River in Canyon

River in Canyon
River in Canyon

Poem by Coyote @CoyoteSing

down a dirt road
I barely remember
how deep I must go
into this canyon
to find the river

Poem shared courtesy
of @CoyoteSing

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Three Rivers & Three Men Named John Mason

You've all been very kind and patient sitting here listening to me as I go on about this lovely place and the people who worked and lived here!  I hope you won't mind if I segue a bit because today is a day that makes me think of this river and two other rivers.  My family is tied to this place as much as every other person who ever worked and / or lived here.  In that respect this next story definitely fits in.

Today is December 10th.  On this day in 1975 my grandfather John Mason drowned in the Trask River in Oregon while fishing.  This is a picture of him fishing in that same river.

He was truly doing what he loved.  My Mason family came from a fishing village in County Down, Northern Ireland and they loved to fish.  Those of us left still do - although it's surprising how many of us don't eat fish.  Yes, you can laugh.  We just like to catch them and a lot of us like to let them go back to the water.  

Back to my grandfather.... if it had been 4 days later it would have been exactly 20 years since my dad had drowned in the overflow of the Tualitin River in Oregon.  He was duck hunting with his friend.  It happened to be the day his second wife and newborn son came home from the hospital. Why he made that choice is anyone's guess.  The boat overturned.  My dad made it to shore and was able to leave his wallet and shoes and then he went back in the water.  He went back for his friend.  In my mind my dad died a hero trying to save his friend.  It was an unsuccessful attempt and both lost their lives.  

My grandfather had been born in Ireland.  He came as a child with his mother to join his father here in America.  They had moved from Pueblo to here at River Portal.  My grandfather spent a few of his childhood years here.  They had a school and I'm sure he was in it.  I'm sure he played in this very area where we're sitting.  His dad was a driller on the tunnel that would literally change the landscape of the Uncompaghre Valley.  The tunnel would help turn barren land into rich productive green land. My great grandfather John Mason helped tame a river.  The next two John Mason men in the line wouldn't be so fortunate.  My grandfather came from Ireland to America and ended up losing his life in a river.  My dad - John Mason - had preceded him in death - drowning in yet another river.  Three men named John Mason and three rivers.  The impact of those men and those rivers on my life and the lives of others has been tremendous.  Life is strange.    

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