Posted by: Rick Noll on February 4th, 2006
(Cracker – Loser)
We finally got to the Libby’s place, parked the rambler in the driveway (luckily it had a slight incline to it for restarting purposes if needed) and knocked on their front door. It was nailed shut. We could hear someone inside yell to us to go around out back to the other door. So we did, trying to keep our balance on the frozen compacted snow. There were only a couple of small windows on the building’s sides and they were so heavily covered with plastic as to be all but opaque to our inquisitive eyes. These were cold weather wind screens.
Cliff Libby, in workman jeans and a red plaid shirt greeted us; his wife stood in back of him as they ushered us inside, out of the cold. The home wasn’t very big and it wasn’t anything really to write about; it just looked like a backwoods cabin. They quickly invited us to have some hot coffee and immediately went into their story of what happened…
The wood stove made popping and hissing noises over in the corner as Dave and I listened in rapt fascination, sipping some very strong Folgers. A small piece of eggshell floated to the top in my cup of joe. I picked it out and looked at it.
The home had a basic square floor plan. The bedroom / bathroom in one corner was walled in with a door. The rest of the place lay in an “L” shape with the kitchen, living room and eating area. An old wood stove sat in the crook of the “L”, in the center of the building. Off the kitchen entry door was the covered back porch, raised up off the ground with sturdy timbers; our entry way into their home. A small table on the porch sat against the cabins back wall. There was a galvanized steel washtub, upside down on it.
The kitchen had a sink and some cupboards on the walls but no refrigerator or stove. The wood stove had a coffee pot going on it. The washtub and sub-zero temperatures outside acted as their refrigerator.
After the story was told to us, they took us out to where they attempted to cast one of the snow tracks. The plaster had been left in the snow for us to remove but earlier they had actually thought about leaving it till spring thaw before removing. They thought that it could be taken out and the original track not destroyed. We informed them that no, the track would be destroyed when and if we finally got the track out.
We started work on it right then. We dug around the track and finally got it out with much care. Dave carried it in to the house in a small metal pail and began a long and delicate procedure of removing ice crystals from the plaster. When it was all said and done… remember Cliff had poured one cast and when that didn’t set up he called and then attempted to do it again, but he poured the second batch of plaster into the same track he poured plaster into earlier… the cast came out looking more like a small Japanese Pagoda than anything else.
Sorry for the picture quality in this. At the time I only had a 110 camera. I did use the finest film available for it but, well the lens and size of negative, the very fact that you have parallax using a view finder versus looking through the lens at close quarters… consider it lucky we even got these. More to follow though.
(Electrelane – Long Dark)
Rick Noll – has written 62 posts on this site.