A young boy must rescue a couple trapped in a mining gondola 200 feet above the Sacramento River, and amidst a driving rainstorm.
“Down with your helm! You’ll have us hard and fast aground!” My acquaintance with Captain Booden was at that time somewhat limited, and if possible I knew less of the difficult and narrow exit from Bolinas Bay than I did of Captain Booden. So with great trepidation I jammed the helm hard down, and the obedient little Lively Polly fell off easily, and we were over the bar and gliding gently along under the steep bluff of the Mesa, whose rocky edge, rising sheer from the beach and crowned with dry grass, rose far above the pennon of the little [Read More]
Thursday’s Storyweek story — Old Man Bobo’s Mandy — written by Englishman Horace Annesley Vachell, sent us scurrying down an internet rabbit hole after an idyll. Where in California, exactly, did Vachell find the inspiration for the fictional town of “San Lorenzo,” the setting for his collection of stories Bunch Grass: A Chronicle of Life on a Cattle Ranch? Vachell’s Wikipedia entry shed little light on the writer’s life on the land, noting only that Vachell “went to California where he became partner in a land company and married Lydie Phillips, his partner’s daughter. His wife died in 1895 after [Read More]
Old man Bobo was the sole survivor of a once famous trio. Two out of the three, Doc Dickson and Pap Spooner, had passed to the shades, and the legend ran that when their disembodied spirits reached the banks of Styx, the ruling passion of their lives asserted itself for the last time. They demurred loudly, impatiently, at the exorbitant fee, ten cents, demanded by Charon. “We weigh light,” said Pap Spooner, “awful light! Call it, mister, fifteen cents for the two!” “Ten cents apiece,” replied the ferryman, “or three for a quarter.” Thereupon the worthy couple seated themselves in [Read More]
It had been raining in the valley of the Sacramento. The North Fork had overflowed its banks and Rattlesnake Creek was impassable. The few boulders that had marked the summer ford at Simpson’s Crossing were obliterated by a vast sheet of water stretching to the foothills. The up stage was stopped at Grangers; the last mail had been abandoned in the tules, the rider swimming for his life. “An area,” remarked the “Sierra Avalanche,” with pensive local pride, “as large as the State of Massachusetts is now under water.” Californians who have spent any time in the Sierra Foothills will [Read More]