Don’t Say I Told You So!

Don't Say I Told You So!

Don’t Say I Told You So!

I was privileged to have the influence of two men in my life. The first was my father, my hero. Then when I was nine years old, Mike Power Sr. came into my life. Through the years he made a tremendous impact and one day became my father in law.

I won’t go into all of the details on how we became acquainted. It is kind of a long story and I will save it for another time. I do want to tell about a few adventures that we had together along with a few other fellas.

I have a brother, David, who is two years younger than I am. Mike had a son, Mike Jr., who is 3 years younger than I am. I guess you might call us the “Three Mustgettheirs.” We did most everything together and got ourselves into more than one fix.

Mike took it on himself to head up a Boy’s Club in our church. There were three boys, most of the time, Mike, David and myself. His plan was to play ball with us. He wanted to take us on hikes. He planned to teach us crafts. Also, we would study the Bible and learn other practical things.

We had a meeting on a cold stormy night. The lights went out and by the light of a gas lamp we chose our clubs name. We would be called the Pentecostal Warriors. We had rules and an agenda. We were official.

We really didn’t have too many meetings. It ended up that most of our meetings were spent out doors doing “manly” things. One day we went on a hike along the river bar. Our town lay in the bend of a river. There was a bridge on each side of the town and mountains behind the town.

On this day, Mike Sr. and another man in the church went out ahead of us. They told us to give them an hour’s head start. They blazed a trail along the river from one bridge to the other. We were to follow the trail, looking for the directional markers that would point us to the next marker.

When we finally caught up with them, they had built a lean-to out of drift wood and had a fire going. It was evening time and we were all tired. They had cooked supper and my dad had come with the car to give us all a ride back home. We sat around the fire and had a good time.

Another time I remember we were all over at Mike’s house and it was time for David and me to go home. Mike liked to walk and so he decided he would walk us home. Now we lived about three miles from their house. It was dark but there was a full moon. We all took off and were enjoying the walk when Mike suggested that we take a short cut.

In reality it wasn’t a short cut. It was just a different way. We cut behind the old Assembly of God Church and went up over this hill, actually the side of the mountain. Now remember it was dark, but there was a full moon.

Mike was leading the way. He had a walking stick and he had to use it to make a path through the brush that we encountered. I don’t know why we didn’t just turn around and go the other way. We ended up having to get down on our stomachs and belly our way through the thick brush. It was while we were doing this that Mike looked up and noticed the full moon. It was a beautiful silver moon. A moon that was shining brightly on the three leaves of poison oak that was over his head! That is right. All four of us had the worse case of poison oak that you can imagine.

It seemed like every time we went out, something happened. I remember one time we decided to go fishing. We lived on the river. There wasn’t a place in town that was more than a half mile from the river.

We went to a place that we knew we would catch fish. In fact we were so confident that we would catch fish we didn’t even take anything else to eat. We were going to eat our catch.

Well you guessed it. The salmon weren’t running and the trout weren’t biting. The only thing that we caught were what we called suckers. These were an ugly fish that were just scavengers and nobody ate them. Nobody would eat them, that is, except us. That was all we had to eat and it was a long walk home from where we had ended up.

Let me give you a word of advice. Take salt when you plan on going fishing and eating suckers. I am sure it would make them taste a lot better than ours did.

Another day we decided to go swimming. Now remember, our town is surrounded on three sides by river. However, when we went swimming we couldn’t just go in town. We had to drive twenty or thirty miles to find that special swimming spot. It was always a different spot. It was always special. On this day we drove about fifteen miles south. The rivers in our area had large river bars in the summer time and fall. There were roads on these river bars and people in four wheel drives would ford the river.

What would happen is you would be following the road and then it would go into the water. Generally the water at that spot would be very shallow. It might not be any deeper that mid calf on you leg. So if you were not in a four wheel drive you had the choice to turn around and go back, or take a chance at fording the river.

Well, in all honesty, there never was a river we didn’t try to ford. If it was there, we were going to see what was on the other side. We never had a four wheel drive. We did have a 1953 Plymouth. We also had a 1962 Oldsmobile and a 1964 Pontiac. None of which was four wheel drive and none of which worked well in fording rivers. I don’t know how many times we tried and ended up having to push it out of the river.

One day we went to Rockefeller Forest which was about 25 miles from our town. It was a redwood forest and the home of the world’s tallest tree at that time. We had gone there many times and really enjoyed hiking the trails or just walking through the woods.

In fact, on this particular day I remember stepping over a log and something moved at my feet. Startled I looked down and lying tucked in close to the log was a fawn. We moved away and watched it for a long time. At the same time we were careful not to touch it.

We turned off the highway onto a paved road and followed it toward the river. It was a typical fall day in Humboldt County, California. Humboldt County is located on the north coast of California about 5 hours north of San Francisco. It is the home of the redwoods. A typical day in the late fall is usually damp and a little cold. It will be somewhat overcast with a slight drizzle. That is how this day was.

It had been raining all week and we were not even sure we would be able to take our Saturday trip. Fortunately the weather had changed so that we were able to get out and enjoy the day. We would enjoy it even if the weather was cold and damp.

We drove down the road about a quarter of a mile or so. There was a turn around spot that would enable you to safely return the way you had come. There was also a small parking area in case you wanted to park and walk around a bit.

As we pulled into this area Mike noticed there was another road on the other side of the parking area. This road was going down toward the river. Now we had never willingly left a road unexplored. We didn’t even hesitate; we just drove right across the parking area to the new road. We had to see where it was going.

We had just committed ourselves to this road when we were able to see what we couldn’t see at first. The brush had hidden the fact that this road took an abrupt turn and then a sharp descent to the river. It wasn’t paved, it was mud and it went nowhere.

Now the years have clouded just what the complete conversation was at this point. I don’t even really remember why there was even a conversation at all. I do remember that there was a vote on whether we should take our chances and drive on down to the river or should we just back up and park. I also remember, very vividly, that I voted on backing up and parking.

We didn’t back up and park. We went on down to the river. In fact, we slid the last few yards to the river and were stopped from going into the river by a log. Try as we might, that car would not back out of there.

The tires spun. They slung mud everywhere. We put things under them for traction. We pushed and shoved to no avail. We were totally and hopelessly stuck. The only recourse was to find help.

As we started our long journey, which ended up taking us several hours, I looked at Mike Sr. and said, “I told you we shouldn’t go down that road.”

Mike looked back at me and said, “Don’t say, ‘I told you so’ it isn’t polite.”

After hiking back to the highway we walked along it for a couple of hours. The funny thing that I remember is we weren’t walking toward home. We were walking in the other direction. Luckily we encounter a Game Warden in a Jeep who gave us a ride back to the car and pulled us out.

Many years have passed since that Saturday afternoon. There were many other adventures. We played many ball games. We swam in a lot of swimming holes. We hiked a lot of trails and all got into numerous scrapes. There were countless hours spent talking and laughing. Mike was our Sunday school teacher and also became our Youth Leader. Yet through all of that there is one phrase that he said to me that still stands out in my mind. “Don’t say I told you so!”

Thanks Mike for the great memories and taking time for some boys. You made a difference in all of our lives. You made a difference that none of us will never forget.

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