Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greetings from the Valley

I'm calling this blog "Piece from the Valley, because it is just that...a piece written from specifically the Clearwater Valley which is nestled in the North Central Idaho along the Clearwater River. I live in Orofino. Population somewhere around 3700.  It's a beautiful place to live, recreate, raise kids, and shoot animals for fun and freezer filling.

I am what I like to call a lifer. That would be someone who was born and raised here in this general area all his/her life. Hmmm. My maternal grandmother was a lifer. My mother, her brother, my brother, my husband, one son, and a bevy of cousins... all lifers. All without the stigma of incest, too. Many of my friends and relatives cashed their first paychecks and fled. And sometimes they return to revel in their golden years here in this peaceful valley. We lifers let them come back. After all, they have big retirement checks deposited to their checking accounts every month, money to spend in our stores and eateries, and they can help educate our kids. Perfect.

At one time this community was a loggin' town or so the folks thought. Little attention was paid to the fact that the surrounding areas were littered with farms. A prison and a mental hospital employed a whole lot of people, and a bunch of federal and other state jobs contributed to the workforce. Let's not forget tourism.

One day someone got the not really brilliant idea of calling Orofino the Steelhead Capital of the World. If you look that up on the internet you'll find it's one of many Steelhead Capitals of the World. By many, I mean hundreds. Nevertheless steelhead fishing is thriving here on the Clearwater River. It would appear that the 'Steelhead Capital' tag worked its magic in getting the tourists to mosey into town. They bring their fishing boats, poles, assorted tackle and an occasionally, a wife. Luckily for the proprietors of sporting goods shops they usually don't bring just the right hook or lure or the current gadget for catching the 'big one'.
Personally, I'm not into fishing. But I have no problem eating the fish someone else catches. So you might see me down by the river trying to hustle freshly caught fish from anyone lucky enough to have caught one. I'll be the one wearing the big, goofy hat.