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Fort Bragg Notes

On Father’s Day, my family reunion had split up and I traveled from out of town back home to Fort Bragg. I took the bus and was delivered close to my door with bare minimum physical or mental exertion. That mental part is very important. 

Upon arriving home I took an hour or two to unwind and then I decided to go to the park to get some quiet. It was slightly after hours. It wasn’t dark yet, but technically the park was closed. I went there for quiet so I was being discreet anyway. It was the time of evening when I couldn’t sit anywhere because the mosquitoes eat anything that stops moving in short order, so I was meandering around. 

After being there for maybe half an hour, these three lumberjack types came through, each with a garbage can. These guys were stereotype lumberjacks. They were built like tanks, and their physiques could have come out of old logging pictures and newspapers. So these guys cruised on by with their garbage cans, taking note of me but not really much caring I guess. They dragged the empty garbage cans, the kind with built in wheels, over to the side of the hill and tossed them down to the creek. 

I think the first guy carried his can down, but he may have tossed and followed. After he got down by the creek the other two took turns tossing their cans down the hill and climbing on down. I moseyed back down a side trail to get away from the noise a little bit. I hung out for another ten or twenty minutes, and the whole time I heard the cans bumping around. Empty garbage cans make a considerable hollow sounding noise when they bump against trees and such. 

By this point I naturally am wondering pretty good about what these clowns are up to, and I came up with a variety of speculations, but nothing that would make sense. For instance, if they have contraband buried in the park somewhere, and they need three burly guys and about a hundred gallons of carrying capacity to take it out, they’re flat out NUTS. They couldn’t look for a less practical way to access the railroad tracks, even for clandestine purposes. They weren’t Boy Scouts cleaning up the park. 

I heard an occasional vocalization between them, not loud enough to understand anything, but the cans bumped around pretty continually. 

About this time I decided that Otis’ garden wasn’t quiet enough for me and I started thinking about Glass Beach. So I headed out and when I got to the street what did I find but a fourth lumberjack! He sure seemed nervous. Perhaps I surprised him, he was apparently watching the road and not expecting someone to come out from behind him. I didn’t think this was the time and place to socialize, so I just kept going. 

I poked around for a little bit and went down by Nello’s. I stopped in to get some stuff, and while I was there I bent some ear about these slightly unorthodox events. 

I headed on down to the beach. It was dark enough to see a few stars, but it really wasn’t dark yet. 

After being there for half hourish, who should show up but the local constabulary? Of course I was sitting by some empty beer bottles left by someone when I realized it was a cop. So I got up and went over to where my bag of stuff was. At this point I am somewhat acquainted with the locals, but I’ll just skip over the details about that — suffice it to say that it didn’t take long for the officer to recognize me. 

I gave him the Readers Digest very condensed version of what I’d seen in the park. He was out there to make sure that there was no underage drinking on the beach more than anything else, though he was also checking for campers. After about ten minutes he had to continue his patrol. 

Shortly after he left, I went for a walk out on the headlands; I was sitting on the bluff and I heard voices. It seemed like they were noticing me, and I was thinking perhaps the source of these voices had previous experience with the beach patrol. A couple of them took off and went walking on the beach, and I wandered around a bit before returning to the old dump platform. When I got back there, two folks were leaving. I hung out some more, and the stars were getting pretty bright. I went out on the headlands to a favorite alcove that gives good shadow from the lights of town and has various levels with built in furniture. In the daytime it provides pretty good insulation from the noise of town and at night it provides better viewing of the heavens with its shadow. I was out there for a while before deciding to go back to the dump platform. 

After another however-long more people came to the beach. About the time they showed up I noticed a big jet flying very high, most likely a B-52. I noticed it about halfway across the sky. It went for a while and started doing circles. By the time the new people had come up and we had got to talking, the plane had done two circles, and it proceeded to do two more before going along in the same direction it had been traveling. We rapped a little and they continued along their way. I left shortly, and upon arriving home I found that about three hours had passed. 

It seemed pretty bizarre under the fatigue from travel, but really it was just another day in the life.

One Comment

  1. Robin Lillard April 3, 2021

    What’s the end of the story? What’s going on at Otis Johnson park? Don’t leave us hanging.

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