About pride....

by Bill Moore....


....The forest around us, here in British Columbia, is so often taken for granted by the people living here. If I were king I’d make everyone leave the province for a trip to a nice flat desert spa or a crowded city in Europe, just so they would return and realize the importance and beauty of this forested land of ours. But gee, I’m not king so we’ll just have to stumble along as best we can.
....I’ve written a lot of words about the importance of our forest lands here in B.C. and Canada. And justly so. The forest has been my bread and butter all my life and like most loggers I feel it’s rather important that this industry of trees be touted. And like a good many others in the business, I take pride in it.
Have you ever listened to a really good young rigging crew at a steel tower trackside bragging about how tough the day’s logging was? And how steep the sidehill was, or how hard it rained or snowed? And how many logs they got, and how thick the underbrush was? I’ve heard those conversations many times over the years and they are the sign of a real good crew. Sure they bitch about things, but that has always been the logger’s prerogative. They take pride in bitching about the elements they have to work in as well as the logs they have produced.
....Now of course, there are various definitions for what is a “logger!” Mine is one who has put in five years at the trade and considers it his prime work. There are lots of good journeymen loggers who have not put in their time or who bounce from one trade to another, but they are not loggers.
....In talking to loggers or forest workers here in B.C., or in eastern Canada or in northern Europe – the real loggers always stand out with their pride of the job they are doing. It has always been thus and I think it will stay that way. I take little heed of those

who say “the loggers of today aren’t like the oldtimers of yesterday.”
....Why should they be! I grew up with oldtimers who bust their backs lifting heavy rigging about and were weighed down with heavy awkward clothing in poor weather. The machines were de-veloped to help man and the logger was one fellow who sure as heck needed help. The old fashioned way and the modern way, both allow for pride of work – brains or brawn or both.
....I remember one man who had pride as a logger. His name was Tom Bur-nette and he was a steam donkey fireman. Tom had a crippled hand and was getting a bit past his prime, but he still had aspirations to be a steam don-key engineer. If he could only get the traveling boiler inspector to pass him.

Don’t apologize
for machines

....It was in the late thirties and we had two 11 x 13 Willamettes as coldeck donkeys and a 13 x 14 Washington as an A-frame donkey. The boiler in-spector
....Would write to camp as week ahead to announce his day of inspection. So the night before, the wood fires would be pulled from the fire boxes, the grates cleaned off and the big smokestake tipped over so the inspector could view the top of the boiler tubes. All work ceased on boiler inspection day and the crew lay in. The engineers would be at their machines and have the boiler cleaned off and painted up.
....My father would always assign Old Tom to accompany the boiler inspector on his rounds of the three steam-pots. Tom would carry the inspector’s little leather satchel that contained his hammer and chisels and small tools.

It was a great day for Tom. He was sure each year the inspector would break down and give him a steam certificate, but it never happened. Tom was never dismayed. As they made the rounds he would tell the inspector what fine machines they were – even though they were old and he was constantly cutting down their allowable steam limit. But Tom never gave up – wait until next year! He was a hell of a fireman and no engineer ever had to wait steam on Tom Burnette. Old fashioned pride.
....I felt the same kind of feeling in Finland in the fall of ’77 when I had the privilege of taking four of our champion loggers to the Eighth Annual Chain Saw Contest for World Forest Workers. I described those events in the B.C. Lumberman issues of October and November of that year.
....The high point that still remains in my thoughts was the final evening of the four-day event when the awards were presented as in the Olympic Games. Gold, Silver and Bronze were awarded in the five categories the chain saw teams had participated in.
....We were in a large auditorium with the flags of 14 nations present. A fine military band played traditional marches and as a preliminary, various delegations and personages were called up to receive recognition for work done in connection with the event.
....Our team of Owen Carney, Ron Hartill, Alan Boyko and Gordon Hart – all well known Logging Sports Champions – had never seen the European rules for their style of sports events. And they were very different from ours – not the great crowd pleasers with action, but more the disciplined, safe production form of competing. We found them to be excellent for the training of young woodworkers.
....................(Continued on page 60)

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British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1979

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Well, even not knowing the rules, our big fellow, Ron Hartill won a first place in one of the five events. It was a very exciting occasion when “Kanada” was declared a winner of the Gold and Ron walked up to stand on the top of the three tiered stage. The Minister of Forests for Finland presented the large medal and ribbon and in addition a beautiful glass vase.
The cheers and good feeling of all the audience and participants from so many countries made you feel rather glad to be a logger. I know Ron felt a real pride in being able to compete and win against so many fine competitors. There was loggers’ pride aplenty that night in Finland and it encompassed a lot of different nationalities of loggers.
Pride to some sounds like a corny word today. It’s too bad, because when I find a logging camp with a bunch of people who get along pretty well, conscious of their safety record and go out and do a good day’s logging, I find I have run into a proud bunch of loggers. And those kinds of camps and operations do exist today in a lot of places across this land. The logger is as good as he ever was – it’s just the perennial skeptics that need a shove in the butt – but –

Keep them out of the bight,
Bill Moore



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British Columbia Lumberman, May, 1979