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Dave Herder presented me with his old farm hat that was part of his trademark "Have Mules, Will Travel," project.
Photo by Oscar Roloff

They completed the circle

  By Oscar Roloff
   Nearly a half century ago a young Duvall couple ran away to be married at the home of a shirt-tail relative (Rev. Bill Amos) down the road from Gene Mack's store. Here the knot was tied and stayed tied. An enviable record of love. It was then back to Duvall for Dave and Diane Harder.
   Over 2 decades ago, I met Dave and have since written many features about him. He was 'good' copy and a nice, enviable fellow. I recall the second article I wrote about him. It was 'slugged' "Dave Herder." He only winced. But earlier I think he used to herd sheep.
   He knew everyone in Duvall and steered many an article to me. Regarding the big sale of his huge spread of a farm and "Have Mules, will Travel," it all went, Dave told me when we stood at the now quiet farm.
   "We didn't stay to watch our 'home' and farm being auctioned off. It would have been too sad," Dave told me and added, "The only thing left is my dog, Charlie, and this old hat I've worn for years. It's my trademark. The auctioneer would not accept a bid for it." Dave took off that old hat, handed it to me and said, "Oscar, in honor of your writing nice things about the Duvall people and me too, I'm giving this old hat to you." What a pleasant surprise. Brought a tear.
   When I got home I took off the old farm hat and dusted it. Farm soil wafted. Inside the sweaty hat band a corn kernel was ready to sprout. Inside the hat a spider was weaving its web. Just like old-home week when I was on the farm. That's OK. I know he really loved that old hat, and I'll treasure it, spider and all.
   Dave kept a mule, maybe another critter and a wagon. I don't think he'll give up his mules. They're probably at his double-wide home down the back of Mack's Store where he and his wife were married nearly 50 years ago. He still has two parcels of property in Duvall. They are currently being rented, and eventually they'll increase in value.
   Dave laughed. "Years ago I bought two old white painted outside lights from Jim McAuliffe at Hollywood School. At the auction he bought them for a high price, not knowing I had earlier bought them for a small sum. Wait till he realizes it,"
   Guess who handled the sale of Dave's property? Bill Bain Realty, also a friend of mine, now deceased. He was a member of Seattle's Last Man's Club of World War 1. As a special guest, he and I ( and others, of course) used to sit around and sing old war songs. What fun, being off key, laughing and singing. Anyhow, good-bye Dave Herder.