(This month’s Forest Around Us column is taken from the first cha-pter of a book currently being writ-ten by B.C. Lumberman columnist, Bill Moore, and entitled The Time of Molly Hogan. We hope you’ll find it as enjoyable as we did.)

....One hour before sailing time. One hour for the steam winches to get the last of the supplies of hindquarters of beef, canned tomatoes, Stanfields red label underwear and Copenhagen snuff on board the old Venture for up coast. It was eight in the evening and the dimly lit dockside at Vancouver was busy with the traffic of freighted trucks, the coming and going of taxis and the yells of deckhands and longshoremen. She sailed at nine, this hundred and seventy-five foot piece of iron hull and she would carry her cargo and human beings to wharves, docks, and rowboats up the coast of British Columbia to the logging camps, and way points along the route. The Vancouver Sun occasionally inserted a piece on page thirty eight, that “the ‘S.S. Venture’ left last night on her weekly voyage up coast with a load of forty-two passengers and one hundred twenty-three loggers” There was a difference somehow in those Hungry Thirties between the “passenger” and that strange phenomenon from the human race known as a “logger.” For the passenger was a man with a tie or a lady with a hat—whereas the logger could never get used to the string around his neck nor did he take his lady with him to camp—Good-bye, girls—and good-bye madams — winter’s over and it’s back to the hemlock jungle—you gotta be tough in the north.

....The purser was a patient man, he had checked out hundreds of such trips and there were no surprises left for him as to the adventures that would take place before this trip was over. Three days to Long Splice Inlet and three days back. One day off to see the old lady and the lids and then do it all over again. Well there might just be the odd old doll this trip looking for sea-going adventure—and as purser it was his job to arrange a foursome for bridge or maybe a twosome for a hot toddy in the fair doll’s cabin. We’ll see, but now it’s getting on to sailing time and the rang-I-tang loggers are heading for the gangplank. Looking at his manifest he noted that the Hogan Camp at Long


Splice Inlet was shipping its crew out tonight. Well it only happened once a year and he guessed he would survive it once more. But, Oh, God! What a three days it was going to be until they landed that bunch of beauties at the Hogan’s float camp. Here come some of them now. . .
....The purser watched from the corner of his eye as he gazed over the ship’s manifest. He’d seen those two before and the long stringy one with hair amok and the look of an assassin on his hawk-nosed face was always trouble. His partner was small and sort of comical looking and wearing a too big black overcoat. He remembered their names as they checked in—Steve something and Sam something.
....“Where’s the ticket, Sam—what you do with my ticket—god damn you Sam I told you to hold the ticket.”
....“Here Steve—I got tickets—I got.” And Sam the coat showed the purser their tickets.
....“My friend Steve he always loose the tickets mister boss—but I got ‘em.” Just then a truck with a blaring horn sounded and Steve jumped. He cursed the driver in a jumble of European phrases and was about to go around to his door when Sam grabbed him.
....“No Steve you leave him alone—he busy—and he big, come on Steve we got on the boat.”
....“Shut up Sam I don’t like that truck man—”
....Boomcat Charlie got out of his taxi nearby and paid the driver. His weather-beaten face was flushed and his slight frame was a bit shaky. The driver mumbled at Charlie and the boomcat just glared back at him. He picked up his packsack with the caulk boots tied to the bag and looked about the wharf—
....“Bastards,” thought Charlie — “where the hell do I find that idiot purser, an’ what the hell did I do with that ticket?”
....He finally found it in his watch pocket folded into a tight wad of paper. He walked toward the purser not liking anything or anybody.
...Captain Black was not happy. As he

walked out on the ship’s bridge to see how the last of the loading was going he bumped into a young steward hur-rying along up the ladder.
....“What the hell are you doing here? Get that damn ass of yours down below where it belongs!”
....The young white coated lad looked scared and reversed his approach back down the ladder. The captain looked down at the dockside from his heaven and could dimly make out his purser and a knot of people seemingly in each other’s way.
....“Purser get those people on board, so the men can finish unloading that truck. We shove off in forty minutes.”
....He’d read the weather forecast and had seen that they were in for the usual January south-easters.
....“And Jesus,” he thought to himself, “that god forsaken crew of Hogan’s is with us this trip.”
....How he disliked that name Hogan. He’d fought what seemed a lifetime with old Bearcat Hogan over every-thing from boomchains to potatoes, all the way from Vancouver to Long Splice Inlet—and now that old Hogan was dead he had to fight with his widow—Molly. The Captain had carried a lot of people up and down this B.C. coast in his days—but none ever compared to either taking the Hogan crew out in January or bringing them back to the big city in the late fall. They were mean, fighters, idiots and drunks as far as Captain Black was concerned and they made these miserable trips just more miserable.
....By the gate at the entrance to the wharf, the uniformed guard was ex-plaining to a young lady where to go to get to the gangplank—Miss Mary Anne Tuttle was scared. The con-fusion about her and the looks on the faces of what were to be her travelling companions on the “Venture,” did not exactly give the new Hogan’s Camp school-teacher a feeling of home. —And home was a long way away in Winnipeg and the thoughts of a logging camp—and this strange dark dock just left her in a numb state.
“Go down the dock till you see Section seven, Miss, that’s yer boat
British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1975  

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )

and the purser will see you get aboard.”
....“Thank you—I’ll find it,” and off she groped with an old steward bringing along her bags on a dolly.
....Just then a taxi rolled up to the guard and amidst the babble of noise coming from the back seat, the guard could hear curses and Swede talk and a long strong frame came more tum-bling out than stepping out—Behind him with a flow of curses on the cruelties of the world came a short Irish looking gentleman who answered to the name of Forty per-cent Shorty. The guard recognized them both as trouble. He remembered the night about a year ago as if it were now when the police car delivered these same two to the dock and the boys in blue to the two loggers to never darken the port of Vancouver again.
....No-fingers Johnson looked around at the guard.

....“Come on Shorty, shut up and let’s get on that god forsaken boat—pay the driver and take it easy on the dock here.”
....Shorty was in no mood to be shut up—
....“You pay the son of a bitch, you big Swede, and don’t tell me to be nice to nobody—not even me mother.”
....The guard said nothing—just kept watching the two and finally got them through the gate on their way down to the dock.Others were hurrying through now as the time slipped by for sailing.
....“No you don’t Queenie—get back there—you ain’t going on board and you ain’t gonna bother nobody.”
....“But I jes wanna say goodbye to my ole man, honey—.”
....“Go on Queenie you say goodbye to a different old man every month —
How in hell do you sort ‘em all out?”
....The employment agent came by, said a few words to the guard and slip-


ped him a bottle in a paper bag.
....“Thanks, Mac, it looks like we got the wild bunch on tonight without too bad a time.”
....But the words were hardly out of his mouth when someone hollered “fight” — by the time the guard got down to the gangplank the whole place was going crazy — Two men were on the ground rolling around and another two were swearing and shoving at each other by the cargo net. The purser was holding his leg—Miss Mary Anne Tuttle was screaming for someone top help get her dress untan-gled from the coil of wire as he had tripped into, and Captain Black was yelling from the bridge to get the police.
....The purser held his leg and cursed the fool Irishman who thought he owned the world.
“Put the bottle away Paddy or you’ll never get on this boat.” — Me name ain’t Paddy” answered Forty per-cent . “An I jest don’t like the Christmas suit you is wearing.”
....With that he brought his heavy booted foot around and it connected with the purser’s shin. Sam was pleading with Steve to come on board but Steve had enough old country wine in him that he would pay no attention to his partner.
....“You truck driver—you try to kill me eh—I tear out you gizzard and feed him to the seagull.”
....Steve pushed the surprised big truck driver until the man sort of gath-ered his senses and started pushing back. As the guard came amongst them, all kept yelling.
....“Break it up—break it up—or I’ll have the lot of you in the wagon.”
....A mother clutched her child to her skirt and the child cried and hollered “ Daddy—daddy”—Daddy was up on the boat and couldn’t get back down the gangplank. Queenie had followed the guard down to the meelee and waded into the crush casting her tear laden eyes about for her old man—who by now was on the ground struggling to get up from under the truck driver and Steve.
....People gathered at the railing of the little ship to watch the free show below them on the dock—someone hollered.
“Kill the bastards!”—
....But just which side the bastards were on went unsaid. The loading crew on the dock were still trying to fill the cargo net with the last of several hindquarters of beef and some boxes. The captain signaled down to one of

British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1975

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (. page break )

them—a big heavy chested deck-hand known as Gus. Without changing his pace, Gus reached around and seemingly without effort, grabbed Forty per-cent Shorty and Steve from the ground, swung them around by the collars and deposited them both on top of the freight in the cargo net. The two fighters looked in amazement at big Gus and were too stunned to speak.
....“Go ahead on her Winchy!” yelled Gus, and the winches hissed and lifted their cargo net of hindquarters and two quiet loggers up and on board the “Venture.” This show broke up the riot—a police siren in the background helped also—and gradually the dock-side thinned out as the passengers and loggers shuffled their way up the gang-plank.
....The whistle blew a five minute warning and Captain Black stood in his pose—frozen mad up on his bridge, waiting to get his ship out of this madness called a city and out to the straits.
....Arnold heard the whistle as he stumbled down the street near the dock. He had got lost and had gone to the C.P.R. dock by mistake and without a nickel in his pocket, he had to sort of run and carry his battered cardboard box of belongings ten blocks up town to the Union Steam-ship dock. His heart was in his mouth—if he missed this ship he might never get another job from the employment agency. Tears of worry and fear were in his eyes and his young skinny frame quivered as he saw the gangplank for the first time and saw that it was being hoisted up.
“Wait for me—wait for me!”— and a few faces turned to look at the long string bean with the cardboard box running down the wharf to the ship.
....Captain Black hollered to let the lines go and to hold the spring line for slow ahead. He could hear a voice hollering “Wait” and he guessed it was the usual late arrival—Some drunken logger who hung on in the bootlegger’s place for one too many—He could now see the kid waving his arm and he scowled.
....“Come on kid - throw me your box” yelled No Fingers Johnson from the lower railing of the ship—“and jump—you can make it.”
....Arnold stared at the ship and in a daze could hear a voice yell to throw his box. He saw the big guy with his arms out and instinctively threw the cardboard box. Then as a voice bel-lowed from the darkness up above to get the hell away from the ship before he fell in—Arnold leaped for the railing—He missed a foothold and hit
his chin and felt he was falling when two great hands grabbed his neck and pulled him over the rail onto the deck. He landed at the feet of Mary Anne Tuttle, whose dress was torn, and could only lay there looking dazed at all the feet around him.
....“Well kid, you made it—you gotta be tough in the north” said someone. The words tumbled around in Arnold’s head as he regained his feet.
....“Let go the spring line!” came the yell from the bridge and the ship started to reverse out into the night. The cry of “Daddy” could be heard — and the ship quietly made its maneuver to sea. The passageways were filled with luggage and people—but a quiet-ness had descended and the slow throb of the propeller could be felt

throughout the hull.
....No orchestras played—no ribbons of paper were thrown—no sad farewells — just another coastal ship heading out loaded with passengers and loggers. Soon through the first narrows and out to Point Atkinson. City lights faded and as the breeze of January chilled the decks, the deck-hands went about securing the ship for the trip. The iron hull was opn her way and Captain Black drank a mug of coffee in his wheelhouse and glared at his helmsman. It looked like a long three days ahead.

Keep out of the bight,


British Columbia Lumberman, October, 1975