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, January 13, 2022

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
January 13, 2022
By Pat Edwards

Everything remains quiet in Lorane these days as far as activities are concerned, but hopefully, things will be gearing up once again as we get into spring. Even now, though, there are still cars with bicycles in racks heading for the BLM mountain bike trails on Carpenters By-Pass, a few miles southwest of Lorane. It’s a year-round recreation area that has become quite popular. And, because the once-dangerous curves on Stoney Point, north of Lorane, have been tamed by Lane County, and converted to a beautiful, safe, winding portion of Territorial Road, access is much easier.

The Crow Grange (1st and 3rd Saturdays; 7:00 p.m.) and Creswell Grange (3rd Wednesdays; 7:00 p.m.) have resumed their dessert and bingo nights. The Lorane Grange does not have a regular schedule, but the next one is planned for Saturday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m. In order not to miss out, it’s best to watch for notices on the various community Facebook pages for more information on each.

This is a bittersweet time for Jim and me. After a potential sale of our Lorane Family Store didn’t go through last year, we are once again in the process of selling it, and this time it appears that the sale will go through. Closing is set for the end of this month or early February. After owning and running it for 44 years, it’s not easy for either of us to let go. It has provided a good life for our family and after being open seven days a week for 364 days every year (we close on Christmas), it will be a complete lifestyle change for us… but it is past time. The past few years have taken a toll on our health and energy levels and we have been fortunate enough to step back and allow our wonderful manager, Tracie DeBoer, and our equally wonderful staff of employees to deal with the day-to-day business of selling groceries and gasoline. Jim and I have continued to make grocery and bank runs three times a week, and he has opened the store three mornings a week himself, but even those things are becoming harder to do.

The Old Store

… and the new

 

 

 

 

 

In December 1977, when we bought it, we named the store The Lorane Family Store because we could foresee not only our own family working in it, but enfolding the special people who worked for us and those who stopped in to buy their RC Colas and lean against the counter to visit for awhile as part of our family, as well. And, that’s just what happened. They have all become our store family and good friends over the years. We’ve sadly lost several of our long time friends and employees, including Nancy O’Hearn, Marna Hing and Marilyn Wenger Cooper, who all logged many years there. Fortunately, Kathy Warden, another long-time employee is still with us. I like the fact that many of them have brought in their daughters and sons to work at the store, too… another reason that we chose the right name.

 

 

 

 

Jim and long-time employee, Marilyn Wenger Cooper

Jim and great-grandson, Sawyer Haxby

 

 

 

 

 

 

To commemorate it all, our granddaughter, Stephanie Furlong, has arranged a special gathering to take place at the store on Sunday, January 30, where our own family, most of whom have worked at the store, will have our photos taken professionally by her employer, Natalie, of McFarland Productions. In addition, to those of you who have worked for Jim and me through the years we’ve had the store and who made the “family” in “Lorane FAMILY Store” come to life, we would love for you to join us in the photoshoot. We will be gathering in front of the store at 10:00 a.m. that day.

Also, if anyone has photos of the store (inside or out) or of the people working there, we’d love to have copies for our memory book.

The store will be entering a new era and continue to benefit our community. Thank you to all of you—employees and customers—who have been part of our family for so many years.

You’ve touched our hearts in many ways.

Sweet Lorane Community News – January 6, 2022

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
Creswell Chronicle
Pat’s Opinion Piece
January 6, 2022
By Pat Edwards

This morning, a Thursday, I woke up earlier than usual, knowing that I would need to put together my weekly newspaper column for tomorrow’s deadline… and that it was going to be a difficult one to write. You see, today’s date is January 6, 2022, and all of the anguish and fear that came to the forefront of my life one year ago today, is still with me.

I was born on September 11—another date of anguish and fear that I now share with my country and the world, but as terrible as that day was for so many, for me, personally, January 6, will forever overshadow it.

As I’ve stated before, I have never been a political person, but I have been a patriot all of my life. I’ve taken the Pledge of Allegiance very seriously, even as a child. Tears have always sprung to my eyes as the National Anthem has played or been sung before each of our children’s and grandchildren’s basketball games and at every other event I’ve attended, and I find myself singing along because my heart bursts with the love I have for my country. I’ve studied its history, even as a child, and I learned early about not only its glory, but its blemishes, too. In those days, anything involving horses was my favorite read, but that eventually extended to Native American and Black histories and what they had to suffer at the hands of my ancestors.

I’ve always been what was labeled as “conservative.” I’m a country girl at heart. Urban living has never appealed to me, although I didn’t always live on a farm. The free-love and drug culture that sprang to life during my young adult years horrified me. When old enough, I registered as a Republican, but I never believed in voting by party. I always voted for the person who I felt would represent me, regardless of the label they wore.

In 2019, Jim and I and my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Dwight Isborn, planned a trip we had all been wanting to take for many years. We booked a tour of Washington, D.C. and other historical sites in the area including Mt. Vernon, Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Gettysburg and Philadelphia, visiting every monument and museum we could in the 10 days we were there. It was a dream trip for each of us, and being able to walk through those hallowed halls of the Capitol, White House, National Archives, and all of the national monuments and war memorials, made me swell with pride, knowing our country’s history and what had been established so long ago by our founding fathers and fought for by our veterans.

So, when I watched what happened on that day, one year ago. I was horrified. It completely and profoundly broke my heart. Despite being dissatisfied with the political climate, I never thought I would live through a time when I would witness so much disrespect for our democracy or the institutions that represent it. Though I wasn’t strongly political, over the past decade I did not like the path either party represented in the voting booth. In 2016, I was so upset by the choices given us that, for the first time in my life, I refused to vote for either. In my opinion, neither candidate represented who I was or the moral fabric or patriotic standards that our country has always stood for.

Even before January 6, 2020, I watched friends and family members turn against each other because of differing political views. Arrogance and a “Me First” mentality at the extreme ends on both sides has become prominent. The pandemic has been made into a political issue when it should have brought us all together as our common enemy. Patriotism has also become a political issue, as well. Showing how much we love our flag more than “the other side” seems to be used as a badge for who is the most patriotic, when, for me, the ultimate disrespect for our flag is shown by flying it out of the back of a pickup until it is in shreds.

Radical views on both sides of the spectrum are warring with each other and we in the middle are trying to figure out a way to keep our families together and once again be able to have a conversation with friends without politics entering the picture. We need to stop believing everything we read on social media or our favorite news network, and put aside the conspiracy theories and lies that are prominent.

Those who instigated the happenings of January 6, 2020, need to be held accountable, and we need to elect representatives on national and local levels who are willing to work with each other and compromise in governing our country and state in order to put our democracy on solid ground once again.

I know only too well that my words will not sit well with some, and in the end, they may not even be published, but this morning when I woke up, I knew that it was time that I expressed them.

May God Bless America.

Sweet Lorane Community News, December 30, 2021

Fern Ridge-Tribune News
Creswell Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
December 30, 2021
By Pat Edwards

Happy New Year, all!

Depending on how much each of us views a serious snowfall, Mother Nature has either given us a beautiful and wondrous ending to 2021, or she wanted to make a final statement to the difficult year that has just ended. Fortunately, thanks to our caring family and employees at the Lorane Family Store, Jim and I were able to stay at home where we were warm and dry for the week between Christmas and New Years. We were able to appreciate the beauty that surrounded us, but we know that others were not quite as fortunate or forgiving.

We are so grateful to our daughter and son-in-law, Michele and Brian Kau, for coming over the morning after Christmas when the snowfall had accumulated to about 10 inches, to check our home generator and make sure it was ready to go to work if the power went out. Unfortunately, it refused to start, despite Brian’s best efforts. They brought over their own working generator for us to have on hand, and took ours to their house to work on it there. (They found out it had a defective part and both of us are all set now… just in case.)

At our store in Lorane, only two of our employees, Tracie DeBoer and Quentin Harris, were able to make it through the snow to open on that day. Between them, they pumped gas and propane and sold groceries until they closed at 5:00 p.m. We are so thankful to both of these very important members of our LFS team as well as the others who wanted to be there, but couldn’t!

The next morning, the power was out in “downtown” Lorane and we made the decision to keep the store closed until it was resolved—which turned out to be the full day. Our daughter, Gloria, was able to use the time to take Tracie into town to stock up on groceries and provisions for the store while the power was out in Lorane.

On Tuesday, Tracie once again opened and Donald Davis was able to make it there to help her. Thanks to both of them and although we were once again short-handed, the store had a record-setting day, despite closing early.

Others, on the other hand, were able to fully enjoy the winter wonderland that Mother Nature provided. In our family, our granddaughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Chad Furlong, who recently purchased an 80-acre Century Farm near Roseburg, were able to prep a perfect sledding hill for their four little girls on their new property. They were able to repeatedly ride up the hill with their dad on one of the family’s quads and sled down the slope. The photos they posted showed lots of happy smiles and red cheeks. Knowing Steph, they probably all went back to the house and had hot chocolate with marshmallows afterwards. Those pictures brought back so many happy memories of winters with our young family.

Hayden Rae Furlong (aka “Pink Cheeks”)

The Furlong family — Chad and Stephanie and their 4 girls, Harper, Hayden, Shiloh and Cora

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether or not Mother Nature provides difficulties or opportunities the week after Christmas, it is one of my favorite times. In our house for that week, there are seldom appointments to go to or schedules to meet and it allows us to be able to take a few deep breaths, kick back with a good book or a favorite tv show and enjoy a kind of serenity that is frequently missing once our “batteries” are once again recharged.

With the new year, we are looking forward to more time with family and friends and hoping to see more peace and goodwill within the hearts of all.

Happy New Year for 2022!