Category: Newspaper Columns

Newspaper columns that I have written for the Fern Ridge Review in Veneta, Oregon and the Creswell Chronicle in Creswell, Oregon. I began writing them for the Fern Ridge Review on August 4, 2010; on December 6, 2012, the Creswell Chronicle began printing them, as well. I am still the Lorane columnist for both papers.

Sweet Lorane Community News, June 3, 2021

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
June 3, 2021
By Pat Edwards

I am writing this today from our comfy motel suite in Boardman, Oregon, on the Columbia River. My sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Dwight, are across I-84 in a beautiful RV park, situated next to the Boardman Marina and one of the prettiest city parks that I’ve ever seen.

Several years ago, we had our own RV and discovered this beautiful park with B.J. and Dwight when we spent two nights here on the way to a vacation at the Wallowa Lake State Park. Prior to that, Boardman was just an unimpressive town along I-84 that we passed almost every year for 10 years straight on our way to the OSAA 2-A Girls’ Basketball Tournament in Pendleton to watch the Crow Cougars play. Our daughters, Gloria, Michele, and Kelly, were on those teams during that time, and the trek to Pendleton each year was not only a family tradition, but one that was well-attended by many Crow High School fans. (I can’t help but mention here that Gloria still holds the all-time 2-A rebounding record of 26 rebounds in one tournament game against Joseph High School in 1983… that’s another story in itself.)

Entrance to marina

Anyway, jumping back to the present, we were pleasantly surprised to learn about the hidden gem in Boardman. The RV park is about 20 acres of beautiful green lawns on the banks of the Columbia. As we watch barges plying their ways to ports both east and west, we try to imagine the conditions and wonder experienced by the Lewis and Clark Expedition that traveled through here almost 220 years before. Right next door is a marina with sailboat slips and ramps. As we walked there yesterday morning with our dogs in 95-degree heat, we passed a giant board where entrants and results of the annual Boardman Fishing Derby is recorded. Walking past the marina, we saw many more acres of beautifully manicured lawns on

Boardman Park wading area

Jim and Toby

Boardman Park

Pat in the Park

which we could see a children’s playground; a shaded area of championship-quality horseshoe pits; a well-maintained baseball field; and a lovely white gazebo sitting next to a panorama of the river and the Washington shore in the background where, I’m sure, many weddings have taken place. Fishermen, with poles in hand walked the black-topped paths to find their favorite fishing beaches. There’s a swimming hole in one area for those who want to swim in the calm, sheltered portion of the river and, best of all, in a large, finger inlet, is a huge, roped-off wading area for children and dogs on leashes.

B.J. Levi and Megan on walk

Pat and Toby on a walk

Above the wading pool, my eye kept wandering to the big, sturdy, adult-sized swing set sitting by itself on the green lawn. Memories of my childhood kept pulling at me… Finally, I gave into them, and I made my way there. I handed Toby’s leash to Jim, who came on our “walk” with us on his electric scooter, and picked out one of the swings that I could mount. Once seated, I was pleasantly surprised that the worn trench in the lawn beneath the swing kept my feet from dragging, and I began to pump and soar… just as I remembered doing throughout my childhood.

Swingin’

As I pumped higher and higher, the memories flooded in. I was a child once again. The wind through my hair was so familiar, as were the movements to keep myself airborne, and I felt the same sensations I did just before when, as a child, I prepared to bale out. This time, however, I knew that there would be no tumble to end my ride. Instead, I stopped pumping and allowed the swing to come to a gentle stop. As I dismounted, I reluctantly left my childhood behind once again, but I will always remember that flight as the highlight of this particular trip.

Today is our last day before we head home. We will celebrate Dwight’s birthday this evening (Happy Birthday, Dwight!), and probably take one more walk to the marina before the temperature gets unbearable. It reached 103 degrees yesterday afternoon, but I understand it was in the 90s at home, too. Hopefully, when we reach home after the long drive tomorrow, the weather will have tempered a bit and we can return to what will always be for us, “Home Sweet Home.”

Sweet Lorane Community News – May 27, 2021

Fern Ridge Review
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
May 27, 2021
By Pat Edwards

Mother Nature is being kind to us these past couple of weeks in Lane County. Not only has she been generously giving us a spring filled with warm, sunny days, but has interspersed them with welcome showers to keep the flowers happy and the earth moist and green. I marvel at how our Oregon springs can regenerate the soul as well as the flora surrounding us.

B.J., Dwight, Jim and me at Honeyman State Park in 2016

Jim and I are looking forward to a mini-vacation soon with my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara (B.J.) and Dwight. It will be an RV-camping vacation along the Columbia River for them and, because we are no longer able to use our RV, Jim and I will spend it with them at a nearby pet-friendly hotel. We’re going to take our Toby with us so that B.J. and I can take long walks with the dogs while Dwight rides his bike and Jim drives his electric scooter on the many bike trails that run along the beautiful river.

I’ve longed for this time together. Since they now live in Central Oregon after moving there from Cottage Grove a couple of years ago, we have had very few in-person visits during the pandemic. The stress of the COVID-19 restrictions and the political tensions that have made it so much worse, have taken their toll on close family and friend relationships for many of us this past year. Almost everyone I’ve talked with has mentioned the strain they feel in trying to hold on to the really important blessings we have built into our lives for so long.

I strongly believe that spring is an excellent time to turn off the 24-hour news channels and radio stations—all of them—that many of us have been glued to, and use social media only to connect with the people who really matter in our lives. We need to focus on those we love—despite their politics—and count all of the blessings we have built with them,  together. We must all put the animosities aside; stop taking offense; look for the positives in the world around us for a change instead of being so obsessed with the negatives and the difficulties we’ve all faced equally during the pandemic. For the most part, each of us possess many of the same qualities —kindness, generosity, respect, compassion and reverence for all that is good, kind, generous, respectful, and compassionate. We love our country passionately. Patriotism may be held in our hearts in different ways, but it is present in all but those who want to destroy it.

So, let’s take advantage of Mother Nature’s freshening of our souls this spring and concentrate on everything that we have been blessed with. Rediscover the good that drew us into friendships and relationships in the first place; put aside the mistrust, cynicism, and hate that have been incited and allowed to build up over this past year regardless of what political label you want to claim.

When election time comes around again, vote your own heart and convictions—not someone else’s. If you want to work towards a particular goal, volunteer your time and make a difference, but don’t push away the special people in your life who have brought you friendship, love and blessings if their viewpoint doesn’t quite match yours.

Let’s bring back the warmth and joy in our own lives and let it encompass each of those around us… not only for their sakes, but for our own, as well.