In 1951 the Observer ran a sort of gossip column called "Splashings From The Nahcotta Dock." Its oysterman/author used the pen-name "Scuttle Butt," and most likely everybody read it. Scuttle Butt loved his community and he had a way with words; his column made for an interesting year.
"Have you ever had one of those days when you'd been better off staying in bed? Thursday was such a day for Dean Wallace, Wiegardt's bed foreman. The long string of scows he was towing tangled up like a bevy of fighting sled dogs. Then the main tow line fouled up in the wheel, chewing it up into paint brush bristles. One scow filled with water and the next scow in line submerged it by climbing aboard the tow bits. Lee Wiegardt shook his head, and Dean's cigar went out. What a day."
- Feb. 2, 1951
"We attended the Lincoln Day dinner at the Seaview community hall Saturday night, the tenth. Special credit goes to the ladies who fixed and served the dinner. It always amazes me how so many people can be served hot food in a matter of three minutes.
"A badge of courage should be given to Lesa Wiegardt (Dobby's wife) for her effort in getting melody out of a rain-soaked piano. She played harmony with one hand and lifted keys back into position with the other ...
"The dullest part of the whole evening, and I'm sure that almost everyone agrees, was Represent-ative Ball's address. The man has striking appearance. Tall, well qualified as a lawmaker, but his delivery of 'The Life And Time Of Abraham Lincoln' had the forcefulness of a junior valedictorian on world crises. (There must have been a democrat in the house.)"
- Feb. 16, 1951
"Wild horses are down out of the hills in Oysterville. Lucille Freshley was in on the roundup, stalking a sleek little bay mare with a couple of wrinkled apples and a length of wet rope, while her husband Ed screamed orders out of the car window on how to lasso a scared horse. He couldn't help her ... no hat."
- Feb. 16, 1951
"Doc Watson's cleaning up Art's Tavern, using Wee Watson's Wonder Working Window Washer. Some of the foggier customers congratulated him on putting windows in."
- Feb. 23, 1951
"A sight for the local folks to see is the unloading of [an oyster seed freighter from Japan] such as began at 8:00 Tuesday morning. Although the whole operation looks like a madhouse of confusion from the dock, it is really a very orderly operation. Each oysterman's receiving equipment is in place. The cases are swung over the side. Crews stack them in place. Before the day is finished most of the seed will be in place on the oyster beds, the longshoremen will have stowed the rigging, left the ship, and once more the India Mail will be on her way to strange ports for equally strange cargoes. All that remains is an empty loneliness, like the day after a circus."
- March 30, 1951
"Alan Westphal dropped in with a monster of a starfish from the Fireside area of the bay. The huge thing measured 19 inches across the legs. Al commented that even though Coast's oysters were off their feed and weren't doing too well, they did know how to raise lovely starfish. Too bad - no market."
- June 22, 1951
"Hank Sentz, his wife, Halley, and their son were down to the bay area last week visiting and looking over oyster ground. Like a lot of other fellows, I remember Hank as being one of the best bosses I ever worked for. Hank saw much of the other side of life, high climbing in logging camps, and rubbing shoulders with the little guys who turn the wheels of industry. He's been there himself. I guess that's what made him a good boss.
"Not too long ago some of the oystermen thought it was a breach of ethics to pay a man over $200 a month regardless of how much work he turned out. Hank almost staggered the industry at that time by paying some of his bushelers $400 a payday on a piece work basis, and he never batted an eye when he paid his boys off. As Hank put it, 'Anytime a fellow can hit that mud and make himself 400 bucks, he's making money for Hank Sentz.'
"He not only treated his workers fairly, but at the end of the work season he threw a big party for them."
- June 29, 1951
"The bitter truth will out. During the mad rush of dumping shell into the bay well ahead of the anticipated oyster set, one of the loaders was clearing the way through the parked cars on the end of the dock. Cal Olsen's Chevy seemed out of line and the guy, in a nice pleasant way said, 'Get your ?--!--- car out of the way.'
"This send-off bothered Cal who, for as long as anyone can remember, is a pretty even-tempered fellow. 'If I remember right,' said Cal, 'your boss did not put a nickel into the fixing of this dock. Why in H--- don't you move your dredge.' Cal moved his car, but the yacking went on.
"The truck driver pulled around in a fit of temper, tipped up the dump box and let the whole load go, right on top of the dredge roof.
"Cal looked over the side and says, 'Yaasss - uh huh, put the next load right in the same place. Sorta heap her up. I'll move my car farther over so you can find the same spot.'"
- Aug. 10, 1951
Scuttle Butt's last story here has to do with the famous mucky bottom of Willapa Bay; it is so sticky in places that at least one oyster professional wore a brace for years because he wrecked his knee trying to get out of the mud's clutch:
"Art Nelson told me about roaming around the Stackpole flats the other day and finding a hat floating in the shallow water. He picked the hat up and to his complete amazement there was a man's head under it. Art didn't know whether to call the Coast Guard or the sheriff until the fellow managed to get his head above the mud.
" 'Great gawd,' cried Art, 'let me help you.'
" 'It's alright,' the fellow said, 'I'll make it ... I'm on a horse.'"
- April 27, 1951