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Trees Are Where You Find Them   By:

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The trees on Mars are few and stunted, says old Doc Yoris. There's plenty of gold, of course but trees can be much more important!

TREES are where you find them

By Arthur Dekker Savage

Illustrated by Philip Parsons

You might say the trouble started at the Ivy, which is a moving picture house in Cave Junction built like a big quonset. It's the only show in these parts, and most of us old timers up here in the timber country of southwest Oregon have got into the habit of going to see a picture on Saturday nights before we head for a tavern.

But I don't think old Doc Yoris, who was there with Lew and Rusty and me, had been to more than two or three shows in his life. Doc is kind of sensitive about his appearance on account of his small eyes and big nose and ears; and since gold mining gave way to logging and lumber mills, with Outsiders drifting into the country, Doc has taken to staying on his homestead away back up along Deer Creek, near the boundary of the Siskiyou National Forest. It's gotten so he'll come to Cave Junction only after dark, and even then he wears dark glasses so strangers won't notice him too much.

I couldn't see anything funny about the picture when Doc started laughing, but I figure it's a man's own business when he wants to laugh, so I didn't say anything. The show was one of these scientific things, and when Doc began to cackle it was showing some men getting out of a rocket ship on Mars and running over to look at some trees.

Rusty, who's top choker setter in our logging outfit, was trying to see Doc's point. He can snare logs with a hunk of steel cable faster than anyone I know, but he's never had much schooling. He turned to Doc. "I don't get it, Doc," he said. "What's the deal?"

Doc kept chuckling. "It's them trees," he said. "There's no trees like that on Mars."

"Oh," said Rusty.

I suppose it was just chance that Burt Holden was sitting behind us and heard the talk. Burt is one of the newcomers. He'd come down from Grants Pass and started a big lumber mill and logging outfit, and was trying to freeze out the little operators.

He growled something about keeping quiet. That got Rusty and Lew kind of mad, and Lew turned around and looked at Burt. Lew is even bigger than Burt, and things might have got interesting, but I wanted to see the rest of the picture. I nudged him and asked him if he had a chew. They won't let you smoke in the show, but it's okay to chew, and most of us were in the habit anyway, because there's too much danger of forest fire when you smoke on the job.

Doc laughed every time the screen showed trees, and I could hear Burt humping around in his seat like he was irritated.

At the end of the show we drifted over to the Owl Tavern and took a table against the north wall, behind the pool tables and across from the bar. Doc had put his dark glasses back on, and he sat facing the wall.

Not that many people apart from the Insiders knew Doc. He hadn't been very active since the young medical doctor had come to Cave Junction in 1948, although he never turned down anyone who came for help, and as far as I knew he'd never lost a patient unless he was already dead when Doc got there.

We were kidding Lew because he was still wearing his tin hat and caulked boots from work. "You figuring on starting early in the morning?" I asked him. Rusty and Doc laughed. It was a good joke because we rode out to the job in my jeep, and so we'd naturally get there at the same time.

Then Rusty sat up straighter and looked over at the bar. "Hey," he said, "Pop's talking to Burt Holden." Pop Johnson owns our outfit. He's one of the small operators that guys like Burt are trying to squeeze out.

"Hope he don't try to rook Pop into no deals," said Lew.

Doc tipped up his bottle of beer. In Oregon they don't sell anything but beer in the taverns... Continue reading book >>

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