Laughs from the past 3

Holy Tree,

Trees devoid of leaves now, looking rather forlorn,

Casualties of frost and winter’s storm,

But one tree remains for us to delight,

Leaves, evergreen as emeralds,

Red berries shining bright,

A little ray of sunlight,

That sends long dark days to flight.

The timber carriers

The timber we had brought over from Finland was hanging off our port rail, the North Sea had tested our little boat, it had been a rough passage, now however all that was behind us as we listed our way up and into the shelter of the River Forth and the port of Grangemouth. It was a Friday morning and by noon we would be paid-off, at least until the timber was unloaded, that would be Monday at the earliest.

In the Crown that evening, Laurimer suggested they take a job unloading the timber over the weekend, give us beer money if nothing else.

“Have you seen the size of those timbers, or felt the weight of them?” Jimmy was not so sure that this was such a good idea, but Laurimer could be very persuasive, so the next day they both reported for duty down the docks. Now unloading timber was mostly left to women and these girls were no wimps. Within an hour both men’s shoulders and necks were raw, even the old coat no longer seemed to gave any protection from the rough cut 6X4 timbers they carried from deck to the lumber yard, each trip becoming more and more a marathon.

“Maybe stacking the timber would be easier than carrying it?” said Laurimer. On their next trip, they started a new stack and soon found themselves snowed under with planks of wood, being dumped by the women at the bottom of their fast-growing tower. The stack was climbing fast, but not all that straight, Jimmy up on top, Laurimer passing up batons and giving guidance, “A wee bit more to the left Jimmy” or we bit the other way. It was not long before the foreman came over and told them that if at any time he needed a couple of good stackers, he would let them know. In the Crown, not much later, it was unanimous, they would not be going back carrying timber.

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