His name was Ephram. He pronounced it with a long “E”. His daddy cut pulp wood from 1955 up to about 1980. His mother, or as Ephram pronounced it, his “Mommer”ran the house. She cooked and cleaned for the whole family; Ephram, his daddy, two brothers and a sister. They lived so far back in the woods, they had to steal sunlight. Ephram’s oldest brother was named Herbert, and the youngest boy just answered to “little Junior.” Doravan was the youngest and the smartest and of course, the prettiest. The boys all worked with their father when they were growing up. In those days pulpwood was cut in short lengths and loaded sideways on a two-ton truck. If ever there was a job to make a man out of you, it was pulpwooding. There was a motor and a hoist on the truck to help in loading, but by the time you had cut and stacked 40 or 50 short pieces of 300- or 400-pound pine logs all day long, you were proud to see sundown. When a load was made, it was Ephram’s job to drive the truck to the sawmill and also to make sure that the truck stayed in good running shape. When the dogs heard that truck backfire and crank up in the yard, it was like a bugle blowing reveille, and out from underneath the porch they came, barking their approval. Those dogs would rather ride than eat. Each boy in the family had his own dog, and Doravan had given them all names. Ephram’s dog was named “Simple” because he was a little slow and clumsy. Herbert’s dog loved to growl at the vacuum cleaner, so he was named “Hoover.” Little Junior’s dog was called “Less” since he was kinda like a chihuahua-terrier and was the smallest. He slept in a Maxwell House coffee can. They were strange names, but Doravan was the scholar of the family, so nobody thought much anything about it. Ephram, Herbert, and little Junior were always together in the cab of the old truck, and all three dogs were crammed in there among the tools and oil cans on the floorboard or hanging out the window. Little Junior had to ride in the middle of the seat because his job was to sit on the shift lever in case it tried to jump out of gear when they got up some speed out on the highway. Herbert held on to the wiring cable from the light switch to jiggle it every now and then when the headlights went out. It was an engineering marvel, but it got the job done, year after year.
Late one afternoon, Doravan and her Daddy were sitting out on the front porch as the old truck loaded down with wood pulled away and started to the sawmill. With a devilish gleam in her eye, she asked “Daddy, you gonna watch your favorite TV show tonight?” “Yesmam, you know I am. Why would you ask me that?” Trying not to bust out laughing Doravan giggled,“Well, I know your favorite show is The FBI*, but you just saw Ephram Simple Less Junior and Herbert Hoover leave from right here in your truck. The old man had to scratch his head for a second, but then his eyes lit up and he nearly fell out of his rocking chair as he joined his daughter in a laugh and a special moment that only the two of them could have shared. A thousand memories woven together make the wonder of families, and as they say, “you just can’t make that stuff up”.
*For our “younger readers”; The FBI was a popular TV show back in the sixties starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and featured many references to Herbert Hoover, the legendary Director and crime fighter of that law enforcement agency. And Doravan had quite a sense of humor!