Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
August 8, 2019
By Pat Edwards
My apologies… I asked to be excused from writing my column this past week. I could feel my “overload” alarm getting ready to ring, and I knew that I needed to take some R&R time for myself and Jim.
Besides dealing with health issues for both of us, I had taken on a lot of responsibility this summer in participating in community events, attending Oregon Author tables and working to help make our second annual, two-day Art in the Country Fine Art and Author Festival a huge success. It was a success! We signed up 25 wonderful authors for the 2-day event and the art and music that others had lined up were fantastic! The only problem is that our Saturday attendance took a nosedive at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, however, turned out to be everything that we had hoped, and I thank all of you who came out to join us.
A lot of local community events in and around Lorane and Crow were planned and held already, seemingly one right after another (and some, on top of each other)—the Creswell 4th of July Celebration, the Crow Car Show, the Lane County Fair, Art in the Country, the Fern Ridge Barbecue, the Lorane Community-Wide Yard Sale, the Crow Grange’s Chicken ‘n Pickin’, and the Lorane Community Potluck and Ice Cream Social which will have taken place by the time you read this. We are so lucky to have such a variety of quality events to choose from these days.
I’m supposed to attend the August 17 “Bigfoot Festival” in Troutdale with my author-colleague, Joe Blakely to promote the new book we published called “Sasquatch!” It was written by Ken Coon who, for 13 years in the 1960s and 1970s, researched all of the supposed sightings of Bigfoot around the country. He was a former sheriff’s deputy for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and wrote in detail about all of the research he did during those years. Sadly, he passed away before he could see his book in print, so after lying dormant for almost 50 years, Joe and I were given the opportunity to publish the manuscript at his family’s request. This year’s festival, however, is probably going to have to happen without me, but Joe will be there to experience our first time as “Bigfoot Hunters.”
Speaking of Joe, he wrote me an email this morning mentioning that he will be turning 80 years of age in the next few weeks and the impact that the event is having on him. It seems to be a major turning point in many lives. My husband Jim turns 80 in September, too, and I’m only 3 years behind.
Whenever I hear of anyone turning 80, memories flood back about the huge surprise birthday party my sister, brother and I gave for our mother’s 80th. She lived in Redmond with my stepfather at the time and we decided to hold it at Sunriver. Many of her friends and literally all of her family showed up to celebrate it with us. I had put together a large book of memories that included letters and photos that so many people she had known through those 80 years had sent me.
Mama was so surprised and touched by the celebration and opened that book to read over and over again through the following years, but she told me after the party that she felt it was a wonderful “goodbye” to her. She didn’t feel that she would live much past that 80 mark. Each year afterwards, she commented on how surprised she was to be celebrating another birthday.
She really didn’t want to live beyond her ability to enjoy life. She hated the limitations that were put on her by her physical health, but she stayed the beautiful, vibrant lady I have always known through her 96th year. Her limitations were imposed on her by her body, but her mind was always sharp. My sister Barbara (B.J.) and I were fortunate to have her come live with us for her last year of life in order to provide her with the care she needed. She lived at B.J.’s home on Cottage Grove Lake for part of each week and B.J. took her to doctor’s appointments and provided her personal care. When she was at our house for 3 days each week, I became her activities director. We took drives to places she wanted to see… up and down area streets and roads she’d never traveled including the top of City View in Eugene, and out and around the countryside around our homes in Lorane and Cottage Grove. She got so much joy out of seeing new things. She loved bingo and we went to the Cottage Grove Senior Center each week to play and we made a few trips to the coast to one of the casinos so she could do the same.
If I make it past 80, I want to follow her lead if I can.