Every small community has their characters of which their fame goes before them. Francis B. Matthew was a legend in the Eureka, California area. When my husband had his new job in the Arcata, but had not yet moved there, Mike’s law school professor told Mike to look up the “Moose”. Occassionally my husband would sit in Moose's office and drink scotch.
The Moose was a lawyer from Boldt Hall in Berkley. He had many attributes, detractions, was financially successful, accussed of being a crook, he collected elegant wines, watched birds, skied, a womanizer. In fact, one day he was driving with his wife past a motel, and legend has it, she said, “Didn’t you miss your turn?”
My favorite story of all is that he had a second home over the mountains, so he drove back and forth to town regularly. On duty on that particular route was a highway patrolman who was unpleasant and banished to this stretch of road. One day the Moose was exceeding the speed limit and the highway patrolman stopped Moose and said, “Do you know the speed limit here?” Moose said, “Jesus Christ there are 10,000 highway patrolmen in the state of California, and I get stopped by the only one who does not know the speed limit”. It is reported that Moose twiddled his thumbs for the next 2 hours having the highway patrolman go through his whole car looking for vehicle violations.
Last week driving over the 299 highway in California, we come to the first Rest Stop on the road. To our surprise, we see that it is the Francis B. Matthew Rest Stop. Michael said, “I am glad to see that the California Department of Transportation has a sense of humor.