The Tale of The Missing Wood
By Ted VE3DXG
The following true story is dedicated to the memory of Charles ” Chuck ” Brown, VE3CEH of North Bay, Ontario
who passed away September 27, 2003
May he Rest in Peace
While mobiling from Toronto headed for home at Beaver Lake I was asked by Mike VE3AWU (All Washed Up) whether I could possibly deliver some “furniture quality” wood to Chuck, VE3CEH at North Bay at my convenience. It seemed that one of Chuck’s hobbies was woodworking and he was always on the prowl for material to make lamps, etc. I told Mike I would be glad to do it and would stop in on my way north.
Dropped in to Mike’s at Moonstone and picked up 4 pieces of 4 X 4 about 3 or 4 feet long. Mike wrapped them up in a green garbage bag and placed them in my van and we headed north. On my way north I got thinking what would happen if I swapped the wood before it got to Chuck’s The more I thought about the better I liked the idea!
Back home I dug up some 4 X 4 cedar that had been in the ground as a border for a flowerbed for years. It was really rotted underneath, with grubs and earthworms dangling from it. I cut it into the same lengths as Mike’s wood was and placed it in a green garbage bag.
The next time we were headed for North Bay was a baby shower for our grandson’s wife, Line. I loaded both bags of wood into the van, dropped into Chuck’s just long enough to tell him I had a parcel for him from Mike. I gave him the bag with the rotten Cedar in it and left as we were a bit late for the shower Chris was attending. Dropping Chris off, I proceeded to Callander and dropped the good wood at Stu Scott’s ( VE3CW ) place and asked him to keep it until I told him when he could deliver it to Chuck. There was only the three of us…. myself, Stu and Saul (VE3YSC) that knew what was going on. I had confided to both of them, as I wanted to know what was going on if I was not able to listen to the Bikaszar Net where they all got together each day to chat. I was hoping that Saul and Stu would stir the pot as well when Chuck discovered the rotten cedar. As I was driving back to North Bay I was listening to 3770 and I heard Chuck thanking Mike for the wood, so I knew he had not discovered what was going on. You have to remember that I did not tell Mike about doing the switch either so here are two guys completely oblivious to my little prank. This was going to get real good!
I was at work when Saul called and said Chuck and Mike were on the air and having quite a discussion. Chuck had asked him what kind of garbage Mike had sent him; Mike replied, “What do you mean garbage?” Apparently slightly agitated that Chuck would refer to his “furniture quality” wood as garbage. Saul said the discussion was getting quite heated when they signed off. Well, that evening I made sure I would be on the net listening, I would not dare to announce my presence on the frequency but I laughed myself silly listening to the accusations going back and forth, it was heating up with Stu and Saul making suitable comments off and on to stir things up even more.
By the second or third day, I think half the ham population had heard of the feud between Mike and Chuck and were eagerly tuning in both in the afternoon and evening sessions of the Bikaszar Group. You really have to know Chuck and Mike to appreciate the language and remarks that were being thrown back and forth. Things kept getting hotter and hotter on the frequency with the language being used unfit for tender ears!
Don’t quite recall how long we kept our silence but between Stu, Saul and myself we decided that an explanation was in order, as things were getting nasty. I telephoned Mike at home and told him what I had done and that I would be phoning Chuck as well shortly. When Mike realized that he and Chuck were victims of a well executed prank, he laughed and said” Well that answers a lot of questions on my mind, I thought that Chuck had gone completely off his rocker, I just couldn’t understand what was going on. Never even entered my mind that you, of all people, were responsible for it all” Now comes the interesting part…. Mike said “Don’t telephone Chuck yet, I can have some more fun with this”
Things went from bad to worse in the next day or so and Mike decided I better tell Chuck about it.Well, I got called all kinds of names on the air for months afterwards as Chuck vented a bit. It was sure the main topic of conversation for a long time.
It was a couple of years later that the ending to this story came about as I tried to find a way to apologize to Chuck especially and to get on his good side again. I have known Chuck VE3CEH since the early 1960’s when I was stationed in North Bay with the OPP as a caring, helpful ham radio operator who was always active in radio club activities and ready to assist the newcomer to the hobby.
I figured that a gift was in order so I looked around for Native “Peace Pipes” in all the gift shops that I came across in my travels. I could not locate anything I felt was suitable. It wasn’t until I was having lunch with Saul one day that the solution to my problem was arrived at. The following letter to Chuck, the document entitled Peace Pipe – Two Meter Antenna and the Photos are self-explanatory.
Letter to Chuck
30 Club Road
April 8, 1999
Hope you are in good health and enjoying life to the fullest. It has been quite a while since we have had an eyeball. I think it may have been down at the Orillia Old Timers Picnic, seems to me you had some samples of wood that Mike had sent to you in the trunk of your car.
Speaking of wood ….. and the resulting battle of words between you and Mike over the quality of said wood, it has been a source of guilt and sorrow to me to realize that I had not really apologized to you over the incident. As a result, my mind has been in constant turmoil trying to find a way of extending a peace offering that you would accept graciously.
I have looked for suitable gifts to tender as a symbol of peace, including visiting every native gift shop between the Soo and Toronto for a genuine Peace Pipe. I did not see anything that would fit the bill. However, one day while having lunch with Saul, I mentioned my dilemma to him and he promptly offered to help with the fabrication of a suitable peace offering, however I had to supply many of the items for the effort.
To acquire these items has been a monumental task and it has taken me nearly two years of reading and studying, then hours of searching through swamps and fields to locate all that was needed. First, I needed to snare 14 jackrabbits during the winter to get sufficient down or fleece for the yarn, then had to visit my daughter in Stoney Creek to have it spun. Last summer I managed to locate the different weeds and herbs that were used to obtain the dye for the yarn. Slowly the project has come together and I wish to thank Saul for all his efforts and help.
It was Saul’s idea that the Peace Pipe offering had to be more than a token gift and suggested this final product….. Combination Peace Pipe and Two Meter Antenna… would be just what you would want. Please read the Spec sheet carefully to fully appreciate the thought and time that went into this effort.
Best wishes to you and Merle,
Ted, Chris, Saul and Judy