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
Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.