Lucky Lager and the Tiger Road

Some summer days I would accompany my father as he worked for my grandfather. My mom would put a sack lunch together for me, always a peanut butter and jam sandwich wrapped up in wax paper. I wouldn’t eat anything else. (Thank God for the genius of George Washington Carver).
I would climb up onto the bench seat in the cab of the box truck and we were off to make beer deliveries.
My grandfather’s distributorship took in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, everything except the Colville Indian Reservation, which the Lucky Lager distributor in Spokane jealously guarded.
We climbed the Tiger Road up out of Colville, the name whispered to me of adventure, even danger.  It was named for the town it passed through, the town of Tiger, a spot in the road with a single store.
We passed through the mountains and down to the Pend Oreille river. From there we headed north to Ione and Metaline Falls, both communities centered on silver and lead mines. When we saw the tall smokestack of the smelter  we knew we were closing in on the latter place.
Metaline Falls was pretty much the end of the line. And that is perhaps the reason that Kevin Costner made his film The Postman there, (an apocalyptic story released in 1997, and set in the future time of – 2013).
Some days we would head south along the Pend Oreille and service the taverns in the county seat, Newport, then make the rounds of the lake resorts as we returned to Colville.
Places like Loon Lake and Lost Lake and Deer Lake beckoned.
My favorite, at least for the name, was Jump Off Joe Lake. We rolled into that resort one day about noon.  I followed my dad into the cool of the closed tavern where he made his delivery. That done, we returned to the truck and sat and ate our lunch. I remember the scent of pine trees in the summer heat. My dad had bought me something to drink with my meal (no, not a beer) an Orange Nehi. And as a treat he added some bubblegum that to my surprise came with some Three Stooges trading cards.
From there it was
Home again
Home again
Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.

Atop Lucky Lager

atop Lucky Lager

Back when we lived in Colville, I can remember times we spent at my grand parents.  They had a nice two story home on Third between Wynne and Washington streets. The home in which my mother’s family had owned since her teen years.
Two large weeping willow trees stood to the side of the front yard. We loved to run and grab a handful of hanging willow branches and swing out into space over the next door property, a la Tarzan swinging through the jungle.  However, we did not keep going from vine to vine like him, but rather swung backwards, completing the pendulum motion.
My grandfather was a large man and not a little intimidating. He owned a shop that set on that adjoining lot. He had been a mechanic with a specialty in automobile radiators. But now it was a beer distributorship for Lucky Lager, which he owned and operated.
One time I was in the warehouse area and for some reason all alone. Probably not a good idea for a three something. For someone of my then size it was like walking in canyons with high plateaus on every side. Cases of beer were piled six high on pallets. Somehow I climbed to the top of one of these islands. I think I utilized the flaps that could be punched in for the handholds on each individual case, as my footholds.
Of course, you can guess what happened once I got up there. A whole case precipitated from the top onto the concrete floor below. The sound of breaking glass startled me and a pool of beer spread out from the bottom of the case, bringing the aroma of hops with it and a sense of doom.
I broke out in tears.  This probably saved me as no apocalyptic spanking followed. I was examined for any hurts and sent out to the tune of mop and broom being applied to the mess.
My first experience of mercy.