1. TRICK OR TREAT: October 1967
It has been removed
from its own garden.... It is too far away.... We are its garden. Let
it work here. FLORENCE SHAUGHNESSY
Tomorrow was Halloween. Among the green-black vegetation coating the hillsides above Requa, vine-maple flamed a brilliant gold, wild grape a fiery orange. The dry blue clay soil waited for winter rains. While below Florence Shaughnessy’s two front windows, her prize dahlias glowed in the autumn sunshine, like rows of miniature red, orange and yellow pumpkins.
In the coming three days certain of my long held questions would be answered. But on the first and the last day there would be a ‘trick or treat’ of minor yet portentous import. And Oregos, the bulky sixty-foot-tall rock tower at the mouth of the Kiamath River, sacred to local Indians, would be central to everything that happened.
Early on the morning of October 30 1967, I left my room on the second floor of the Requa Inn, crossed Requa Road, opened the Gensaw’s wood gate, descended the path and knocked on Florence’s front door.
Opening it, she stood in the doorway, her slender figure unmoving, yet her eyes sending out a patently worried message.
I invited her on a tour of the lower Klamath country, where she had always lived except for two years working in San Francisco. At that her countenance brightened. I explained that first I had to return Mrs. Roberts’ 19 18 Diary. The elderly curator wanted to show it to a visiting anthropologist named Arnold Pilling. So we made a date for tomorrow morning. But Florence didn’t turn to go inside. I waited. Finally she whispered:
“They’re blasting out at Windy Point.” Her words were barely audible.
“My God, what for?” I gasped.
“Larson’s selling rock for the new freeway dike. They’re blasting way too close to Oregos.”