsaw and a converted W.W. II Bren gun carrier with a wooden A-frame mounted at the rear. The carrier was used to lift one end of logs to be hauled from the bush. Down fell the trees. They would then buck them up so they could fit on the deck of a 3 ton lumber truck. They would pile the logs on one by one, stacking them, four, three, two with the last log perched on top -- a delicate process. With the logs in hand, they would make their way down to the local mill located on the Fraser river in Fort Langley. The mill would then pay cash for logs.
One day, while bucking up a tree, they had a bit of a problem. They had ran out of oil used in the oil/gas mix and wanting to continue the work, so, they ran the saw with too lean of a fuel mix. As the saw made its way through the log, the saw got hotter and hotter until it finally exploded, blowing the head, tank and attached parts into the air. Well, both Jack and my dad survived, but the borrowed saw was nearly totaled. So much for the hard earned cash of that week. It all went to repairing the saw.
The next summer dad and Jack went to work for a logging company up the B.C. coast in Jervis Inlet. I'm sure they had learned their lesson well about “hand logging.” Nothing beats the school of hard knocks.
Dad went on to become a school principal.
Jack Harman went on to become a world renowned Canadian sculptor, two of his works are right here in Ottawa: the statue of Queen Elizabeth on Horseback and the Peace Keeper Monument. My dad proudly displays a large memorable oil painting Jack gave him to remind him about the explosion on that fateful day. The painting pictures in living colour, the blow up, the two "loggers" and the Bren gun carrier. It's one of my favorites.