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, November 17, 2022

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
The Chronicle (Creswell)
Sweet Lorane Community News
November 17, 2022
By Pat Edwards

The holidays are upon us. This past week, Jim and I, along with our daughter, Gloria, attended the Lorane Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the Lorane Grange. It’s a tradition hosted by the Lorane Christian Church for many years, but it was put on hold during the pandemic and this was the first one we’ve attended in several years. How nice it was to share such a delicious meal prepared by church members, and be able to spend the afternoon with long-time friends and neighbors that we haven’t been in touch with for quite a while. It was a wonderful way to ignite our holiday spirit in preparation for our own family festivities. Thank you to the church and the grange for reinstating such a great tradition.

As I’m beginning to prepare our house for Thanksgiving Day, I’m frequently reminded of the newest member of our household who has taken over our lives these past few months. I’ve been picking up strings, papers or small items that have been knocked off of surfaces. Gigette, a spunky little black and white spotted kitten, was about 8-weeks old when we offered to temporarily keep her for one of our daughters. At the time Gloria was fostering a dog she was afraid might be too rough with her, so, Gigette came to live with Jim and me.


She immediately and completely took command of the whole household… pestering our other two house cats despite their hisses, growls and swats, until they eventually relented and began to play with her occasionally. She challenged our dogs, who were curious about her, and tempted them to chase her, rising on her haunches with her two little front paws raised to grab their noses. I set up a couple of interactive toys for her in the family room where Jim could watch her play from his recliner. She swatted and chased the balls in the round tracks and then hid from Jo-Jo and Oreo in the kitty-tunnel, hoping to pounce on them as they walked past.

Right from the beginning, she was no different from other babies who need their naps each day, and her favorite spot became the middle of Jim’s chest as he reclined in front of the TV. Within a week’s time, Gloria gave up on the idea of ever taking her back. She had taken over our lives completely. As she got older, she began exploring more and more of the house. Countertops were checked out, of course. We tried using a spray bottle with water to discourage her countertop raids, but the mist was so fine that she actually considered it a game. Our next deterrent was a plastic container with some gravel in it which we shook whenever she’d venture onto the kitchen counter. She has now learned to stay off of them, but my computer desk seems to be a favorite for playtime now. As I work on my computer, she frequently jumps on my lap with the intent of snuggling down for a bit, but then sees the cursor jumping across my monitor screen, so it’s become fun to walk across the keyboard, sending her own little messages onto whatever I happen to working on in order to play with the cursor. And, I won’t even attempt to go into the fun of working on jigsaw puzzles with a kitten in the house…

It’s amazing how much joy one little being can bring into our lives, especially now in our senior years. We have always had cats and dogs and each one is loved and cherished as a family member. Almost all of them have been rescues, even before rescue groups became the norm, and each has taken over a special place in our hearts. As hard as it is to have to say “goodbye” in the end, the companionship, joy and unconditional love that they bring us during their too-short times in our lives make up for the eventual pain in parting.

Thank you Toby, BB, Jo-Jo, Oreo, Xena and Gigette for brightening our lives every day!

There are so many thanks to be offered this Thanksgiving Day. Let’s all dedicate this day to counting our many blessings and being thankful for each and every one. Happy Thanksgiving, All! 

Sweet Lorane Community News, November 10, 2022

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
The Chronicle (Creswell)
Sweet Lorane Community News
November 10, 2022
By Pat Edwards

As I write this, we are still waiting to hear the results of some of the voting in last Tuesday’s election. Not all of the ballots have been counted yet, and some races and measures are still too close to call. I believe that, for the most part, even though none of us are completely happy with the results announced so far or those that are hanging in the balance, the election is giving each of us enough positives that we should not be too upset. And, you know… that’s the way it should be! Our country was set up as a two-party system because that’s the way democracy is meant to work. Not all of us believe the same way about everything when it comes to how our government is run and how our lives are affected by the decisions that are made. Our democracy works on the premise that none of us can expect to have everything go the way we want as individuals, but we can work together to find compromises through give-and-take so that one side doesn’t get all of the marbles.

It’s time to reach out and begin listening to each other instead of immediately putting up roadblocks or walking away from trying to understand where someone else is coming from.

It’s time to condemn hate and violence of all kinds and to bring back respect and support of law and order. We need to stop judging each others’ differences, setting up competitions between genders, races and nationalities and begin recognizing each others’ “human-ness.”
I certainly don’t have the answers on how this can be done, but I’m hoping that those who were voted into office—whether or not I voted for them—will do everything in their power to help draw us back together as a nation. We, as individuals, have done our parts by casting our ballots; it is now up to those who we have put our faith and trust in to listen and consider the points of view of those they represent… not just the directives of the party that they happen to belong to.

Am I dreamer?… a wishful thinker?… probably, but if we let ourselves accept the behaviors and injustices of the past few years as “normal,” then we have lost what has always made our country truly great. Let’s embrace honesty, kindness and respect for each other as “the new norm,” for we all have the potential to make something of ourselves and take pride in our accomplishments if we have a support system from others.

Sweet Lorane Community News, October 27, 2022

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
The Chronicle (Creswell)
Sweet Lorane Community News
October 27, 2022
By Pat Edwards

The holidays are, once again, approaching way too fast. I walked into a store a few weeks ago—it was barely October or possibly before our trip in late September—and was horrified to see the aisles lined with cases of Christmas merchandise ready to be put on the shelves as soon as the Halloween stuff was due to be displaced.

Our family’s holiday traditions and activities have been transitioning over the past decade or so as the numbers of grandkids and great-grandkids grow. Jim and I are at the point now where we only buy gifts for the children. As our grandchildren become adults and marry, they begin forming their own family traditions, as they should, and as great-grandparents of a whole horde of great-grandchildren, we want to help instill a love of family and family traditions while not bankrupting ourselves at the end of each year.

Our holiday contributions to the adults involves lottery scratch-offs for Christmas and centers around family Thanksgiving dinners and a place to gather each year. In our house, as our numbers approach 25 or 30, there’s no way we can all sit down at the dining room table to eat. Instead, we all form a circle around the table, holding hands, as Stephanie or Chad says grace to give thanks; then we all dish up our plates and head for a seat at numerous tables, chairs and couches around the living room, family room and dining room where we visit, watch football on Jim’s ever-present TV, catch up on the family news, and reminisce about days gone by. There’s always lots of laughter as the children, having finished their meals, run around, trailing pull-toys, giggling, playing with the kitten and climbing on Papa’s exercise bike. Occasionally, in days past, as things quiet down, a group of us would start dealing cards at one table for games of Contract Rummy, while a smaller group of four settle in for a game of Pinochle.

For us, it’s not so much about the gifts we give or receive, but of the time we share with each other; a time for counting our blessings, filled with wonder on how fortunate we all are to have each other in our lives.

I’d like to be able to enjoy each holiday in its own time… to savor each one as it was meant to be; to form traditions that not always follow in the commercial path of glitz and glitter, expensive gifts and out-doing and out-spending others. Everyone needs to evaluate their own traditions and decide what works best for their own family. But for me, I usually walk past all of those Christmas aisles as I enter a store. When I’m ready to celebrate and acknowledge the holiday, I’ll follow our own traditions as we grow as a family.

Connie Suing of the Crow Grange asked me to announce their upcoming Community Holiday Potluck and Open House (formerly called the Crow Thanksgiving Dinner) to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, at the Crow Grange. Everyone is asked to bring a side dish, salad or dessert to share. The grange will provide turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. There will be fun activities for the kids, crafts to make and take home, and visits with Santa. They will also be accepting donations of canned and non-perishable foods for the Holiday Helpers food baskets.

I’ll get information on the Lorane holiday activities and events in a future column.
Happy Fall everyone!!