Boring Stories of the Past & Sometimes Present

If you were, or are a resident of the Boring area, you now have a place to add some of your stories of our Boring area. If you have a story you are are invited to contact our story editor by email, or submit it below as a comment. Please include some contact information so that we can contact you regarding your Boring story.

Our first submission is from a past resident, Frank Ryan, who grew up in Boring:

Dirty Dishes!

By Frank F. Ryan

As I wandered down the dirt road from our house to Jay’s Tavern I kicked a couple rocks and dreamed about the trout I was gonna catch on my next trip up the White Salmon. I had read Mark Twain’s book, Tom Sawyer, and I often thought I was living the same type of life with a town full of weird and interesting characters.

I walked into Jays, my old mans place, which was right on the main street in town. It was 1949 and we had a hometown bar and grill with a restaurant that served town mill workers from the local employer Valberg’s Lumber Mill. We served locals and families until night. Kids weren’t allowed after dinner hours or after 7:30 pm. Dad was real firm on patrons taking care of their kids and not squandering the pay check at the bar. Some would have if he let them.

Like all kids I wanted money for pop and candy and so I thought, “Wow, if I get those dishes that are stacking up in the sink done maybe Dad will pay me and I can go get some candy!’ It was very busy so I pitched in and got them done.

I didn’t say a word to anyone. I just walked up to the sink, dug out the dish soap, got a dish rag and started washing the glasses and dishes. I knew how as I had seen mom wash dishes and studied the moves so I knew what to do. The old man was amazed!

I still remember the smell of beer, tobacco and food wafting in the air. The taverns of the day had an aroma you seldom sense these days with air conditioning and newer comforts we all consider necessary. These days it amazes me how much comfort we didn’t have in those days, and yet we were happy.

The restaurant did a land office business most days of the week and even on Sunday. The reason was the great hamburgers and fresh home made apple and fruit pies, and the fabulous deli sandwiches that mom concocted. Customers loved those “Dagwood” sandwiches and the many variations mom did with bread and fixins. She would make a sandwich for herself and somebody would say “Hey would you fix me one like that, and then she would make another and another, and sometimes would never get one for herself. Evenings found folks gathering for the roast beef or turkey dinners and those great pies that my grandmother Agnes would fix. But that is another story.

Any way I got in and did those dishes! The old man rubbed his hands together and said, “Frankie I want you to do some things for me and if you do a good job,
I will give you a roll of quarters to play the Bear goes around the Mountain slot
machine and the One armed bandit!”

Later I figured out I could keep some of the quarters and buy candy. Then Dad caught wind of my new found wealth and started paying me by the job, for cleaning the spittoons and dusting the card tables and pool tables. That is the beginning of a long career working for the man. Dad that is! It all started in Boring Oregon, and I later worked for Dad in numerous businesses, over 25 years that he was in various business ventures.

Frank Ryan is in his mid 60s and lives  now in the Portland Area.  He works for a publishing company. His web site is


About Norm Rice

Works full time as a Realtor serving the Boring area as well as the Portland metro Area.
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