Skip to content

Fred Gaboury Trips the Light Fantastic

Fred Gaboury
Fred Gaboury covering a picketline as Labor Editor of the People’s World

Fred Gaboury, a logger I knew in my youth in Clallam County loved to dance. “Why don’t we all go out and dance?” he would invite us. “We can trip the light fantastic.” He was light on his feet even though a log rolled on one of his feet while he was working in the woods one day leaving him with a big, permanent swelling on the top of one foot. He was a topper, the most skilled. dangerous job in logging. Fred would scale to the top of a 200 foot Douglas Fir cut off the top and rig it with cables as a spar tree to drag the fallen timber to the staging area. After he left logging, he became the Labor Editor of the People’s Weekly World, as skilled with words as he was with tall trees. I worked with Fred on that paper for about ten years. He was on a first-name basis with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and many other movers and shakers in organized labor. That brings me back to “Trip the light fantastic,” one of his favorite phrases. Where did Fred come up with those words? I looked it up on Wikipedia and found that it first appeared in a Shakespeare play and in a 1645 poem, Allegro, by John Milton:

“Com, and trip it as ye go,
On the light fantastick toe.”

So there you have it. Fred was a union logger, a “Red” and also a literary scholar who liked to quote Shakespeare and Milton.

Published inPeople's World

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *