Like a long overdue term paper being finally turned in, the feeling of being done with the prep work in the kitchen for Reggae on the River, 2017, is one of great success. The crunch work is finis. Kaput. Four days into the experience, and I have yet to enjoy a whole lot of frivolity, but the good news is that I can leave my tools behind when I return to French's Camp in the A of M.
I wrote in 2015 about moving The Wolf, the mammoth stove that dwells at the Mateel Center in Garberville, to French’s Camp, and what a ridiculously crazy thing it was to do. Imagine my surprise when the first thing Bull asked me to do, was reposition this same stove, so that there was more room on the kitchen slab.
He wanted the stove to have its front feet on the slab, and for the vast majority of the stove to extend out back behind the slab, its rear feet resting on…cinder blocks? Oh, hell no, Bull! That means I have to dig into the packed soil, the depth of the cinder block, before we could consider moving the stove.
I looked at the four gigantic-compared-to-me dudes, awaiting the instructions to hoist that stove. I turned to Bull, and said, rather more enthusiastically than was probably necessary, “You mean I don’t have to move the stove by myself?” And no, that was not a reference to the fact that I manhandled that oven into its new cabinet, only last Thursday.
I turned back to the four guys, bowed slightly in all seriousness, and thanked them for being there. “Can you guys go hydrate for exactly fifteen minutes, and I will have this ready to move. And thank you again!”
Why would I use cinder block, when I knew there was a chunk of 2 x 6 left over from Monday’s tasks? I lopped the 8 foot length in half, got out my claw hammer, in lieu of a pick, and lightly hewed off a couple of inches of dirt from the right side of the area where the back of the stove would rest. I shifted the dirt to the left to even matters out, and then worked the soil briefly to remove all rocks, pebbles or anything that could cause a bump.
I slapped one of those 2 x 6 chunks, into the mini excavation, and checked the torpedo level for a look-see. Matters were looking grand, but I wanted both those chunks of 2 x 6, one on top of the other, because 500 pounds of stove earns a lot of respect. I did some more dirt rearranging.
Within the fifteen minutes I had promised, I had the base for the back feet of the stove in place. I sallied forth to build a gate, with no materials, by the way, before the large lads returned to finish the job. Later when I came back to check the results, I took one look at the repositioned Wolf, and had second thoughts.
Searching around the immediate area for my little level, I cringed while setting it on the top of the stove, and I flinched when I saw the result. 500 pounds will make an impression on the newly stirred up dirt, especially sans stones, rocks and pebbles.
The level doesn’t lie and the truth was, the bubble was missing in action, probably out back with a little pipe and, well, the 2 x 6’s had sunk maybe a quarter inch or so into the ground. To the eye, all was good, but the front of the stove was a fraction higher than the back. If a chef filled the bottom of a large skillet with oil, the surface would not be level.
Heavens to Mergatroid! We could not have that. I went in search of Mikey, a personality who dazzles me regularly with his humor and wit. He has the most engaging smile of anyone on site, and he’s one of the head honchos. I dragged him over to the big iron, and explained what was going on.
Could he tell me who was going to be cooking on this particular stove? Indeed, he could, and he brought over a dude who was a guest chef. When I explained, he said the stove was good the way it was, because he had no plans to be cooking with large quantities of oil. I was done.
I built the gate, spent quite a bit of time leveling the metal steps leading up to the cold storage truck, steps that got much use, and then when I was least expecting it, because I was not expecting it at all, Bull presented me with a laminated card that reads simply, “Event Staff.”
I had made the grade: my own lami.
Tomorrow: Something actually from the festival itself, perhaps?