Mountain Musings




Harking back to the 70s, when me and the Missus were traversing the country during the nation’s bicentennial in our 67 VW microbus, we finally made it back just in time for the July 4th bicentennial celebration.


Seems it was 1976 that we first moved up here from the OC to our family’s historic log cabin on Tetley Lane (Hmmm, that sounds familiar… where have I heard that name before? Oh well, that’s neither here nor there.)


When we first moved up here, we had an antiquated phone system, where we only had to dial five numbers – starting with an 8 for Crestline and 7 for Lake Arrowhead – to make a local phone call, not to mention that we were on a party line we shared with some stranger who had the same phone number as us. Anyway, it was a little confusing. However, in order to make a long-distance phone call, we had to call the operator. I’m sure that some of you old codgers remember this.


“Operator, well, could you help me place this call? See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded. She’s living in L.A. with my best old ex-friend Ray, she said she knew well and sometimes hated. Isn’t that the way it goes? And give me the number if you can find it, so I can just tell them I’m fine and to show I’ve overcome the blow. I’ve learned to take it well… Oh, operator, could you help me place this call…? (“Operator” – Jim Croce – 1972)


Well, to make a long story longer, I’ll never forget the time we called the operator, and she answers and who do you suppose it was? Oddly enough, it was none other than switchboard operator Earnestine from Rowan and Martins Laugh-In. “Hello operator, I’d like to call my brother up in San Rafael.” So, she answers in her rather nasal voice and a snort and politely said, “A gracious good morning to you.” I thought this was a bit odd. Earnestine then dials my brother’s phone number…again with a snort and she says, “One ringy dingy, two ringy dingys, Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking…snort?”


Well, my brother… who mom always liked best, I might add… was just as surprised, and we laughed our…uh, you know what, off! “Hi bro, what’s new up there in Marin?” “Not much, the chickens are still cooped up in their coop.” So, I sez, “Hey do you remember the time when you put termites in my Lincoln Logs?” “Sure do, wasn’t that a hoot?” “Not funny, I got sawdust all over me,” I sez.


Well, he was a bit miffed that I sneaked out his expensive Italian 10-speed racing bike in the middle of the night for a midnight ride (just like Paul Revere) and bent one of its aluminum rims. (I wonder if Paul Revere had aluminum rims on his horse?)


Well, that’s all for this week…snort!


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott