Picture this: the weather is perfect in the Blue Mountains: blue sky, a few puffy clouds, springtime with the rivers running free. Down at the little green schoolhouse the flag flutters in a gentle breeze.

Outside on the well-kept lawn residents from all over the county wait expectantly. The students, teachers, board members and custodians are front and center as four Black Hawk helicopters slowly descend. The newest, shiniest lands closest to the school. Surrounded by grey-suited men in dark glasses the trim man wearing a broad-rimmed hat and shiny boots adorned with the presidential seal walks briskly down the steps to ground level, turns to assist his lady, attired in a pastel pants suit, and with a familiar grin waves to one and all.

Fantasy? Not if you talk to Sophia, Luis and Salvadore, who wrote personal invitations to George W. and Laura Bush to come visit their school. After all, hadn't their school scored 100 percent on the Oregon Schools report card?

And anything is possible if you listen to the teachers, do your classwork and study hard. Who would've believed the whole school: students, teachers, parents and siblings would take a ski holiday to McCall, Idaho on Jan. 30?

School was fun and there wasn't anything too difficult to learn. Hadn't they discovered the mysteries of gravitational pull by watching a marble move along the schoolhouse floor? And the wonders of oceanography, with each student adopting a marine animal and constructing a suitable habitat.

Teacher Stephanie Haggard shared the joys of scuba diving with them through her own experience. The explanation and demonstration of plate tectonics helped the students deal with the horrific pictures appearing in the daily news when a tsunami hit on the other side of the ocean.

And not only through school work, but by the year-round access to the library through the efforts of librarians Conni Curry, and Susan Polamsky. Conni said the library recycles books throughout the county, with a major turnover two or three times a year.

Recently, five bags of books were returned and six bags received, including some children's books in Spanish. With our current enrollment of Mexican children these efforts are much appreciated.

As to what the not so desperate housewives of the North End are doing, Bonnie Pierce said Lila Moore has recovered quite a bit from the accident when her car went out of control on the ice, rolled over and kept her trapped inside until a crew managed to rescue her.

Bonnie passed along the word that not too much was going on at the Grange in Flora, which meets on the third Wednesday of the month. Yet, come good weather, there is a $10,000 grant to be spent, which will pay for major repairs to the foundation.

Bonnie was excited about her new Brother computerized sewing machine, which doesn't require bobbins. She passed along her faithful old Singer to her daughter. On an unexpected sunny day Bonnie picked up Iris Mallory and they took a ride down to the river where they saw some deer, fishermen and said hello to Mike Odom.

In a phone visit with Annie Novak, home from a week's visit with Don and Sue Bento in Lewiston, Annie said she was using the "inside time" to clean closets and whenever the sun came out she took her dog Megan for long walks. She also said that while the Shilo is closed, someone manages to open the doors and make coffee for the card players who come down on Thursdays to meet the garbage truck and pick up their mail.

So it goes for the stalwart, year-round residents of the North End. Spring really is just a couple of months away. Until then, stay healthy and close to a good fire.

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