Aug 14, 2009

Vernonia, OR: Another Day at Work

Driving into Vernonia (http://www.vernonia-or.gov/), you see a sign that says, "Home of the AX Men" which is clearly at least one thing that put them on the map.  Thank you Discovery Channel. I sat for 8 hours outside a location that shall remain nameless, given the fact that Vernonia isn't exactly a bustling metropolis. What struck me about the city is that they are close enough to Portland to be jaded, yet entirely still innocent despite their recent other claims to fame (think flooding). Bikes were parked outside stores, just thrown somewhat haphazardly and get this, UNLOCKED! And, no one stole them! I saw a few REAL LIFE loggers! It was like stepping back into my childhood as I remembered my Dad walking into the house, red suspenders holding up pants that were always too short. My Dad was classy and he'd come home not in the cork boots but in his velco'd tennis shoes. Which, I must admit, was quite attractive, think short pants, velcro shoes. Its a wonder I had any friends at all. But I digress. 

Vernonia is a pretty little town where people actually stroll down the street walking their dogs, ON LEASHES! They stop for coffee, bring their reusable bags to the local market, and smile. They hang out at the post office and park their motorcycles on the side of the street while they talk to neighbors who sit on benches in front of the hardware store. It is the quintessential little town. Where everyone knows your name and everyone cares what you're doing. 

Yet, I was able to sit in a parking lot for over 8 hours, watching every moment, every lifted truck pull in, every logger get coffee. I watched people buy eggs, get their mail, walk their dogs, chat with friends. I watched the mail be delivered down main street, and log trucks roll by. I even watched a man with Montana plates walk to the potapotty, realize there was no toilet paper, walk to his car, scavenge through the cab looking for a suitable wiping device, and then walk back to the portapotty! (I noticed this because he was kind of cute, I must admit, and I was quite bored at that point and thought I should give him some napkins but then realized THAT wasn't how I wanted to meet my future husband...) 

I am constantly amazed how we sit on the outside, watching people go about their lives and yet no one notices. No one seems to pay attention. I think of children I've seen playing in their front yards...children I've noticed off and on for sometimes hours...and realize how easy it is for people with bad intentions to do the unthinkable. And I wonder, what kind of parent lets their kids do that? What kind of parent doesn't notice the car parked on the street, tinted windows and even sometimes, the AC blowing and the car running? 

At some point, take a ride to Vernonia. A beautiful motorcycle ride that would be! Invite me! And at all points, even when you think you're at home and no one is around, take a second look. Check out who's parked where. If you see a strange car with dark tinted windows, it could be me. It could also be someone else, so pay attention and hold your children close.

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