Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

May 18, 1980

With all of the rumbling and recent steam coming from that sawed-off mountain to the north of Portland, maybe this is a good time to tell the story of my experiences during The Big One.

I was only eight years old; my sister, not yet three. Mom was dating a guy who owned two Ford Mustangs, one small and black and nifty, the other big and green and ugly. He owned, or at least had the run of, some property in the Cascade foothills within reasonable driving distance of Brewster, WA. We were at his little cabin in the woods for the weekend. I think that we were skinning logs that morning, but it may have been the previous day. (Bear with me. We’re talking about a temporal distance of twenty-six years, after all.)

I remember what sounded a bit like a sonic boom, but with that curiously muffled quality that a great distance imparts to any loud noise. We were all outside, and I think we all immediately knew what happened. I knew, anyway, and Mom wasted no time hustling us away from the cabin and back into town.

What came next is a bit vague, though I do have a clear memory of Brewster later on (possibly the next day), with overcast skies and a couple of inches of ash covering everything in sight. During one summer, a couple of years later, Sis and I were living in Soap Lake with The Savages (Ken & Virginia) and there were still ashdrifts all over the desert.

All I can think now is, “I’m glad the prevailing winds would carry the ash away from Portland if that happens again.” Well… I also think, “I hope Hood doesn’t go next!”


  1. Lil

    “temporal distance” — damn, that’s a cool phrase. You always have the niftiest things to say. (And you already know my St. Helen’s story.)

  2. Sis

    dang, reading these actually fills in huge gaps in my memory. remember playing the mt. st. helens game?

    • GreyDuck

      The Mt. St. Helens… game?

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