The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By S. Kearns
Centerville 

Please have some courtesy

 


Though I did not grow up here in Klickitat County, I did grow up in an area very similar to this, and hence part of the reason I ultimately decided to settle here. The majority of folks I have personally encountered in our communities in this beautiful county are, for the most part, friendly, outgoing, courteous, and polite. However, I have noticed that some folks in these parts, appear to be lacking some of these attributes, and think or feel that they are “better” or more “entitled” than the rest of the population.

Where I grew up, if you had to go through someone’s farm or ranch gate, you left the gate as you found it (if you open it, you close, it and vice versa). And if you had to drive livestock past someone’s property or gated drive, you ensured that you had enough outriders to try and prevent your livestock from entering their property. This was common practice and considered polite and being a good neighbor. For the past two years I have experienced a noted lack of this courtesy, on the part of some folks.

As many of us know, livestock do not always do what we want, and therefore occasionally get out of control. But for the animals to go through an open gate, travel 200-300 yards uphill and back to the rear of the property to help themselves to the hay stacked in the barn, or feast on the flora in the flower beds and gardens, and then leave their “pies” to fertilize the front yard of the house, it is not the animal being mischievous or errant. Rather, it’s more a complete lack of respect and attention on the part of the team of humans driving the herd. In this case coming home to find my lawn “fertilized” in this manner was not pleasant. I prefer my manure to be a bit more “seasoned.” I also personally witnessed a distinct lack of “helpers” on another drive, whether two-legged or four-legged, that if I had not been home and gone down to close the driveway gate myself, would have probably resulted in a repeat performance of the previous year. The fact that there did not appear to even be an attempt to apologize or make amends, actually feels pretty disrespectful and leaves a strong perception of entitlement.

I respect that your great-great-great grandparents pioneered and settled this area, and that you have every right to be proud of that family achievement. But just because their DNA is in your veins does not automatically make you of the same caliber of people as they were. Ancestry does not engender entitlement, regardless if you are the progeny of Asian royalty or European money. That was the common thread of the American West as it was being settled. It did not matter where you came from, or who you were before—what mattered was what you accomplished since arriving, and how you treated your neighbors.

To approach this topic from a different direction, I am not going to preach, but the “Greatest Commandment” of the New Testament does come to mind. If I don’t want your animals leaving their waste deposits in my yard, while they are enjoying the fruits of my gardens, then I sure as heck should be making sure that I keep my critters out of your gardens and clean up after them, when the “call of nature” comes forth, while passing your property.

On a parallel tangent, I have also heard quite a few mumbled comments and disparaging remarks about the “outsiders” moving into this area. Personally I would think most people would feel honored and proud when people who did not grow up in this county might decide that this is the place where they want to put down their roots, raise their children, and spend their years—especially if they are deciding to shop, invest, or build a business in our community.

I am not going to call anyone out personally, not because I am afraid or intimidated by anyone but because my friends and neighbors do not want to deal with the aftermath of someone else’s public embarrassment. The hope in my writing this letter is that we as a community, might think a little more on how we interact with our neighbors and acquaintances, and possibly reengage some of the rapidly disappearing common politeness and attitudes of our ancestors. This goes for everyone, whether we live in town, or out in the sticks. I appreciate the time and effort of those that live and work here, to read and consider this letter. Hope you have a fantastic day.

 

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