A Relaxing Break from Bad News and Stress
In these troubled times for our country it is all too easy to get stressed/upset/depressed by the constant onslaught of news that varies from bad to bizarre to you’ve got to be kidding me. I have a solution: the small town paper.
When I was a lad living just outside Minneapolis, my parents had a subscription to a small town paper. The town of Preston was located in southern Minnesota (and I presume still is) and my parents subscribed to the local newspaper on a whim because of our shared name. There is no connection between my family and the town that I know of.
I delighted myself each week with a scan of what was happening in Preston. If you had company for dinner, it would be in the paper, including the first and last names of all present. The same for people who had guests for cribbage, welcomed relatives from other states, and other issues of local import.
I have a similar treat today, over a half a century later. My brother in law is the prosecuting attorney for Whitman County in southeast Washington. He provided a subscription to the Whitman County Gazette for his mother, who lived a mile away from us. It was always fun to look through it, particularly when Denis was featured in the reportage of a felony trial. When Dorine passed away the subscription came to us, and now every Friday I have a break from the dreary news of the week, whether it be the latest atrocity committed by Trump or one of his minions, the receipt of the bill for a license plate tab for my motorcycle reflecting the astonishing increase in cost, and other financial and political detritus of our lives.
Pause with me now for a review of the news from Whitman County this week. Just the headlines make me smile.
“Endicott Residents Petition to Allow Chickens.” Now that gets my attention! It seems that it is illegal in the small town of Endicott to keep chickens, and that demands change, and 115 good souls signed a petition as such. To allay concerns over noise, no roosters would be allowed. Left untouched were the bans on geese and turkeys. The matter is under consideration.
“St. Ignatius Hospital Building Officially Deemed Unsafe.” This seems alarming, but it turns out that this Colfax building has not been used as a hospital for years. The issue is that the building has been used for the past two years for Haunted Halloween tours and has generated “substantial income” for the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association. What piques my interest is that the town of Colfax, know to me previously primarily as a speed trap, has both a Chamber of Commerce and a Downtown Association. For the record, I have never received a speeding ticket in Colfax.
“Garfield Town Council Surpluses Three Vehicles.” Your chance for a deal, after the town determines a fair minimum bid. If no bids are received the town council can negotiate with any interested buyer. So what is on offer? A police car that has not been used on patrol for 13 years, being parked as a decoy at the entrance to the town instead. They did not give little details such as the make and model and year of the car, but I would bet it is a Ford Crown Victoria from about 1990 or so. Or, a John Deere “Gator” which “has problems running.” Last, a 1970’s International diesel truck (size not given) originally purchased as surplus from the state. The mayor is quoted as saying “Our current guys can’t seem to get it to run.”
“Dusty Reunion Produces 400 Pounds of Sausage.” If you are not from the area, it is helpful to know that Dusty is the name of a town. The Riedner family hosts a family reunion each year where all who attend take part in sausage making. What a fun idea! This year the group, all of whom are listed in the paper with their home town of origin, created 400 pounds of sausage in a family and comradely atmosphere. I’m impressed. …and hungry.
I’ve also been following the trend of the editorial pages in the Gazette since last summer. Eastern Washington is a very conservative area. If you’re running for elected office you can choose to run as a Republican, or you can lose. Last fall the editorials were hammering away at the real or imagined faults of Hillary Clinton, and hailing the potential of Trump as President. Things began to change a bit after the election, and now the reversal is complete. This issue featured three scathing editorials regarding the infinite number of fallacies, bungles, broken promises, and other horrors of the new administration.
Copyright 2017 David Preston