The Community I Call Home

The Community I Call Home

We live outside a small town in Eastern Washington that at first look appears one step from being a ghost town or a farm stop taken over by industry. The first time I drove into this small town I was surprised and confused at the same time. The highway into town seems like a “main street”, but it’s really not, a main housing section is made up of manufactured homes and dirt roads. Once I found what could be considered “down town”, there was what looked like a bar with a patio on top. I was there for a business meeting and it was only about 10am on an early spring week day, so people were nowhere to be seen. I thought for sure this was a town on its way out. Definitely not somewhere I would ever move to. Fast forward a handful of years later, and Hubby and I bought a house just a few miles out of this run down little town.

At first look people may think I’m crazy. I’m pretty sure some of the corporate visitors to my office (also in this same sleepy town) think it’s a total lack of options to live in this little town. I don’t view it that way though. Granted, it’s a 20+ minute drive to a chain store, and we only recently got a fast food restaurant (if that’s what subway is classified as). But what the town offers is actually quite priceless.

Once the weather warms up the town is actually quite quaint.  The grass turns green, most homes are well taken care of, and once you find them, there are a couple nice parks too. A city worker waters the street plants by hand using a golf cart / water tank. The school is pretty good, with all grades located on the same campus. Though they don’t have a track team, if a student wants to play a sport, they will likely make the team. They are known for having a strong baseball team and extremely strong coed wrestling team. For the younger kids there are year round activities they can be involved in from flag football to dance or cheer camps. The school hosts multiple free movie nights, great for all age students, and the community is quite involved in everything. The area also has the traditional country charm of 4H and Junior Rodeo participants. And despite the multiple dirt streets in town, they are some of the most well maintained streets you will find. Definitely less potholes & snow mess than most towns.

Currently there is a community project based around building a rec center. It progresses more each day. Currently it houses some circuit gym equipment and hosts a variety of activities including batting cages, dance classes, and martial arts classes. In the long run the goal is to add a daycare / preschool facility (currently there is neither in town), a coffee shop, and a full sized basketball style gym.

If you were to ask me now to describe this sleepy little town, I’d say “it’s mine”. It’s a quaint, sleepy little town that makes plans and schedules around planting and harvest seasons. A community that pulls together to help others. And a town that still has the traditional parades of years past where candy is still thrown and fire trucks still spray water.

Below are some pictures from the rec center project – Seminis/Monsanto volunteers.

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Valentines and Blue Berries

Valentines and Blue Berries

I’m not sure if after 10 years of marriage your view of a good valentines day date changes, or if as a couple, my hubby and I never had a traditional take on valentine’s day. But for me, this years was probably the best!

We started our valentines weekend with a family trip to Prosser where a berry farmer was selling off his field. As we were getting to the Sunny Side area, my son pointed out that “Uncle DJ” lives in the area. That was actually quite lucky for me. Digging berry plants with a 30 pound baby on your back would probably suck. DJ was awesome enough to take my place & let me be Mom with a camera.

We initally planned to get 20 plants, dug up 21, and decided to round it out to 25. Now we figure some wont do well with the transplant, but even if 1/2 die, we will have around 12 bushes. Thats more berries than I anticipated, but I’m sure they won’t go to waste.

We spent Valentine’s day afternoon transplanting the bushes, which leads me to my highlight (2nd to having a best friend over earlier in the day). Hubby taught me to drive a backhoe! I don’t have a picture, but it was awesome. Given the last tracter I drove I ended up banned from. In fairness, those gas tanks were plenty far away. The giant wood chip pile between us stopped me before we collieded.

Once the sun went down it was movie night. And nothing says happy valentine’s day like a Leathal Weapon marathon. It was the perfect end to the weekend.

Perception & Reality: Soap Box

Perception & Reality: Soap Box

PERCEPTION-VS-REALITY

I think back on growing up, or even stories from those of generations past, and I get frustrated. Now granted I really don’t think the people as in the human race has changed so much over the years, but access to one another has increased 10 fold. People have judged each other since Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.  For bible followers you know it is mentioned over and over (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37, and so on). The point is we judge. But what was once whispered in another’s ear, or gossiped about in small groups, is now plastered on social media. In the past people didn’t rent a bill board to say “hey sally waitress was flirting with my man, & made snide comments”, but it doesn’t take long to find that type of thing viral on Facebook.  Women have whispered and made assumptions for years. Men too. And I’m not above it. I try not to, but now and then I find myself judging other moms, or colleagues, or famous people, whatever. I try to catch myself and stop it in its tracks. However, it seems to have become acceptable to blast people on Facebook as if its not the same as taking out an add in the newspaper. Newsflash: posting to Facebook is the equivalent to a pre 2002 posting in a local newspaper.

And we can’t parent like parents used to either. For the same reason! Now granted I was raised a bit different from others my age, and I tend to have a hard time knowing what is acceptable for the age of my child. One day my husband didn’t hear the bus and my son (kindergarten) wasn’t allowed off as no one was there to meet him. This is in the country mind you, where the next neighbor is a quarter mile down the road. Its not a group stop. Picking my son up at the bus garage I made the mistake of saying she could have let him off to see if the door was open, and wave if dad was inside. WHHAAATTTTT!!!!! You have never heard a group of women get so appalled. Took everything I had to hold in my “CALM THE FLOCK DOWN!”.  Silly me. Its not the time of kinder kids walking to school alone anymore I get that. But WOW. In town if the kids live within one mile they have to walk. What happens then?

We now live in a time where kids walking alone to the park leads to CPS. Kids alone at a pool get kidnapped, peanuts are banned from schools, and farming technique advancements can kill you. You neglect your baby if you feed formula, and are obscene if you nurse in public. You are an absentee mother if you work away from home, and lazy or non-contributing if you stay home with the kids. Thin and your viewed as unhealthy or vein, heavy and your lazy or careless. Eat GMO and you’ll get cancer (I don’t believe this, don’t attack me), eat organic and you’re grossed out (or is that just me?). Put your kids in multiple activities and your overachieving and a helicopter parent, leave them out and your poor or not concerned with your child’s social and mental expansion.

Perception becomes reality with few to no questions. People look at protesters as those at the Oregon wildlife refuge and think “what a bunch of crazies, why hasn’t the government shut them down yet”. But at the same time, rioters burn down buildings and yell to kill police, and its understandable. The line between the two is so gray it comes down to social portrayal. Imagine this: a newer construction suburban neighborhood in what’s considered “county” draws young parents which draws friends of those parents. As often happens in human nature the group is drawn together by children of similar ages, parents with similar interests, similar beliefs, ect. After say 5 years many in the neighborhood attend the same church, or branches of the same church. Kids go to the same schools, and parents have what seems like neighborhood barbeques since they are so connected. Heck the HOA puts on a yearly block party, and meeting every couple of months. Two more years go by. Kids are getting older, they see their dads go on occasional hunting trips and decide they want BB guns. Kids are now a bit old for the traditional Daisy Red Ryder, so for Christmas one gets a more advance model kida looks like a real gun, but its got the bright color markings. No big deal. Neighbor kids get jealous, and slowly a few more boys get some too.  One day a couple of the dads take the boys to shoot targets. Its laundry day and a Saturday. One dad for lack of clothing wears a pair of cargo pants and a camo shirt the last clean one. A kid from the group just likes camo and wears it with everything. Sue nobody is looking at the neighborhood with the prospect of buying a new home, and sees the camo clad gun toting bunch. What is wrong with these people! They’ve armed the kids. She tells Beth, who changes the story a bit, who tells Jessica. Jessica knows of someone in the area and mentions they are really close nit, they have regular meetings and all go to the same church. Beth mentions to Sue, who now has the impression this is so not the place for her, but is a bit extra concerned for the kids……..

Sound a bit like maybe it should be investigated more? We don’t need another WACO right?

I get its totally conspiracy theory like, but how far from likely is it? lets just throw a quick online rant about the creepy neighborhood for grins in there and see how far it can go. Its such a scary thought! Perception becomes reality so fast anymore!

I can keep going, but its depressing I will stop.