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"...Sarah slowed as she exited the 101 Highway offramp and drove by an old Western-style bar called the Riverside Saloon just within the southern limits of town. The place backed up to the Eel River with an outdoor patio overlooking a narrow wooden footbridge crossing the river’s one-hundred-foot deep chasm. A group of heavily built lumbermen and rough-and-tumble loggers, who just got off work early on Saturday after a few extra hours overtime, gathered together in the saloon’s outside patio.
Making boisterous noises to match and almost overwhelm the town’s street sounds, a group of lumberjacks were having great time after work. Their checkered shirts, bulging arms, cowboy hats and work-stained jeans, easily caught Sarah’s attention.
She had an impression, they were having a good-old-boy style end-of-workweek celebration. More importantly, they were ready for some coed company and a great country and western sing along, to match the music coming off the saloon’s bandstand.
As she made a show of waving and smiling at them, she said to Marci, who was trying to ignore the noisy bunch, “Those fellows look like they worked hard all week; they deserve at least a wave and a smile and perhaps a conversation. I want to stop the car for a moment. I’ll get out and you can drive over to the inn.”Marci’s reply to her rambunctious and party-eager girlfriend was, “No, we must register at the Humboldt Inn up at the other end of town; I need to get some rest.”
As the fellows hefted tall mixed drinks of tequila, rum or most things alcoholic, the daily roar of chainsaws having dulled their hearing and made conversations louder than a reverberating tmm…berr call. Their demeanor gave an impression they were still in a deep forest and denuding defenselessredwood trees, rather than whooping it up a country saloon.
They also might have been hitting the hard stuff a bit too early for a Saturday afternoon. A few men quickly forgot their personal conversations for a moment, hung over the waist-high patio fence, whistled and waved at Marci and Sarah.
Even though she was supposed to drive into the Humboldt Inn parking lot, which was across Redwood Drive and up north a bit from the Riverside Saloon entrance, Sarah encouraged and urged the boys on with a big smile and a friendly wave of her own.
Marci was a bit apprehensive as she said, “Sarah, from the looks on those eager beaver faces, their flattop haircuts standing tall with every strand erect; their ear-to-ear smiles are a call to arms. If we stop, they might even leave their corral and try to jump into this car with us. Then you’d have your hands full.”
"Oh, please may I let them, Marci?” Her voice sounded more like a cruising teenager rather than a graduate ingénue. At the moment, Sarah sounded more like a young child, begging for candy through the glass counter of a candy store, than a college sophisticate.
When Sarah saw no cars behind her and Redwood Drive empty of traffic, she made a full stop, did a U-turn past the Humboldt Inn parking lot entrance and drove south, back toward the saloon’s patio fence. And then she set the parking brake, checked for cars nearby, unbuckled her seat belt, threw open the driver side door quickly, practically tumbled out of the car and brushed the wrinkles off her skirt.
After she went around to the passenger side to open Marci’s door, some of the loggers saw and acted like, Sarah was an afternoon delight, who owned a classy Corvette. She tried to pulled Marci’s passenger door open like it was a station wagon tailgate, but to no avail. Marci’s reluctant manner silently indicated at the moment she would not be honoring any lumbermens' hijinks. Stubbornly she held her finger down on the door lock button.
“Come on Marci, ease up on the lock. You know you’ll love it; all the attention from men in uniform.” Sarah's tone was that of a prepped and ready teenager, begging her parents for the car keys on a Friday night."
“All those lumberjack’s clothes look exactly alike; checkered shirts, jeans and work boots?”
“Whatever Marci; but they certainly look so delicious; don’t they? They have a sort of uniform look, if you will; at least they’re consistent. Besides, Marci, I saw you almost swoon when Deputy Harding was giving you first aid. I just know you could go big time for a man in uniform.”
“It was different then Sarah; he was helping a girl in distress. All those lumber monkeys want to do, is to help themselves..."
© 2018 and beyond, R. L. Lyons. All rights reserved.
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