The Fingermatic (revealing family secrets)

It was a dark and stormy night….

Well, it is.  But, that’s not the story I’m going to share.  And, my story is not about the cat.  I just thought I would post that cute picture.  No, this story is inspired by the mandoline that I bought cleeeeaaaarrrr back in the Spring.  When I posted about the mandoline my Mom commented that she always thought it was a fingermatic.  It’s time to tell you the story of the fingermatic.

When I was a kid our vacations were camping trips.  Mostly in Central Oregon. Usually with my Great Uncle Bud, his wife and their two kids.  Their kids, a girl and a boy, are very close in age to my brother and I.

Our camping trips were….epic.  The parents have, in most circumstances, an aversion to campgrounds.  That, coupled with the fact that my Uncle and Dad knew about every gravel round in Central Oregon, mean that we camped in the middle of nowhere.  And the middle of everywhere.  They dragged travel trailers up gravel roads that, in some circumstances, were likely not intended for travel trailers.  We were often miles from the nearest town.  And I use the word “town” loosely.  We camped amidst Ponderosa pine, often near a stream.  Now, you may have in your mind a picture of a very rustic camp set-up.  Quash that image.  Set-up of camp took time.  There were awnings to be unrolled, and huge pieces of felt to be unfolded, covering much of the dust immediately outside the trailers. Generators had to be unpacked and camp tables and cook stoves to set up.  At one point there was a festive string of M&M lights strung up along our awning, where they glowed brightly at night when the generator was running.  There were bug zappers and bbq grills and lawn chairs.  Camping was an experience.   And my Dad and Uncle Bud were…idiots?  That’s a good description.  Stated with great affection.

Today I would like to share one Dad and Uncle Bud story.  Pulled out of the volumes.

A camp with four kids in it means a lot of laundry and food consumption.  A camp with four adults means a lot of alcohol consumption.  It was not unusual for us to go camping for a week or more.  About midway through the vacation we would all load up and “go to town.”  Going to town was a big deal.  Yes, it meant that we had to endure the boredom of hanging out at the laundromat while the Mom’s did laundry.  But, it also meant a trip to the store, which usually involved an ice cream bar or some other treat.

On the particular trip in question the nearest town of size was Prineville.  That was big time, considering that, on other trips, the nearest town was Mitchell or Dayville or Paisley (home of the annual Mosquito Festival).  So, we all loaded up and headed to Prineville.  I don’t remember the details of the shopping or laundry that day.  I do remember that there was a large garage sale in a parking lot.  And that it was getting late in the day, so the sellers were offering a bag sale.  All you can cram into one paper bag for a set price.  And Dad and Uncle Bud went shopping.  There are only two treasures that I remember from that day:  the hard plastic safari hat, and the mandoline.  For some reason the safari hat was hilarious to them.  One of them would put it on and they would say things like, “I safari you…do you safari me?”  Still don’t get it.

They toted all of their treasures back to camp and the mandoline was put to use within the next day or so.  Or maybe it was even that same night.  But, you must remember, we had been to town.  And the beers and been restocked.  Now, the packaging on my mandoline did not include a warning to avoid use after drinking. Apparently Dad’s injury was never reported.  I remember that he was trying out the new mandoline in the trailer.  I remember hearing that he had wounded himself.  And I believe, based upon reports, that there was quite a bit of blood.  I was a kid immune to the antics of Dad and Uncle Bud.  What I do remember, quite vividly, was that that was the “solo flight” for the mandoline.  And that it was quickly dubbed The Fingermatic.  I don’t know that my Dad has ever used a mandoline since.

My Uncle Bud passed away way too many years ago.  I still miss him.  I so wish that the husband had gotten to meet him. Instead, all I can do is tell him Uncle Bud stories.  Usually when we’re sitting next to our own campfire.

8 thoughts on “The Fingermatic (revealing family secrets)

      1. Bogwon (dad) wishes to tell the rest of the story…It was a sunny day and my Birthday Sofari good ? Bud and I needed more beer for the remaining camping trip. So we loaded everyone up and away we did go Sofari good. Mom’s doing laundry Children bugging Mom’s and guess what Bud and I saw a garage sale. Bud said “come on Bogwon lets go shopping” (the name Bogwon is another story) oh ya lots of good stuff at this sale and its almost their closing time. The proprietor said “grab a bag and fill it up for $1.00. Now let me tell you Ole Bud and I can pack a lot of STUFF in bags. My finding a Safari Hat Sofari good so good and yes that wonderful Fingermatic. Since it was my Birthday I wanted to make thin sliced fried TATERS. Bud made a great find an ole camera (not sure if worked) and lots of other STUFF. Back to camp and more beer consumed. SOOOOO I started to slice TATERS oh ya they were nice and thin and oops hey this fingermatic has removed a slice of my finger. Not to worry Bud told me to wrap it and hold my hand up and have another beer. I no longer have that fingermatic. I miss Bud and the good times we had.


  1. My parents instilled a great leisure ethic in me and my brothers. We went camping for two weeks every year to Yosemite, more specifically, Tuolumne Meadows, far from everything. We camped in tents and trailers, slept in the van, chased bears out of trash cans, froze to death, swatted mosquitos and had a fabulous time. Your memories are precious!


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