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Grace House resident keeps on trucking

by: PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY FLYNN PHILLIPS - Howard McMichael, the former mayor of Antelope, displays a scale truck model that took him 10 months to build.Howard McMichael would like you to know that the intricately crafted model truck displayed in his residence is not for sale.

“If I was medically better, I’d make a dozen more of those (trucks). People really like them,” McMichael said.

McMichael is an 83-year-old resident of Grace House, a senior living community in Estacada.

When Flynn Phillips, residence director, asked McMichael about the truck model in his room, McMichael told him of his lifelong love of woodworking.

McMichael built at least five scale models of truck tractors and trailers. Each project took at least 10 months to complete.

Though McMichael gave the other models to his sons and others, he’s kept one in a place of honor in his room. It is displayed on shelves he built himself.

McMichael told Phillips that “he wanted to do this story for his family in hopes that one day far in the future his truck will be featured on Antiques Road Show.”

Though McMichael has difficulty speaking at length, it’s easy to see he’s led a long and fascinating life.

He was once the mayor of Antelope, the tiny town in Wasco County made famous by the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers in the 1980s.

McMichael speaks fondly of befriending deer by leaving treats for them on his back porch. Framed photographs of the deer cover McMichael’s room.

“Howard loves to talk about those days gone by and reminisce about his woodworking workshop,” Phillips wrote. “He can no longer safely operate those power tools but, there’s not a day gone by that he doesn’t think about it.”



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