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12/24/01
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PHS Bulldogs On-Line
Dec 24, 2001
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2 Bulldog alumni notes today:
Cliff Brown (67)
Le'Ann McAllister Cherry (67)

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Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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From: Cliff Brown (67)

  . . . . [so] I decided to drop out of college and hit the road. Really had no idea where I was going, but home from Walla Walla seemed a reasonable option for starters. So I got in my old red Valiant, which had already made it to Mexico and back even though it had well over a 100,000 miles on it when I bought it. Going over the Snake River bridge on the way into Pasco, just north of Burbank, I looked off to the right and saw a tugboat pushing a barge up to the dock at Tidewater Terminals. Tidewater is still the company that runs the barges up from Portland. I pulled off the road and headed down to put in an application to work on the boats. I got lucky. It was wheat harvest time and they were short of deckhands. So I got hired for something called the "dogwatch." This is because only a dog would accept such working conditions. Actually, the conditions weren't bad; just the timing. These tugs had two drivers and three deckhands. One driver and one deckhand would work six hours on, and six hours off, for ten days, taking turns with the other driver and one other deckhand. The tug kept going nonstop twenty-four hours a day, except for maintenance stops. Then they'd get a week off. The third deckhand had the same schedule, except for the six hours on and six hours off. He had to be on call whenever they pulled a barge into a dock or picked one up from a dock. The good part was that I was not in charge of cleaning or cooking. The on duty deckhand always did that when we weren't near a barge. But for 10 days I only got to sleep a maximum of about 2 hours, when lucky, since we were almost always within that far of some other barge or dock. One good thing was that I got a lot of time to play guitar. Played the hell out it and watched the river shore drift slowly by on either side. We went as far down river as John Day dam once - trading loads with a tug coming up river. And we'd occasionally go through the locks at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, going by the same potato farm I would work on two years later with Steve and Doug. When we were near a barge it was busy - running back and forth getting cables and ropes tied onto things, working winches, etc. But mostly it was a good time to meditate on commerce again. And it was fun - hauling large containers of wheat back and forth on the river. Problem is that going without more than two hours sleep for ten days in a row will totally screw you up. You don't dream. I did enough daydreaming, perhaps, to make up for it, but I was a physical wreck at the end of the ten days. And they laid me off anyway after one run, so that was that. Maybe I was a lousy deckhand. Maybe the wheat harvest was over. I don't know. About the only thing I remember about it was one driver yelling at me because the coffee was stale. I also remember once pulling up near a fertilizer plant and catching a whiff of ammonia. The other deckhand went running across the greasy top of the barge and dove head first into the river to escape the fumes. Said later he had seen a man overcome by them and almost die.

Cliff Brown (67)
Bogota, Colombia
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From: Le'Ann McAllister Cherry (67)

  I know we are all very busy with the Holiday Season but we must all take the time to remember why we celebrate this wonderful time of the year. We are all very blessed to be in this world today. We should appreciate all the things we always take for granted. One of the things I never want to take for granted is the wonderful people out there that have many memories not unlike my own. Growing up here and attending school with the same folks year after year was very special to me. A lot of years have come and gone, but the memories will stay with me forever. Have a wonderful, heartfelt Christmas and many Blessings in the New Year.
  I want to wish all my friends and family a wonderful, joyous Holiday. Our Blessings are many and we have hope for peace. I will be thinking of all of you on Christmas Day and the part you each play in my life. Thank you for being a part of it! Love and Laughter is sent your way today!

Le'Ann McAllister Cherry (67)
Kennewick, WA
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