I made it five pages into the book before I got so mad I had to put it down.
I figured the library wouldn’t appreciate it if I returned the book with half the pages dangling from the binding like rotten shingles from a neglected roof.
I picked up the book a few hours later, determined to finish it without so much as dog-earing a single page.
Over the next several days I read the remaining 445 pages with emotions ranging from anger, which never totally dissipated, to bewilderment to sadness.
I’m grateful to Cameron Stauth for writing “In the Name of God.”
But that he was able to write it — although it seems to me that he felt he had to write it — is a tragedy.
The subtitle for Stauth’s 2013 book explains the topic: “The true story of the fight to save children from faith-healing homicide.”
Except most of the children Stauth writes about weren’t saved.
The clouds and the sunshine have finally worked out their customary spring schedule, and my grass is greening nicely.
Not so nicely as the dandelions, of course.
I despise dandelions, and have employed all manner of weapons to eradicate them from my modest expanse of turf, yet I can’t help but admire their tenacity.
This war I wage, like almost all wars, is a needless conflict.
My disdain for dandelions brands me as the product of a culture which venerates some vegetation and abhors others for reasons which aren’t altogether rational.
Big problems rarely lend themselves to easy solutions.
We can’t reverse global warming by twisting a thermostat.
We can’t make Vladimir Putin behave himself by yelling at him to lay off Crimea and Ukraine.
We can’t balance the federal budget by....
Well, actually we could do that by playing hide the checkbook with Congress, but first we’ve got to get our hands on the thing.
There is, though, one widespread mess that we could clean up today, and we’d probably save energy in the process.
Saturday marked the 20th-annual Baker City Herald Easter Egg Hunt. It’s an event that draws hundreds of local children each year to gather free eggs and toys in Geiser-Pollman Park.
But it almost disappeared in 1995.
That year the Baker City Jaycees, who had been the organizer of the annual event, disbanded. It looked as though the Easter Egg Hunt would not go on, for lack of a sponsor.
The first time I shook Sid Johnson’s hand I felt an instant sense of familiarity.
His hand was my grandpa’s hand.
It was rough with sandpapery callouses, the fingers thick and gnarled like oak limbs, but it was also protective, in the manner of a wool blanket that is itchy but will keep you warm on a January night.
It was the hand of a working man.
A hand made to grasp a hammer, to plane a board, to build structures that would endure for decades.
It turned out that Sid and my grandpa had quite a lot more in common than well-weathered hands.
I was in a Boise hotel the first weekend of spring break, watching my two younger kids frolic in the swimming pool with half a dozen others, when I realized that none of these children was alive on Sept. 11, 2001.
This thought struck me with some force.
At least one of the swimmers looked to me to be 11, although he might be a precociously tall 9 or 10.
But I’m as sure as I can be, without getting a look at boy’s birth certificate, that he isn’t as old as 12 1/2.
Time, of course, gets away from us no matter how closely we think we’re tracking its progress.
Philo T. Farnsworth should be as famous as Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell.
That Farnsworth is, if not unknown then certainly obscure compared with Edison and Bell, seems to me both a pity and the basis for a fascinating story.
It is debatable, but hardly hyperbolic, to claim that Farnsworth is the most significant inventor of the past 200 years.
What’s not in question is that Farnsworth invented electronic television.
Which is a technology that’s about as ubiquitous as the lightbulb and the phone, but vastly more influential.
I did not realize that watermelon has the sort of public relations apparatus normally reserved for heads of state or platinum-selling rock bands.
Nor did I know that watermelon exudes citrulline and arginine, which sound like components of gasoline but which apparently are natural substances that confer health benefits.
But now I do know those facts — and much else besides about this truly miraculous fruit — thanks to the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
This organization, I was disappointed to learn, is not based in Hermiston.
That city of course is associated with watermelons in these parts much in the way that Walla Walla is known for onions.
In fact the promotional arm for the watermelon has its headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
Monday was a day of tumbleweeds.
The spring norther had come out of hibernation to perform impromptu bouiffant surgery on unprotected heads and sandblast exposed corneas with grit.
We call it March around here.
Also April and May, as the calendar and the Pacific cold front dictate.
My commute along Auburn Avenue passes the Ellingson Lumber Co. mill site, a flat and open expanse where the gales can propel tumbleweeds to a respectable speed.
The big numbers painted on the outside west wall of the Powder Valley High School gym tell the story of Badger basketball.
Each pair of numbers denotes the year a Badger sports team won a state championship.
Powder Valley has been a consistent contender competing against Oregon’s smaller high schools, those with an enrollment of 105 or less.
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