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  • Ednold

Siuslaw 4/9/21

Updated: Apr 15, 2021


For the final week of our weinerpus football season I had chosen to make the trip to Mapleton. Located in Lane County about 15 miles up the Siuslaw River from Florence, Mapleton is a small town with a small football team. We could have taken the main road between Eugene and the coast, highway 126 through Walton, but the “shortcut” through the mountains, highway 36, which runs generally parallel to 126, goes through Greenleaf, and Deadwood, Swisshome, Rainrock and Brickerville. Who could resist names like that? So, we got on 36 in Cheshire, just north of Fern Ridge Reservoir, and headed west into the Coast Range.


It’s a scenic, winding road through the hills and seeing those Route 36 signs along the way got me humming, and before long Mrs. Ednold and I were putting some new words to the tune of (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66. It’s pretty easy to just replace the place names and, though it’s probably not something anyone else would want to hear, it kept us entertained for a while.


There are worse ways to kill some spare time than listening to all of the different versions of that song that have been recorded over the past 75 years. Nat King Cole did the definitive version soon after it was written, but it’s also been done by Perry Como, and Chuck Berry. Bing Crosby sang it with the Andrews Sisters. The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, Ray Charles, and dozens of others have recorded it. It lends itself to just about any genre so everyone takes a stab at it. They are probably all better than we sounded in The Bucket, but there are some that are pretty bad.


The worst recording of all may have been done by the guy who wrote the song, Bobby Troup. But so what if he couldn’t sing? He made piles of money from the royalties of that song and many others, then he married the ex-wife of the Dragnet guy, Jack Webb, and Jack thanked him by giving them both starring roles in another show he produced, Emergency!. Bobby and wife Julie London acted side-by-side together for six seasons during the 70s without me ever knowing that that big doofus doctor guy was the one who’d written Route 66. Or Route 36, as I will think of it from now on.

By the end of our duet we had arrived in Mapleton and took a short drive around the town. That’s the only kind of drive you can take around Mapleton. Not seeing any Roadhouses in town we stopped at what appeared to be our only dining option, Frank’s Place. From the outside it looked a little rough and I was prepared for a brawl as we entered, but the waitress and the bartender and even the patrons all turned out to be very nice. Not that I couldn’t have taken them all on if I’d needed to, of course, but I was glad it didn’t come to that. The food and the service were both excellent, and when the time came to head to the game we were both stuffed.


We parked The Bucket among the other cars at the school and were making our way toward the field when we were greeted by a lady with a clipboard and I knew that wasn’t a good sign.


“Can I have your name please?”


“I don’t think our names are on your list.”


“I’m so sorry, but I can’t allow you to watch the game if you aren’t on the list.”


“There are probably five acres of open land outside the field where we could sit and watch the game without coming near anyone, but if we aren’t on your list we can’t watch?”


“I’m so sorry. Those are the rules.”


I suppose there is something admirable in someone being given a task and not letting any amount of common sense come between them and the successful completion of their mission. I’m sure that in some situations people like that can be very useful. But I was still just about to put the curse of Ednold on her and the entire Mapleton football team when Mrs. Ednold reminded me that it was Senior Night for the players. This would be their final opportunity to play in front of their fans and it wouldn’t be right to ruin it for them. So I didn’t do it, and I hope they appreciate Mrs. Ednold’s thoughtfulness.

The south (home) grandstand

We had prepared for this possibility, so it was a short drive down 126 to Florence to watch the Siuslaw Vikings take on the Sutherlin Bulldogs on what was their own Senior Night. In fact, I was a little excited to visit the only town with a city park named Exploding Whale Memorial Park. We didn't take time to visit the park but we took a short, somber moment to remember all that flying blubber. There is no agreed-upon origin of the name Florence for the town, so I can't tell you where that came from, but it's a typical coastal town of over 8,000 people in an area a couple of miles long and just a few blocks wide.


The football field is actually at the middle school, but the middle school is right next to the high school so it's not too confusing. When we arrived, Siuslaw had their own lady waiting for us with her own clipboard and her own list of names and, not too surprisingly, Ednold wasn’t on her list either. But that wasn’t a problem. There were lots of others in the same boat and many in that boat had formed their own little leper colony outside the fence on the northwest corner of the field. Siuslaw does have two very nice covered grandstands on either side of the field with plenty of aluminum seating for both home and away fans. But from our spot on the grass outside the fence that surrounds the rubber asphalt track around the field, we were actually closer and more comfortable and safer and warmer than any of the people whose names were on the clipboard, so everything turned out just fine. Unless you were a Bulldog.

North (away) grandstand

Siuslaw is a 4A school, but their football team competes at the 3A level. The OSAA has made special arrangements for schools that, for one reason or another, find it hard to compete in their own classification. So, instead of playing against Marshfield and Marist and Cottage Grove at the 4A level, the Vikings compete in the northern division of 3A Special District 2 against teams like Pleasant Hill and Harrisburg. They came into this game against non-league opponent Sutherlin with a 2-3 record. Sutherlin was 2-1.


Sutherlin did manage 12 points in the first quarter, but they couldn’t stop the Viking offense and trailed 39-12 at halftime. I was rooting, as usual, for the home team but you probably won’t ever find me rooting for Siuslaw again. Even up 54-12 in the closing minutes they had their starters on the field running a no-huddle offense to try to score again. Really? You can’t win a game in your own classification but you’ll run up the score against a team that really is a 3A school? Nice! What’s wrong with people?


On the positive side, the lopsided score did result in the clock mercifully running continuously for the entire fourth quarter, sparing the Bulldogs further embarrassment. It wasn’t a super-cold night but at a football field just a few blocks from the beach you can imagine the breeze and the chill, so we weren’t complaining either about the running clock that made it possible for us to get back on the road a little sooner, expediting the abrupt end of this crazy playoff-less weinerpus football season. We took highway 126 home, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make it work with the Route 66 tune. If you ever plan to motor that road maybe you can do better.


And hey, Mapleton: You can thank us later. Perrydale lost their final two games by a total score of 96-26 after they kicked us out. And we let you off the hook to win by 28 points this weekend. I hope you understand how differently things could have worked out if Mrs. Ednold wasn’t such a softie.


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