Winter Insulator Hunt. Part 2.

Greetings everyone! Steve here from Steve’s Country, back at the Campfire to continue my true story from last week. If you missed that one, my Dad and I used to collect insulators which are those glass and porcelain things that hold wires that were used for phone, hydro and telegraph. We were after mainly the old telegraph insulators. Normally we “hunted” for these things in the warmer weather of spring and fall, but this time we were out in January, when it was cold and the snow was deep.

But we were doing well and finding some nice insulators. I wish I had pictures from back then, but at that time we had no camera and it was before the days of our modern cell phones. The telegraph lines followed the railroads through our area and each pole had 5 crossarms of insulators used to hold the telegraph wires. The bottom crossarm had no wires, but the insulators were still in place and we had permission to remove them. But reaching them was often a problem.

The middle insulator was used for telegraph, the other two were for telephone wires.

That led to our winter “hunt”, the snow was deep and wearing snowshoes raised us up enough to reach some of those insulators. However, we did encounter some problems along the way. We had just fallen into the deep snow at one pole, but we still got the insulators. So we went on to the next pole which was shorter, so reaching the insulators was much easier. Dad bent over and I stood on his back, took the insulators off and dropped them down to Dad.

It worked great…mostly. We then went to the next pole which was a bit taller, but standing on Dad’s back I was still able to reach the insulators. There was a nice light purple one which I tossed down to Dad. He caught it easily. Now, normally he would put the insulator on his snowshoe until all the insulators were down. But this time he was admiring the purple insulator when I tossed down the next insulator, which was a more common aqua color.

3 different Canadian Pacific Railway insulators used for telegraph wires.

It landed right on the purple insulator, smashing it to pieces. The aqua insulator was not damaged at all. “You broke it!”, I called down to Dad. “Bonehead!”, was all that Dad said. Good thing he had his gloves on anyway. But we lost a nice insulator. On to the next pole which looked like it would be the last of the short poles for a while. Dad had to stand up for this one and I stood on his shoulders this time. But it worked nicely.

Then we decided to have our coffee and a sandwich. We went and sat on some rocks under a big pine tree. “Toss my coffee over,” said Dad. That’s what he said, so I did. Right at that moment Dad bent over to tighten the strap on his snowshoe. Thunk! The thermos hit Dad on the head. He groaned. “Good thing you’re wearing a hat,” I said, “you always manage to hurt yourself.” “Only when you’re with me,” he answered. I’m not sure what he meant by that.

The two on the right and left were used here for telegraph wires, but were also used for light electrical wires. The one in the middle was for telephone.

“Toss my sandwich over, but not high,” he said. I was sure he said to toss it high, though I did not know why he wanted it tossed high, but I did so. Dad was just pouring a cup of coffee and he jumped up quickly to catch his sandwich, but missed, and he spilled his coffee in the snow. He sighed quite loudly, something he did a lot when we were together. Then he went to get his sandwich, but as he turned around his snowshoe hit his thermos over into the snow.

He quickly bent over to grab it and fell into the deep snow again. I went over to him. “Need some help?”, I asked. “No, I like lying in the deep snow,” he answered. I had to get closer to help him get up and my snowshoe kicked snow all over his face. He frantically removed the snow. Then I grabbed his arm to try and help him get up, but Dad was a lot bigger than me and he pulled me down on top of him.

My knee went into his stomach and he groaned very loud and frantically brushed snow away from his face again. I then took his snowshoes off so he could get up more easily. I got his sandwich while he retrieved his thermos, which was now empty. “Not a drop left,” he said, “I’ll try some of yours.” “Mine has no sugar or milk,” I said. Dad just looked at me and said, “forget it.”

The one on the left was made in the US and used for hydro wires, the one in the middle, called “ginger bread boy” by collectors is from France, the blue one on the right is from Russia.

“This was your idea remember,” I said. “A momentary lapse of sanity,” he answered. The way back to the car was uneventful, which Dad was thankful for, he did not want to end up in the deep snow again that day. Surprisingly though, we did go out again another time and oh my, the things that happened to us! Well, I do hope you enjoyed our little adventure, thank you so much for reading. Have a wonderful day everyone and God bless!

Steve. ©2022 Steve McLeod.

Author: stevescountry

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