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Friday, May 11, 2012

July 1983

Amongst the other junk found in the old garage - a box of blasting caps.

They were taken to the clearing, gingerly, by Muff and Winslow. Muff remembered how the lumberjacks kept dynamite in the old Symond camp, which was a barracks for lumbermen before Gardiner Symonds bought it. That was the mystery attic of his generation, a two story funhouse for kids surrounded by tall pines.

"Clearly they thought keeping the caps separate from the dynamite was a good idea! It was the safe thing to do!"

I think one of them held the box on his lap, reverently, like the ashes of a deceased. The other drove, carefully, over the rocks in the road.

Funny how you treat a thing when you know it's dangerous. Before that day it was just another wood box in the attic, and in the way.

"They're probably duds. Nothin's gonna happen!"

They put it on top of the target stand on the other side of the clearing which is filled with blueberries. The target stand was made of plywood and 2 x 4's. It's where everyone goes when they want to shoot.

So they shot at it. A bullet hit the box and the whole thing exploded. The blast decimated the target stand and made a loud noise and left a lot of splintered wood lying around.

Everyone was darn glad that over the years no kids had upset any cans of paint on top of them, or dropped a box of nails on them, or chucked them into the attic, which at that time was a catch-all for every other sort of junk that you find in an isolated place, including . . .

. . . trout nets, (for breeding trout fry), a railroad locomotive headlight (big enough for a child to crawl into), boxes of arsenic, scraps of asbestos cloth, stovepipe, firebricks, plumbing fixtures, bits of an old Waco biplane that Herb Helms' brother crashed on the beach after he came back from the war - words to his brother after he got to the station, all shook up with a bloody lip, and rang Herb up: "Hey Herb, ya know that new biplane we jus' bought?" - beaded panelling rescued from the railway station building, signs from the station, one small red "Western Union" sign, another larger "Western Express" sign, another of wood stencilled "Brandreth Station", shovels, peavey hooks, engine parts, a Model 'A' spare wheel, chipped enamelware, worthless moth-eaten bearskins, deerskins, beaver pelts, untold numbers of broken deer antlers, one deer head mounted spilling arsenic stuffing, rotten sails for a departed sailboat, fire-buckets, a parachute harness (no chute), a nineteen forties era chainsaw,  . . .

We nailed the wood panelling up inside the walls of my Dad's old studio in the meadow where it beautifies the building to this day.

The remaining junk went to the dump, was sold, or got shot at until it exploded.

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