Company Ranch

Yesterday we went out to Company Ranch, which I believe used to be Union Lumber property. (Union Lumber tended to not be very creative: Company Ranch, Company Store, Company Street.) To get to Company Ranch you drive out an undisclosed road for awhile and then you are there. It’s quiet and warm, usually, a few sleepy houses next to railroad tracks. I think that someday perhaps I would like to live there, out in the middle of the woods, hanging my mail on a pole for the train to pick up. It feels like life would be very simple there.

railroad tracks

We walked out the train tracks for about a mile, and crossed a long bridge. Down the other side was a path which we followed to the banks of a river, which ran swift and deep in parts around the bridge. We spread out towels on the shore and scattered our clothing, sinking into the pillowy sand. We roasted in the warm sun, turning over now and then and not saying much, letting the outdoors enfold us in serenity.

Finally, I couldn’t bear the heat any more and I sprung from my towel and dived into the refreshing water, surfacing to holler vigorously before diving under again. We alternated this baking and dunking for a few hours.

At one point, the track service people came out in their nifty van and trundled across the bridge while we looked lazily up. The driver got all the way to the end of the bridge and then, in a classic double take, he reversed the van back along the tracks so that we was above us.

“Hey there,” I said. “How’s it going.”

“Well I’ll be damned,” he said, throwing the truck back in gear and continuing on his way.

“Have a good day!” we cried as he left.

He looked kinda cute, but my glasses were pretty dark so I’m not sure.

When I was a kid, we used to spend hours at Company Ranch swimming, and we’d moon the train when it came. Sometimes we dressed up like Indians, or crowned ourselves in flowers. Sometimes we were just naked, lying lazily on the beach while the tourists trundled by. We always packed lemonade and apples, I remember, throwing the cores in the river to be borne away. I used to sprawl on the shore with a book, lazily coating myself in mud.

We waited awhile for the train, but it didn’t come and it was getting chilly, so we reluctantly packed up to go home, drunk on swimming and sun and summer love.

pudding creek