Monday, August 11, 2008

My Friend Earl

Earl "shoveling" in 1978

Depicted in the photo is my friend Earl Rivers, AKA Jordan R, taken in the spring of 1978. So the natural question would be just who in the heck is Earl Rivers anyway.

Earl was one of the first people I befriended when I began my careen in Astoria with the department of forestry in 1977. I still remember the first time I met Earl; my initial assessment was that he was a character and his actions over the past thirty years have proved me correct!

Earl was one of the first of my coworkers to purchase a house; this provided a place to gather for an impromptu celebration after work. Since his house was at the top of one of Astoria’s steepest streets, getting there was no small feat. If you arrived at the gathering late, you needed to park at the bottom of the hill and hoof your way up it on foot because his driveway only allowed parking for two cars.
Earl was also passionate about cutting fire wood; in fact his wood shed was nearly as large as the house! When ever he gave anyone a tour of the house, you would end up in the wood shed and Earl would proudly show off his recently cut firewood in a manner similar to a new father sharing baby pictures! To Earl, it was not just firewood, on no, he kept it sorted and nearly stacked by type: fir, old growth fir, alder, cedar, and so forth. To him, his firewood was so valuable that when he promoted and moved to northeast Oregon, by volume, he actually took more firewood than furniture.

Earl sharing an embarrassing story at my retirement

It’s a tradition at the Dept. of Forestry that when you retire, people come to your party and share stories about you, and occasionally they are ones that you wish would have been long forgotten. When Earl jumped up to speak at my retirement party, I knew exactly what story he was going to tell and believe me, it certainly was one that could have gone another thirty years with out retelling. Fortunately for me, the statues of limitation had long expired; besides I was leaving the agency in a few days, so no harm, no foul!

I recently had the honor to attend Earl’s retirement function and it was my plan to return the favor so to speak, by sharing an equally embarrassing story. Unfortunately, my plan failed when I realized the best story I could tell on Earl also included myself as a participant. Sometimes life is just darn right cruel!

In all, Earl has been a heck of a friend over the years. When my house was damaged by fire in 1983, he was the first one to stop by and offer words of support. It was also through Earl and his finance that I was introduced to my wife of nearly twenty-two year; for that I will always be grateful!

Congratulations Earl on a career of thirty years, six month, and twenty some odd days. Bravo Zulu!!


sharom/The Baby Boomer Queen said...

Hello Steve...

I found you at "I remember JFK" and thought I would look up a would be astronaut.

I enjoyed your site and hope you will come and visit mine sometime.

Your pics are just too precious. I have lost all of mine in a fire. So, I have only the future to built on...

Southern smiles and world peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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