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Open Range: Nice to go, great to come back

Barrie Quallie is a Wallowa County-based columnist for the Chieftain.

Published on April 11, 2018 8:32AM

I left our beautiful county for a couple of trips this winter to thaw out, one to Florida and one to Arizona. Had a great time on both trips but couldn’t wait to get back.

Big cities are the loneliest places in the world. You’re surrounded by all kinds of people, all unapproachable. Everyone is in a rush or have their noses stuck in their cell phone.

In an airport you have a lot of time to kill but no one to talk with although surrounded by people. In large parking lots, you avoid most of the people you see and escape to the safety of your car as quickly as possible.

Diversity is highly overrated. In Dallas/Ft Worth airport, I saw every ethnic group possible, and they all seemed to have a chip on their shoulder toward any other ethnic group, and I don’t think it was me.

Then you have the diversity within ethnic groups. Most people are OK, but then you have the nuts that have to have a service animal because they are so neurotic they can’t function without it. I don’t mean seeing-eye dogs. The fact that this is a big problem for the airlines and anyone seated next to them is of no concern to these weak-minded inconsiderate idiots.

If they are so neurotic they can’t fly without their service peacock, they should stay at home or be institutionalized. When did the population of this country become so weak minded and tolerant of nuts?

Here’s something that is underrated. Adversity. That may be the wrong word. The old expression “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger“ is true to a degree. The current population has had it pretty easy.

In cities like Bend, you have derelicts working corners for drug or booze money. One guy has been on the same corner for three years with a gas can and a sign wanting you to give him gas money. He is still out of gas today.

The kids that were teenagers when I was all worked in the summer. Most of it was hard work in the fields harvesting fruit. The money was good in that a kid that worked hard could make as much as an adult.

You were paid 12 to 15 cents a box to pick peaches, four cents a pound to pick cherries or you could work for one dollar to a dollar and a quarter to swamp peaches or prop trees. When we got home after work, we were all delighted just to be home and not at work in a humid orchard when it was 100 degrees.

Having nothing you had to do was a luxury. Piece work really teaches a kid a work ethic and gave all of us a sense of pride since, through hard work, we could make about $500 in the summer and buy our own school clothes.

We learned responsibility working outside the family and set our own alarms and found a way to the job. A lot of us worked like a man, and if harvest was late, opening of school was postponed till harvest was done.

None of us were forever emotionally scarred for life by the experience. In fact it was a huge part of our education. Another bonus was we rarely got into trouble and realized we didn’t want to have to do that kind of work the rest of our lives. I don’t think kids have changed, parents and schools have.

Barrie Quallie is a Wallowa County-based columnist for the Chieftain.


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