Mooseknuckle and Huckleberries

I spent summers on the Oregon coast when I was little. Such memories!

My grandparents started building their home on the beach in 1955. Several great aunts and great uncles lived on the tiny lumber road that twisted and turned up a very steep hill to the top of our very own “personal mountain.” On top sat a little two story cabin, one room on the main floor for a kitchen table and a huge monstrous wood burning stove, one long room upstairs with several beds – enough to sleep my family of six and my mother’s brother’s family of four, AND our grandparents.

The cabin was called Mooseknuckle. So was the Mountain. We have no idea where this name came from, other than my grandfather (Gramps) was a teller of tall tales and his imagination knew no bounds. He would tell us stories that would make our eyes bulge out and we would go to bed totally unable to sleep with all the excited thoughts running around in our heads.

Once upon a time, there was a logger on the Mountain and there was Indian Joe. Indian Joe was like Goliath in the Bible and the logger was like David. Indian Joe was a bully and mean and ugly and terrorized the poor wee logger. But one day the logger grabbed Indian Joe by his little finger and hauled him over his shoulder and off he flew, off the Mountain, while the logger yelled, MOOSEKNUCKLE!, something he yelled whenever he felled a tree. It worked for the trees, so it must work for Indian Joe.

My grandmother was equally adventurous and we would walk everywhere – up the Mountain; up the highway to an old fashioned hamburger joint that served the absolutely best hamburgers I have ever tasted in my whole life; across the fields to the ocean, telling us to watch out for “cow pies;” up the wider logging road south of the cabin, where we picked gobs of wild strawberries or huckleberries and feasted on short cake for dinner. Wherever we went, we would sign a song she taught us in one lazy afternoon.

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

I sang this song exactly as she taught us and it was years before I realized I wasn’t singing la-de-da gibberish. It was actually real words. (Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?)

Such sweet memories of grandparents as they should be.

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