I spent most of last week drilling along a stretch of two-lane highway south of the little town of Oakville, Washington.
Jamestown S'Klallam Rez the little dogpatches along Highway 101 that line the west side of the Puget Sound are among the saddest and sorriest of the firstcomer gulags we've made for them to slowly die in, we white-eyes in our impartial majesty.
To give you an idea, the first day went badly - the first day of drilling usually does, but this was worse than even the usual with a bad combination of caving AND "heaving" sand and gravel. To give you a notion I've worked in this business for twenty years and have never, never encountered heaving gravel. It was awful, and we fought with it the whole day and managed to achieve a draw at best - and I suggested to the flagging crew-boss that he save time by leaving his warning signs in place and just turning them end-on to the traffic. He looked at me like I had two heads.
"Did you see that trash back up the road?" he growled, and, yes, I had noticed the little hamlet of raggedy shack-islands ringed with rust-red reefs of derelict vehicles of all varieties. "Those bastards'd have these signs gone in sixty seconds." I scoffed at the notion that anyone would be so low-rent as to steal cheap warning signs, but the flagger just repeated that the hardcases laired in those shacks would have the entire signage away to sell the five pounds of aluminum in the uprights.
So we took in the signs for the night. What a sad old world.
Anyway, that wasn't really my point for this post, since you could really care less about my work. No, it was this;
Godspodor Monuments", and stand just east of I-5 near the little town of Toledo, Washington.
According to the linked page at "Weird Washington" these gomers are the brainchild of one Dominic Godspodor, a wealthy "eccentric" (and you'll note that wealth moves you from "batshit crazy" to the more benign "eccentric"; as always, bags of money are the KY Jelly of Social Acceptability) who wanted to honor a bizarre congeries of things and people; Mother Teresa, the Native Americans (of "all tribes", according to the billboard that sits near these things), the victims of the Holocaust, the victims of drunk drivers, African-American slaves, Susan B. Anthony, Jonas Salk, William Seward, and Lewis and Clark.
The pillars you see in the picture are his tributes to the first three; don't ask me which is which, although I'm guessing that the one with the big Christ is NOT the Holocaust one or, at least, I hope so. That would be way too much like baptizing Anne Frank, or have the Mormons already gotten around to that?
I really don't know what else to say about these things, other than they're butt-ugly in a particularly up-in-your-face sort of ugly way. Every year I have passed it the site looks worse and worse; the field unmowed, the steel of the pillars rusting, the shoddy explanatory billboard sagging and faded.
While I have a certain amount of sympathy for the rich bastard's hobby, I have to wonder; would the half-million he spent on this gawdawful have been better spent building a factory of some sort on the Chehalis Rez, so some of all those tribes' modern survivors would have an honest job and a decent, living wage?
I suspect that Teresa and the Shoah victims would have been okay with that.
But regardless, there they stand; strange unattractive pillars in an empty field where the busy world rushes past them with no more than a puzzled glance.
Mind you, these things aren't exactly the oddest oddity along the I-5 corridor in Washington State; the "Uncle Sam" billboard south of Chehalis is a treat packed with wingnutty goodness.
Makes me damn glad to be home south of the Big River.