Well folks, the time has come. I started writing this column in 2013 and have really enjoyed working with the staff at the Chieftain. Thank you all for the many compliments about my column. I have tried to deliver a good one every time.

However, I am running low on delivering a quality product pertinent to this county. After re-reading the last column I planned on delivering I came to the conclusion that you deserved better. It was pretty poor quality and I think I may be running out of ammunition.

If I lived somewhere else, I probably would have submitted it but I live in Wallowa County where we expect writing deserving of the beauty we live with and the people who live here. Also, it’s time for one of the many talented writers in the county to step up and give us a fresh view or maybe piss us off.

I often refer to Wallowa County as the land of Cowboys and Communists. My way of describing the liberals and conservatives. The amazing thing is they seem to get along, tolerate each other and even really like each other. You see flat-bed pickups and Subaru cars in the same parking lot and people in cowboy hats having a drink with some artist or writer wearing one of those stupid Subaru hats.

Since I moved here in 2005, I have met only two people I don’t like and they know who they are. The rest are the best. We live in a county of seven thousand and are drowning in talent. I would match this county per capita against any for top quality Artists, Writers, Sculptors, Poets, Musicians and Straight Thinkers. It seems the rest of the world has become so emotionally weak they spend most of their time prowling around as if they are the politically correct police searching for someone to offend them. Too bad they can’t find a sense of humor and get a life.

I think Ellen, the new editor, has done a great job improving the Chieftain and I hope you all will support our local paper. I especially enjoy reading the columns written by Rich Wandschneider and Jon Rombach. These guys write as good as any columnist in major newspapers and write about stuff you will never find anywhere else.

I regularly attend the Fishtrap fireside get togethers the first Friday of each winter month. Three local writers read something they have written and they have open mike after the break. It is pretty amazing and you are apt to hear some good writing and poetry. My experience with poetry has been pretty much limited to dirty limericks. I think living in this county is inspirational though and I am trying to do better. So, here is a poem about a place I love.

The Zumwalt

Listen as the sun slips below the rim

When the sweeping winds fall to a sigh

To whispers of wealth from this prairie

Where the green bunchgrass stands high

The cowboy feels the promise

Beneath his wagon tarp

Hearing the siren wind song

Strummed on a sagebrush harp

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