Kymi Mills, Winter 1636

Ari was complaining again. Or perhaps the correct phrase should be “still complaining.” It was claimed Ari complained all day, every day. There was some truth to the accusation.

“Man, I really hate it when we’re downwind of the glue works. That stuff stinks to high heaven. I wish we didn’t use it,” Ari said.

There was nothing to do while the borer turned besides clean up the shavings. Ari seemed to complain just to pass the time. When they backed the borer out and loosened the clamps, Ari lifted the ten-foot section of bored water pipe out of the jig.

Normally two men, one on each end, would handle the stock going into and coming out of the jig. The first day they worked together Ari scoffed when Kaapo tried to help. “Look,” Ari told him, “you stay at the head end. Just get the clamp open when the borer is out, and closed when the next log is in the jig, then start the borer. I’ll move the logs and clamp the tail end. If you muck around helping me move the stock, it will slow things down. And I don’t need any help.”

Working hard was about the only thing Ari didn’t complain about.

Kaapo and Ari consistently bored more wooden pipe in a shift than any other team. The stock was turned on a lathe to a six-inch diameter. Ari took it off of the pile on a four-wheeled cart and put it in the jig. Kaapo clamped it down and engaged the borer.

An overhead power shaft, powered by a water wheel, drove the leather belts which turned the borer. As it was coming back out, Kaapo had to make sure the shavings were blown off of the threads, since they could jam up the worm drive. If they had to shut down and free it up, Ari would complain about it for the rest of the shift, and all of the next day too. The last thing Kaapo did before he freed the bored water pipe from the clamp was blow it out, using a leather hose connected to a compressed air line made out of the same pipe stock they were boring.

As soon as the clamp was loosened Ari lifted the pipe over his head, and put it on the second cart. Then he stepped through the empty space in the middle of the jig to grab the next log. He expected his partner to secure the clamp the second the log was in place, and to have the borer head in place to start cutting a second later. If Kaapo didn’t hit the reverse within two or three seconds of the bit clearing the tail end of the stock, Ari, of course, complained about it. He always had the tail clamp opened before the borer was clear of the pipe.

Kaapo, a little annoyed at Ari’s complaining, replied sharply, “Yes, it does stink. And, yes, the waterproof stuff stinks more than the other. But both hold the plies together to make the plywood. And the stinkier glue doesn’t come apart when wet. They had the plywood mill before they had the paper mill and they’ve got to have the glue to make the plywood. Without the mills, they wouldn’t be putting in housing and wouldn’t need water pipes. So be happy it stinks, because without the mills we wouldn’t have a job.”

“We don’t use all of what we make.”

“So? Some of it gets shipped out. They tell me Germany doesn’t have more trees than they know what to do with, like we do. Just be happy we only smell it when the wind is blowing this way,” Kaapo said. “Can you imagine what it smells like in the glue plant? I am not knowing how it is those people go to work there every day, boiling down fish heads.”

Ari continued to complain. He either did not catch the sharpness of Kaapo’s reply or he didn’t care. The first, just not listening, was a character flaw. The second was an egregious character flaw. Other than his habit of turning complaining into a high art, Ari was a fine fellow and a hard worker. “Adding the milk curds to make the waterproof glue is a waste and a shame. It could be made into cheese.”

Kaapo explained again, patiently. “They only use the curds from the flocks grazed on cut pine greens.”

“It could make cheese.”

“Have you ever tasted goat cheese made from goats being fed on pine needles? I’d have to be mighty hungry before I’d eat it. Pine-flavored goat cheese is horrible.”

“People are going hungry.”

“Not as many as before. The mill girls are eating. The charcoal burners are eating, the goatherds and dairymaids are eating. The loggers and the mill workers are eating. Lots of people have work they didn’t have before the countess opened the mills. Like you, for instance.”

This didn’t stop Ari from complaining. “I wish we didn’t have a glue shop.”

“If they stopped making glue, they would shut down the plywood mill and put people out of work. How are people who are not working going to buy cheese? So making cheese will cause people to go hungry.”

Ari tried to follow the twisted logic. Somehow making more food would cause more people to go hungry. “Can you run that by me again?” Ari asked.

Kaapo ignored the request. “Why am I explaining things you already know? Why are you complaining about things that must be? I think you just enjoy complaining.”

“Hey,” Ari replied, defensive, “I’m just making conversation.”

“Well,” Kaapo complained right back. “If you can’t do it without complaining, then just shut up, work in silence, and let me enjoy the quiet.”

“You call this quiet? The only time it’s quiet is when the borer is not turning and then we are too busy to talk.”

“Okay then. Shut up and let me enjoy the noise.”

Ari snorted. “And who is complaining now? And it’s still not right to be making glue when you could be making food.”

“Did you not hear me about shutting up? Did you not hear me about what pine cheese tastes like? Do you not know we could use ten times as much waterproof glue, and would make more if there were more curds than they can get off of the new flocks? Have you not heard the countess refuses to buy more curds because it should be made into cheese, which she does buy, by the way. Where do you think the smelly white cheese in the company store comes from?”

Ari countered, “They could feed the goats elsewhere.”

“No, they could not!” Kaapo’s knew his voice was louder in annoyance. “Goats are already being grazed anywhere goats can graze other than in the old forests where grazing is poor. The new flocks are eating the pine needles off of the trees that have been felled. Now shut up and sweep up the shavings.”

Ari set the broom and dust pan down and loosened the clamp in the tail end as the shaft was backed out. Working with Ari was easy, as long as you stayed on top of things, and the production bonus was nice. Ari had the strength of two men and he would be the perfect partner, except he complained all the time.

****

Kaapo went home to his wife Sanna. She had a cup of hot broth waiting for him to warm him up after the cold walk home from the pipe shop. Kaapo took a sip of the broth and listened to his wife. She was speaking Finnish and it sounded a whole lot better to his ear than the German, Finnish, English mongrel tongue he used and heard used every day in the mill.

Sanna took one look at him and said, “You had a bad day. Did things go wrong again?”

Kaapo took a sip of the broth, “No, everything went right. Ari sees to that. But he just won’t shut up. I think I will ask for a new partner.”

“What if they put you back with Ville, or someone like him? You had to work a lot harder because Ville is lazy and you never got a bonus.”

“True. But at least he’d shut up. Ari doesn’t just talk constantly. He’s either complaining or he’s asking the same questions over again.”

Sanna looked at him. “Seems to me you complained about every partner you’ve ever had. You’ve gotten a bonus every month since you started working with Ari.”

“There is that. The money is nice. I just wish he’d shut up.”

“Kaapo, we need the money. I could go back to working the bag line, but they’d make me stop in a few months.”

“They would? Wh . . . You don’t mean you’re pregnant?”

Sanna smiled a radiant smile which only an expecting mother can smile.

Kaapo smiled back. “You’re right. We will need the money. I will just have to put up with his chatter.”

****

It was Saturday. The foreman announced it would be a short day. “We’re making bowls today.”

Ari, his tone of voice making it a complaint asked, “Why?”

The foreman, who put up with him because he brought up the production rate for the shift, answered, “Hey, it’s your fault. We’re ahead of orders.”

“I hate doing those dinky little bowls,” Ari complained.

“Tough,” the foreman answered. “It’s what we’ve got for the day.”

“Why are we making bowls anyway?”

Ari was not the only one asking that question.

****

Countess Anna Marketta Bielke asked her business manager, Kristiina von Houwaldt, “Kristiina, I have been reviewing the production reports. Why are we making more wooden bowls when we have a warehouse full and we aren't making money on them?”

“Anna—” The countess encouraged a casual attitude with her employees, such as she had observed while staying in Grantville. “The pipeline does not have enough orders to keep it in operation full time. The orders are coming in slowly and they are increasing. In time we will go to three shifts, but for now we run bowls to keep the men busy. It's a break-even project. Most people carve their own bowls or buy them from someone in the village who does it as a winter job. Our main buyer is the army.

“It is just like the paper bag line. We don't make much if anything on it but it keeps people working which keeps them from going hungry. It is in keeping with policy.”

“Could we make something else? Cups, maybe?”

“We couldn't sell cups any better than we do bowls. The bowls will sell eventually. And eventually we will be exporting enough pipe that we won't have time to make more bowls. We'd have to retool to make cups and we can't justify the expense.”

****

“Sanna,” Kaapo called. But his wife did not answer. The pot on the stove was boiling over. Kaapo rushed to set aside the pot boiling over on the stove. “Sanna,” he called again. He heard a noise which might be his name coming from the bathroom they shared with the three other apartments in the log building. It was so much nicer to share a two-hole flush-plumbing indoor bathroom with showers than to share a two-hole outhouse. The door to the washroom opened. Sanna, looking very pale came in. She looked immediately at the cook stove, turned around and ran back to the toilet. Kaapo followed to the sound of retching.

When she came up for air, she said, “I’m sorry, Kaapo. I hope dinner isn’t ruined, but the smell of cooking made me sick.” She went to one of the four copper-covered sinks and splashed water on her face.

“I’m sure dinner will be all right. Should we go to the clinic?” The countess had hired a doctor and then two Grantville-trained nurses to look after the mill town.

“No,” Sanna said. “It is like morning sickness. It will pass.”

She started toward the stove and Kaapo said, “No, you sit down. I will see to it.” Which he did, including the cleanup afterwards.

“How did your day go?”

“Fine. We made bowls. I brought another one home.” They already had a stack of them. The bowls were turned out of hardwood like the pipes were, and any bowls which were not perfect were thrown out. Anyone could take them if they wanted. Sanna and Kaapo had already taken a large stack home when they went to visit their families in the village where they were raised.

“Ari didn’t complain too badly?”

“Just typical. I can put up with it. The bonuses are good to have.”

****

On Monday they were back to making pipe. This time they were running an eight-inch exterior diameter blank with a four-inch bore. Ari let Kaapo help move the four-inch pipe; pipe being measured to the inside diameter. Ari moved with a passion, as if to make up for Saturday on the bowl production and Sunday off. Kaapo had to hustle to keep up.

At lunch Kaapo raced through the provided meal of rich stew, good bread and a short beer. Then he went to where they cut the pipe stock to ten foot lengths before they turned them on a lathe. There he picked up a piece of scrap.

Ari, coming back to work—early as usual—asked, “What are you doing?”

Kaapo put the side job aside, “Making a stop.”

Ari looked puzzled. “A stop for what?”

“Sanna and I bought one of those new chests of drawers they’re making in the furniture shop.” The wood shop was designed to make exportable furniture, after it met the domestic needs. So far, exporting furniture looked like it would be a long time coming. “Now she’s expecting. Buying a cradle is out. Back home I would borrow one or make one, but there’s no one to borrow from here and I don’t have the tools, so we’ll make do with one of the drawers. I just want to make sure it doesn’t open all the way and fall out or shut with the baby in it. So I’m making a stop to keep it mostly open.”

“Oh,” Ari said, while getting back to work. “If you can afford a chest of drawers, why can't you afford a cradle?”

“That's the point. We couldn't afford the chest. I bought it on time. When I brought it home, Sanna hit the roof. I wanted to go ahead and get a cradle too. But Sanna absolutely forbade it. She doesn't like being in debt. She's right. We can get by without it.”

Kaapo thought it odd when Ari didn’t complain about the side job.

****

The next day Ari asked, “Do you want a part-time job?”

“How many hours and doing what?”

“The shipper who runs his boats up the coast making deliveries and picking up fish has one boat coming in every afternoon. After work I help unload. One of his regulars just got a job in the boatyard. So he can use another man. I told him you would come.”

“How long does it take?”

“Depends on what he has. Barrels of fish heads, and salted or dried fish roll off pretty easy. The front of the boat lowers like a ramp. Boxes of fresh fish have to be carried off. It’s the loading for the next morning which can take longer. The expediter has it ready, but you never know what you’ll be putting on.”

Kaapo said, “Give me some idea. I don’t want to work another nine hours.”

Ari laughed. “I don’t want to either. Rarely less than two or more than four hours. The worst of the job is loading the fish heads for the glue shop on the wagon. The rest of the barrels get rolled into the warehouse. The boxes of fresh fish get put on another wagon for the store, but they are so light, it’s easy.”

“I’ll have to stop home and tell Sanna.”

****

Winter passed. The ice melted. Ships came for some of the pipe in the warehouse, along with paper, plywood and cut lumber. Some of the pipe went in the ground once it thawed and dried out. Summer also passed, as summers do.

September saw them taking a turn sanding and waxing bowls.

“I hate making bowls,” Ari complained. “They do not sell!”

Kaapo replied, “If the countess wants us to make bowls she cannot sell, what does it matter? It all pays the same. Even if she is losing money on it, it is all the same.”

“The difference is that making pipe is a job fit for a man and it makes money, not like making bowls. If the countess isn’t making money, how long can she keep it up?”

Kaapo laughed. “Just as long as she wants. Do you have any idea how much she’s making off of everything else? Did you know they were looking for something to do with the sawdust they weren’t using to make garden soil so now they are going to cut ice, store it for the summer and ship it out packed in sawdust.”

“That is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Who is going to buy ice?”

“The Ayrabs in Ayraby.”

“I don’t care if it is packed in sawdust. It will melt before it gets there.”

“They don’t think so. They’re building a big ice house and another dock.”

“I still think it’s dumb.”

The foreman came around. “Kaapo, they want you at the clinic. Your wife’s water broke and she’s in labor.”

Kaapo left so fast that Ari and the foreman laughed.

When Kaapo arrived at the clinic the baby rested in Sanna’s arms. The delivery had been quick and incredibly easy, especially for a first pregnancy. Sanna looked fine as she smiled and cooed at the tiny, wrinkled, red baby.

Kaapo, being concerned, asked, “Is he all right?”

“Don’t be silly, Kaapo, and he is a she. She’s beautiful. This is what all babies look like when they first come out.”

They named their daughter Klara.

****

That evening Ari stopped by Kaapo and Sanna’s apartment. He knocked on the door, and when Kaapo opened it Ari said, “Help me get this inside before it gets rained on.” The “this” he needed help with was a new cradle from the furniture shop.

Kaapo looked at it. Before he could say anything Ari complained, “I just couldn’t stand the idea of your kid sleeping in an open drawer. Don’t worry. It’s a gift. If you feel bad about accepting it, you can plan on loaning it out when you’re through with it.”

The next week he knocked on the door with a half bolt of good linen cloth. “You will need some more diapers.”

Sanna invited him in and he spent a half-hour making faces and odd noises over the cradle.

****

“Kaapo,” Sanna asked as they walked home from church on a day when the sun bounced and sparkled off of the fresh November snow, “why don’t you invite Ari to dinner next Sunday? I know one of the girls who works the bag line who would make him the perfect wife. The way he loves our daughter, he will make a truly good husband and father.”

“Sanna . . . ” Kaapo breathed deeply before he continued. “I am sure when Ari is interested in getting married, he can find his own bag girl.”

“Nonsense. He’s just shy.”

This caused Kaapo to snort. “Shy? Ari? Are we talking about the same man?”

“Yes, he’s shy. Now you listen to me, Kaapo. Ari will be much happier when he is married and has children of his own. You ask him to Sunday dinner.”

On Monday, near the end of the shift, Kaapo screwed his courage up and broached a topic he was not completely comfortable with. “Ari, Sanna told me to ask you to come to our house after church for dinner this Sunday.”

Ari seemed to sense Kaapo’s discomfort. “Sure. Why not?”

“Why not? Because. She is going to invite one of her friends from when she worked the bag line. She’s trying to match you up with a wife, Ari. That’s why not.”

“Oh. Yes. I see your point. Still, if Sanna asked I don’t see how I can say no. I don’t want to get her mad at me.”

When he came to dinner, he brought a fine sheepskin to line the cradle with. “It’s to keep the little one warm,” he said. “She’s such a small thing she can’t make enough heat to be happy.”

****

“Did you hear?” Kaapo asked Ari. “They have a warehouse full of sawdust and now they’re going to turn some of it into charcoal and press it into little bricks.”

“That’s even dumber than sending ice to Africa.”

****

Early in July Kaapo came home to find his home in a mess. “What is going on?” he asked, looking around.

“A building supervisor stopped by this morning and asked when it would be all right for them to do some work on the apartment. I said any time and he said, ‘how about today.’ Since there are now three of us, they are putting a loft over part of the washroom.”

“We can’t put a cradle up in a loft.”

“No, but Klara won’t be a baby forever. They’re looking to the future.”

****

The seasons turned. October claimed its turn on the calendar’s front page.

“Kaapo, you look like someone just kic—” Ari stopped in mid-word. “What’s wrong?”

“The baby has the measles. The clinic says to keep her warm and feed her often and to get a wet nurse if Sanna can’t feed her enough to keep her wetting her diapers. They said there is nothing else they can do. But she’s not keeping anything down. The nurse said it doesn’t look good.”

“Damn it!” Ari said. “It’s not fair. She’s just a year old. I thought with the sewer system and running water, the kids weren’t suppose to get sick.”

Kaapo shrugged.

For the next three days, Ari worked without uttering a word beyond those absolutely needed to do the job. Tears ran down his quiet face at the funeral.

All the next week, after the funeral, Ari said only what had to be said, and truth be told not even half of that. Kaapo began to find it oppressive. The following week the silence continued until Kaapo broke down and screamed. “Damn it, Ari, say something. You’re scaring the life out of me.”

At the sound of someone screaming, the foreman came running, expecting to find either an accident or a fight, either one being bad news. When he got there he found both men working away in complete silence with tears running down their faces. There was no blood and they were still working, so it wasn’t an accident. There were no red patches which would be bruises later. Ari could have twisted Kaapo into knots as easily as he lifted a two inch pipe over his head, so it wasn’t a fight. “What’s going on? Is everything all right?” the foreman demanded.

At first neither man said a word. Then Ari started to a shake exactly like a man who was swallowing too much grief.

“We’ll work it out,” Kaapo said. “It just needs some time.”

The foreman looked at the blank in the jigs. “Listen, offload this one and get out of here. You’re already over quota for the day. Go get drunk and come back tomorrow, ready to work without screaming at each other.” The foreman looked at Ari. “Forget finishing this one. I’ll do it. Just get him out of here and go get him drunk.”

Kaapo led Ari out of the shop. The man had his eyes closed and his jaw clamped.

In the nearest tavern, Ari poured his first beer down his throat almost as fast as you could say the words. Kaapo pushed his beer across the table and it followed the first one just as quickly. The barmaid saw the first empty, and knowing the symptoms, had two more beers there about the time there was a second empty mug on the table. This time Ari gulped a solid portion of his beer but did not guzzle it all in one lift.

When the mug was sitting on the table Ari said, “I had a wife.” Tears ran down his face. “We had three children. Each died before their first birthday. Then Anna died giving birth to the fourth child.” Both men were crying again. “It’s not fair,” Ari said quietly. “Anna was a sweet little thing. All of the children had her eyes and looked like they would have my size. The first three were boys, the fourth a girl.” Ari kept talking about his wife and children as tears streamed down his face. “When the girl died a few days after I lost her mother, I walked away, leaving everything I had for my family to split up. I walked for three months. When my money ran out, I found work or walked hungry.” Tears started to dry up. “When I tried to get a job on a boat to work my way across the sea, the captain said no, but he would give me a ride to where I could find a good job if I agreed to pay him later. What he wanted was three times what the passage normally costs. I didn’t care. When we got here he took me to a tavern and introduced me to Aappo and told him I was a good worker and I was looking for a job.” Ari chuckled a bit. “How he knew I was a good worker, I have no idea. But he didn’t care if I had an Orthodox name instead of a Lutheran one and so I might be Rus. Aappo didn’t care, either. I think giving me a job was the captain calling in a favor Aappo owed him. Anyway, Aappo walked me over to the mill and turned me over to the office there, and here I am.” The tears had pretty much stopped flowing.

“Then the priest threw a fit when he learned my name. Aristarkhos is Orthodox, after all. If I have an Orthodox name then I might be Rus. I’m not. But I might be, and people around here have no use for Russians. I’m from Lake Ladoga, and we’re Karelian. The priest, no, the pastor, made sure I knew my catechism. I think he was more concerned about making sure I was paying my tithes.” At this both Ari and Kaapo laughed.

“Well, that’s how I got here. What’s your story?” Ari asked.

“The farm had a bad harvest. There wasn’t enough food to see us all through the winter. Sanna wanted to come work the bag line. We left my half of the farm in my brother’s care and keeping, and came here. Sanna went to work on the bag line until I got on at the mill. We were only going to stay through the winter. Now it looks like we will never go back except to visit.”

The barmaid kept the beers coming right up to the time they left for three hours. When they came back after offloading and loading a boat, she kept the beers coming until she decided they had had enough and cut them off.

The next day the two of them showed up at work with hangovers. The foreman looked at them and nodded. He pulled them off of their regular job and sent them to sand and wax bowls. It was a boring, miserable, job which was sometimes used as punishment. Or you might end up on the detail if your partner didn’t show up. But, in this case, it was easier to check on the work when it was done than to risk having someone hurt around the powered machinery.

****

The seasons changed yet again. One Saturday Kaapo said, “Sanna wants you to come to Sunday dinner tomorrow.”

“She does? Is she playing matchmaker again?” Ari asked.

“I think the word is ‘still.’ Yeah, she will have a bag girl there to balance the table. But the real reason is she’s pregnant and she wants you to stand godfather to the child.”

Ari got quiet. “Yes, I can do that.”

“Well, she wants to ask you so I didn’t tell you about it. Okay?”

“Yes.”

****

When dinner was over Ari offered to walk Anna, the bag girl friend of Sanna’s who was there to balance the table, back to the dorms.

“Well, that’s a first,” Kaapo said. “Ari never walked home with any of the other girls you set him up with. Maybe, after what—four or five tries—just maybe you got it right this time.”

“Kaapo, I gave up. Anna is completely wrong for Ari. I just invited her to dinner because she is a friend.”

“Well, it looks like he likes your friend.”

****

The next day, when the tool head bit the wood and started to eat its way to the end, Kaapo, asked Ari, “How did the walk to the dorms go?”

“Fine. We're having dinner at the diner tomorrow.”

“So you like Anna.”

“She's sweet, she's got a solid head on her shoulders. She wants a family and would like to go back to farming, just like I would. But when she stops and thinks about it, the long hours, the backbreaking work, the weather and all the other things that can go wrong, she changes her mind, just like I do. We've got it good here, Kaapo.”

“That we do, Ari. That we do.”

****

“So,” Kaapo asked, “How was dinner at the diner?”

“Anna likes pizza. So do I, but not like she does.”

“And?”

“I brought the topic of marriage up. After all, I've got a good job and better prospects. It would get us both out of the dorms. We'd have to wait to get married until more married housing is finished, but so far we're just talking about it. It seems strange talking to her about it. Back home, I knew who I was going to marry from when I first knew what marriage was. If I hadn't left when my wife died, I know exactly who I would have married next. But here I've got to ask and she might say no. It's not at all like asking her father.”

****

“Kaapo, I’ve been thinking,” Ari said one day out of the blue.

“Yeah?” Kaapo asked, only half-listening, which was pretty much the only way to work with Ari.

“Anything over a four-inch pipe they make out of a dozen wooden staves held together with iron hoops like a barrel.”

“Yes.”

“Kaapo, the sky is falling?”

“Yes.”

“Kaapo!”

The sharpness of the tone caught Kaapo’s attention. He looked up and made eye contact. “Yes?”

“You’re not listening. I said, I’ve been thinking.”

“Did it hurt?” Kaapo asked.

“No,” Ari replied, “but if I have to start this over one more time, I promise it is going to hurt you more than it hurts me. Why aren’t they boring out the six-inch pipe instead of making it out of staves and hoops?’

“Because,” Kaapo said, “if they did, it would be a ten-inch exterior diameter. No one would want to work with a log that size the same way we work the two- and four-inch pipes. You would want a block and tackle.”

“I’d do it.”

“No ordinary, sane, person would.” Kaapo said.

“You would.”

“I would? Why would I?”

“Because it would pay more?” Ari reasoned.

“Okay. But, there would be a lot of waste, boring it out to six inches. Why would they?”

“For the same reason they bore four-inch pipe instead of making it out of staves.”

“Why’s that?” Kaapo asked.

Ari shrugged. “I don’t know. Save on iron strapping maybe? Leaks less, maybe? I’ve never asked. But if it is better for four-inch, why isn’t it better for six-inch?”

“Hm.” Kaapo did not have answer. “I don’t know, either. So, write it up and put it in the suggestion box.”

“You know I can’t write,” Ari complained.

“So? Do what I did. Sign up for the classes and learn.”

“The classes are in Finnish. I mostly use the German I picked up from the aunt who raised me. My uncle brought her with him when he came back from running off to be a soldier. You write it up for us,” Ari said.

“For us? It’s your idea. Your bonus, if it works.”

“I could use the bonus to set up housekeeping with Anna. But I still can't write. If you write it up, it’s our idea.”

****

Two weeks later Ari and Kaapo were told, “If you fellows want to try running six-inch pipe through a boring machine, the company has decided to let you try, since they already have the tooling for it to run the joints.”

Ari started to ask something but the foreman cut him off. “Yes, Ari they will pay a premium.”

A week later a smiling foreman facetiously asked if they wanted to try their hand at running eight-inch pipe.

Kaapo, not realizing the man was joking, looked at the foreman, cross-eyed in disbelief.

Ari looked at the foreman and said, “I don’t think so. First, you’d have to build a special rig for it. These stays were made to hold the cradles for two- and four-inch pipes. They are too high to center an eight-inch bore. The stays which aren’t too high, aren’t set up for stock ten feet long. I don’t know if these stays would hold up to the weight and stress of boring an eight-inch bore. So if you do it, you would have to have new, special-built stays. Second, we had to get the mechanic to put a smaller drive wheel on the overhead shaft to slow things down.

“So . . . ” Ari ticked the points off on his fingers. “One, the stays won’t hold a cradle for eight-inch pipe. Two, the drive probably would not be up to it, and three, are you crazy? You must be. No sane person would want to handle twelve-inch logs at ten feet without a block and tackle. No crazy person would either. Not even Kaapo, no matter how much you paid him.”

The smiling foreman turned to Kaapo. “Does he always tell you things you already know?”

****