“Man makes plans, and God laughs.” This has been a recurring theme in my life. I’ll be convinced a certain plan of action is exactly what I need to do, and then discover that is not true at all.
A couple of months ago, I notified Chieftain editor Paul Wahl that I wouldn’t be writing this column anymore, and he graciously provided two more columns for my exit. Today’s column would have been my last, but fortunately, I will be continuing my stories of pinnacles and pitfalls as I explore becoming a Wallowa Gal in this incredible place.
Before my readers and I continue on this adventure, I want to offer an explanation of why I thought at the time ending this column was a good idea.
I was stalked by a guy and the experience so scared me, I thought my only recourse was to move.
That’s what creeps enjoy, using the power of intimidation to create fear in another and watch their reaction. From his fixation on me, my alarm created tunnel vision, thinking I had no friends here, that I didn’t belong.
I thought my only option was to bail out and throw away my work with the Wallowa County Museum History book, regretfully leaving behind a great committee when we are so close to sending it to the publisher.
I’ve also been helping with a fundraiser for a local veteran and was going to walk away from that. I was going to leave this place and people that I have grown to love and get to share stories with in this column. Even my faith went out the window, at least for a while. Terrorize and isolate. That’s what creeps do.
My fear of the stalker battled with my longing to stay, and I did something I’ve never done before. I told my friends what was going on. One gal said, “Do you want me to straighten him out?”
This one offer gave me the courage to say, “Let me try first. You can be my backup.”
I told him to leave me alone. “No” is such a powerful word when you know you mean it, even though your knees are shaking. He made a couple more creepy appearances from a distance, but I haven’t seen him since.
I appreciate so much the kind comments of readers I’ve met on the streets.
“I’m sorry you’re not going to do the column anymore.” “I really enjoy your column. It’s so topical.” Words such as these gave me the courage to ask Paul if I could continue writing Wallowa Gal. He said “yes.” Thank you, Paul. And thank you, readers of Wallowa Gal.
Early on, in writing this column, I met a much respected Wallowa Countian in her 90s.
“I’ve been reading your column,” she said. I couldn’t tell if she liked it or not, so I asked, “What do you think of it?” “You’ll hear about it if you get off track.” (This still makes me laugh.)
So, Wallowa County, I’m staying. Until I hear otherwise.
Katherine Stickroth is a freelance writer who blogs at awallowagal.com.