(Image stolen from these guys)
Because it is Columbus Day, I have found a Mormor story that honors him.
Sort of. Obliquely.
Not at all, really.
But it does reference Columbus, and therein lies the problem, actually: the reference is a tad indelicate, to put it mildly. It's an ethnic slur.
I thought long and hard about publishing this, and finally decided to go ahead. I hope no one takes offense.
When Papa [Carl] was earning his way through school he got a job with a piledriver crew at faraway Camp 17. Each weekend the young men there would take a handcar and pump their way down the railroad to Korbel. From there they would take the train (the old Annie and Mary, it was called) to Arcata, where they could visit relatives, friends, and see their girlfriends. This way they could stay in town much longer as the train left Arcata at noon on Sunday, but a bus didn't take off until nine that night.* Then they would be in camp by eleven o'clock quite easily.
Now the night crew working in the tunnel was mostly Italian and took exception to this song. The cook came running out armed with a big cleaver and was backed up by the whole tunnel crew.
It took a lot of talking to convince the workers that really no racial slur was meant. Finally the crew calmed down, but they wouldn't let Papa and his friends go through the tunnel. So there they sat until morning, when they were allowed at last to go on.
They arrived in camp too late for breakfast but with just time enough to change into working clothes. The day seemed mighty long for that sleepy bunch.
There should be a moral to this story -- don't --
is a bit jumbled, but Mormor means that taking the night bus from
Arcata to Korbel, then a handcar from Korbel back to the camp, allowed
them the longest visit.
* * * * *
Happy Columbus Day, everyone, and please -- thank an Italian (and a Spaniard).