MILLINOCKET, Maine — If there’s anything about Pelletier Loggers Family Restaurant Bar and Grill that Eldon Pelletier wants you to remember, it’s the truck cab that has been hanging from the facade off the restaurant’s second-story porch since October.
A symbol of the Pelletier family’s success as family men, loggers, businessmen and stars of the Discover Channel’s “American Loggers,” the now-ornamental Mack was the truck with which Pelletier’s father formed Gerald Pelletier Inc. in 1976, Eldon Pelletier said Friday.
But workers at a rival family-owned logging firm, Robin Crawford & Son Inc. of Lincoln, thought the display lacked a certain charisma. It needed, they felt, a dash of color, a bit more chemistry, and perhaps just a touch of charm.
So when Pelletier arrived at his new but as yet unopened restaurant on Thursday, he found a large, bright letter C — as in Crawford — hanging from the Mack’s grill, just like the ornament that most of the Crawford company’s trucks carry. The pranksters, who attached the letter, had even provided a battery to power a set of small orange lights ringing the letter.
“We had to put that on there,” said Robin Crawford Jr., whom everybody calls Grog, “so that he might know what ‘class’ means, but he still hasn’t figured it out.”
Though they easily could be serious rivals in what is often a competitive business, the Pelletiers and Crawfords actually are close friends who have enjoyed decades of rivalry and good-natured ribbing.
The companies help each other manage their traffic on the Golden Road and even exchange needed parts when equipment breaks down, according to Lisa Pelletier, wife of Eldon’s brother Rudy Pelletier.
“We are going on a cruise together this year,” Lisa Pelletier said, referring to herself, her husband, Robin Crawford and his wife. The men “go snowmobiling together all the time. They are always teasing each other.”
“I finally got enough money to go,” Crawford said of the cruise. “These guys have enough money to go on a cruise. They buy boats. The best I can do is maybe rent one for a week.”
Referring to the Mack cab prank, Eldon Pelletier said, “We knew where it came from immediately. I knew Grog didn’t do it himself. He’d pay somebody to do it. He couldn’t climb a ladder that high.”
And just in case the author of the prank wasn’t completely clear, later Thursday Crawford texted Pelletier a message: “Do you have a battery I can borrow?”
“They’re really gonna get it,” Eldon Pelletier said.
The idea for the prank arose the same week the truck cab became part of the restaurant, said Bob Crawford, Robin’s father. Crawford workers Keith Stratton and Brian Lary, both of Chester, talked about putting the C on the truck and Bob Crawford said he immediately offered $100 to anyone who would do it.
Not wanting to set off a prankster war, at least four Crawford workers passed on the idea until Bobby Briggs of Linneus and his son Ben Briggs of Millinocket displayed what Bob Crawford called the guts of a Brahma bull, although Bob Crawford didn’t use the word “guts.”
The elder Briggs hung the ornament on the truck and several Crawford workers took pictures and video, Bobby Briggs said.
The Pelletiers removed the C the same day and stored it in the basement of the restaurant.
“They’re not getting it back,” Eldon Pelletier said.
He said he doesn’t quite know what he or his company will do to get even.
“Remember,” he said, “payback is a b——.”