We were camped a few hundred yards beyond the perimeter of the Timber Carnival fairgrounds near Albany, Oregon. Lumberjacks competed in various events: speed climbing up a 50’ limbed spruce, hacking apart a 25” diameter fir, flinging a single-bit axe onto a target, and my favorite, log-rolling. Log-rolling pits two people balancing on a 30’ floating log in a pond whereby each of the participants uses his or her feet to spin the log forward or backwards. The winner is the one who remains dry and upright.
Near the end of the day, I wandered off just to the outskirts of the fairground toward what seemed to be an enormous tent filled with a couple hundred people. I was 10 years old.
I entered the tent and took my seat on a bale of straw near the front, observing for the first and only time, something of a revival. The preacher, rapt with emotion, described two certain outcomes that awaited humanity. I had never witnessed anything like this before and within minutes I too had raised my hand and stepped solemnly down to the make-shift stage, one of many other wide-eyed lambs seeking salvation. When the preacher put his hand upon my forehead, I cried and cried, overcome with emotion.
Later, returning back to camp, my parents asked me where I had been. I rubbed the dried salt from my cheeks, shrugged my shoulders and looked the other way.