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, March 2, 2023

The Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
March 2, 2023
By Pat Edwards

This week, a beautiful angel flew home. Kathy Warden held a special place in Jim’s and my hearts. I wrote about her in my column a few weeks ago without naming her. She worked for us at the Lorane Family Store for many years and she and her husband, Gary, raised their children, Jeramie and Paula, in the home they rented from us across the street from the store. She was more than an employee… more than a friend… so much more to not only us, but many others in the community of Lorane. She loved children and related to them easily… she was “Aunt Kathy” to not only our grandkids, but to many other young people in the community, as well. She babysat them when they were little and she and Nancy O’Hearn, who lived with the Wardens for many years until her passing, welcomed them and their friends in the home the Wardens moved to on south Territorial as they grew into their teenage years and later, adulthood.

Once Jeramie and Paula began providing her with grandchildren, her world revolved around not only them, but those belonging to her “chosen family” that she claimed and loved through the years. Those 3 granddaughters, 4 grandsons and 1 great-grandson, who all lived close-by, were her pride and joys and they brightened her world until the very end.

Kathy’s health deteriorated over the years to the point that she spent way too much time on a ventilator in the hospital, but each time she came home, she seemed to bounce back to Gary and the family who was always there for her. The pandemic years were the hardest. Her health was so fragile that she stayed isolated at home as much as possible and she had few visitors. Jim and I hadn’t seen her for two years when we made our “goodbye” visit to her a couple of weeks ago when she was put in hospice care at home.

I believe she was at peace when she left us, and we are all grateful that she is no longer suffering the pain and discomfort that was so familiar to her. Our deep condolences go out to her husband Gary and all of her family at this painful time. Kathy leaves a piece of herself in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.

The Lorane Community Association just announced that the beautiful and very popular Lorane mural, created by local artists, Karen Pigeon and Alix Mosier, will soon be placed at its new location at the corner of Territorial and Cottage Grove-Lorane Roads. The new owners of the Lorane Family Store asked it to be moved as they needed the space where it was originally placed. It has been in storage until a new site could be chosen. It will still be on the store property, but closer to the corner, beyond the gas tanks. The construction for its placement is beginning this week thanks to the Jentzsch family who have volunteered their services.

This past week, Jim and I attended the Lorane Grange Dessert and Bingo Night as we try to do each time it’s held. We always have a good time and there is usually a good turnout from the community. The Grange is active and quite a few members take part in it as well as non-members. This past week was exceptional, however. Lil Thompson reports that she counted at least 40 people in attendance… many new ones and several who say that they will be returning later this month. It’s always a lively and fun group, and Randy Eschleman, the caller, keeps the game moving along at a good clip and evokes lots of laughs throughout the evening. No one seems to mind if they aren’t able to yell “Bingo.” It’s for a good cause as the proceeds go towards building maintenance, scholarships and community activities.

The Crow Grange is returning to its 1st and 3rd Saturday evening schedule for dinner and bingo. Dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. and bingo begins at 7:00 p.m. I’m too late in announcing this for the first March game, but the next one will be held on March 18.
Creswell Grange has their bingo night once a month on the 3rd Wednesday, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The next Rural Art Center movie night at the Lorane Grange is on Saturday, March 11, beginning at 6:00 p.m. with a dinner of soup and fresh-baked bread before the movie begins.

Hopefully, we’ll be enjoying some dry and warmer weather by the time this is in print. I think we’re all a bit tired of snow and ice now. I know that I’m aware of Spring Fever beginning to nibble at my consciousness. Fingers crossed!

Sweet Lorane Community News, February 16, 2023

The Chronicle
Sweet Lorane Community News
February 16, 2023
By Pat Edwards

Sadly, the community of Lorane, Oregon, has lost one of its own this past month.
Bill Mitchell was one of the few remaining “old-timers” of my generation who had been born and lived his whole life in Lorane. He and his wife Charlotte, who preceded him in death in 2015, were good friends of ours. In fact, Jim and I bought our store—the Lorane Family Store—from the Mitchell family in December 1977. The Mitchell and Edwards families were the only owners of it until we sold it in early 2022. Our combined ownership encompassed 87 years—the Mitchells owned it for 43 years and Jim and I had it for 44 years.

Bill and Charlotte Mitchell on their wedding day

Jim and I attended the memorial reception in Bill’s honor at the Lorane Rebekah Lodge last weekend. As expected, the hall was filled with many whose lives Bill and Charlotte had touched through the years. The food buffet, that was provided by the Rebekah and Theta Rho groups was filled with wonderful, home-cooked casseroles, salads and desserts, that were so much in keeping with the way potlucks were done in years past. There wasn’t a single bucket of KFC or bag of potato chips in sight.

Don’t get me wrong… I realize that our modern day “potlucks” are the result of health concerns about food preparation done in unlicensed kitchens in private homes and the fact that today’s families are made up of parents who both work full time jobs, making it necessary for some to provide fast food options for group gatherings. I confess… I love KFC, so it’s not such a hardship as far as I’m concerned. It’s just that the tater-tot-topped hamburger casserole, the yummy pot of bacon and an assortment of beans, the always popular green bean casserole, the very cheesy mac-and cheese, the peach cobbler, chewy brownies, and so many others, were all fun to experience again. Bill would have been thrilled. I’ve attended a lot of these local get-togethers with both Bill and Charlotte and the food and the company present that day honored them well.

We extend our deepest condolences to the Mitchell family and the Lorane community for the loss of a friend and good man.

After we left the reception, Jim and I made our way down the road to pay an extremely hard—yet very special—visit to a long-time friend. To maintain her privacy, I won’t mention her name, but she worked for us for many years; she babysat our grandkids, was a surrogate “auntie” to them and showered them with love through their childhoods. Jim and I haven’t visited her since the pandemic kept us all apart, but we kept in touch through messages and an occasional phone call. Her fragile health kept her isolated from all but family. But, last weekend was an exception; we called ahead to see if she would be up to seeing us… if home hospice care would allow visitors.

Goodbyes are so hard, but I’m glad we went. We didn’t stay long, but while we were there, we were able to share our memories of the store, as it once was, and the friends and families we had through the years. Our daughter, her son, and his little daughter and infant son—our great-grandchildren—visited her the next day to say their goodbyes, too. I got the sense that she was at peace, knowing how much love surrounds her from a caring family and the many friends she has made through the years.

That’s the way it should be.

Sweet Lorane Community News, February 9, 2023

(Please note: I did not write a column this week, but The Chronicle published, for their Valentines Day issue, a piece I had previously written)

Always and Forever
By Pat Edwards

In 1987. I submitted an entry in a contest called “Always and Forever” (the name of country music legend, Randy Travis’, new album) sponsored by KUGN-FM radio in Eugene. My letter was chosen as the winner and Jim and I were treated to a wonderful evening at the Hult Center, meeting and visiting with Randy Travis in person on his tour bus for about 20 minutes. At the time, he presented me with a beautiful handcrafted gold necklace with an open umbrella as its pendant. A tiny diamond raindrop dangled from one of the spines of the umbrella and I wore that necklace for years afterwards.

This was my winning entry:

“On Thanksgiving Day, 1983, the doctor entered my hospital room, looked at my husband Jim and me, and said something like this:

“‘The results of your ultrasound and other tests reveal that you have a large tumor on your left kidney, and after some further testing we must remove the whole kidney in two days time… There’s an 80% chance that the tumor is malignant… If it is encapsulated within the kidney itself, it can be treated. If not…’

“I had been running a steady fever for seven days following a previous surgery, which had alerted the doctors that something else was wrong. That night, my temperature escalated to the point where the whole night was a hazy blur.

“What I remember most about that night, was the presence of Jim beside my bed – always there when my parched mouth and throat needed a sip of water, or when the cold cloth on my forehead had turned warm and needed to be rinsed out once again. Those gnarled, calloused hands that built fences, roped cows, worked on engines, drove tractors and hauled merchandise for our store with a rugged strength, were as gentle as a baby’s as he ministered to my needs.

“He stayed that night until the fever broke and I drifted into an exhausted sleep.

“Each of the next two evenings before the scheduled surgery, he was in my room with a smile on his face and cards and flowers in his hands from people in the little community of Lorane where we lived. When he was with me, he never revealed the strain that I knew he was under. This was quite a feat in itself. This man that I had been married to for over 20 years was highly charged with nervous energy and was normally a very tense individual. I learned later from friends that away from the hospital he was considered a basket-case. But, he was always calm when he came to see me.

“I credit a lot of the peace that I felt within myself those days before the surgery to the fact that I had always been blessed with the love of a good man and a family of whom I was very proud. I was ready and willing to accept whatever was to come my way, and Jim was there to support me.

“It was Jim’s voice that I first heard through the fog of anesthesia that morning following the surgery… ‘It’s okay… It’s all right…The tumor was benign!’

“The love has always been there – sometimes hidden by misunderstandings or selfishness on the parts of one or the other of us, but it is there. That love and support has given me the courage to not only face the possibility of death, but to realize that each of us must try to do something beneficial with our lives – to make each day count – Always and Forever.”