Dec 31, 2008

Lamont In 2008 – The Year In Review

The Town of Lamont accomplished a large number of goals in 2008 that everyone should be proud of. We managed to put in place a good core team of volunteers and people willing to step up to help this community accomplish what needed to be done, and thankfully that list of volunteers is so long it cannot be listed here. (that is a good thing). In summary, here are some of the highlights that will provide real benefits for years to come. (if you think about it, that is quite a list!)

1) Lamont Centennial Festival – The town put on an outrageously successful festival that brought a huge crowd (for us) and one that was the envy for miles around. We had a wonderful parade, outstanding food, great music, and a successful auction for the community center (who can forget Art Swannack hamming it up with no prior notice?) The next festival will be in 2010 so if you want to help, we would love that!

2) Lamont Road Project – Lamont paved a large percentage of our surface streets and now has modern sidewalks, curbs, roadways and rainwater drainage connecting all of the major functions in town (school, fire station, community center, church) previously serviced by gravel roads. Century West Engineering has demonstrated again what a first class organization they are – and a special thanks goes to the TIB and Greg Partch for their roles in funding this important addition to the Town.

3) New Flagpole – Although many hands went into the effort, Dale Windsor deserves the lion’s share of the credit for making this nice addition become reality. Lamont held a moving flag raising ceremony with the naval cadets (and who could forget the Sea Cadets? – if they did not rush out of here they all would have been spirited away by grandmothers who thought they were so darn cute) Cathy Ulrich gets our thanks for a beautiful job of singing at the ceremony – and let’s not forget Betty Stone for actually acquiring the flags. What a testament to small town teamwork!

4) Park Improvements - Lamont put in a new picnic table slab, and thanks to Mrs. Shields, we got another picnic table for people to enjoy in the park. The park lost a few old trees but got 6 new, beautiful ones in their place. The park continued to be improved and enhanced so that all of our citizens and guests can have a fun, relaxing, safe place to go.

5) Finally, 2008 was the first year that less than 50% of the population cut their own hair, we formally ended the settling of disputes by seeing who could wrestle a bull to the ground (especially for the hand of a lady) and finally dropped the 'tobacco spitting' component from the Miss Teen Lamont competition. Although it is heart rendering to lose these time tested traditions that made this country great, even bastions of Americana like Lamont must relinquish some things in order to embrace the modern age. So, we will mark their passing but still look forward to 2009. (This paragraph is a parody!)

2009 will be another active year (hopefully less so) where Lamont (with the fire folks) will attempt to get a new fire station, develop more cultural outreach programs, plant trees, improve the gravel roads (while working on funding to get them paved) and continue an active maintenance program on our buildings, water system and facilities – and will hopefully be able to put a roof over the fire pit so it can get year round use. So, have a safe, happy New Year and may 2009 be as good as 2008 for Lamont!

Dec 27, 2008

Local Man Has To Borrow Snow Shovel To Dig Way To Garage To Get Own Snow Shovel

In an ironic twist of circumstances that harkens back to the classic "Chicken and Egg" debate that has been raging for centuries, a local man was forced to leave the warm, reclusive confines of his abode and interact with neighbors for the first time since September in order to borrow the neighbor's snow shovel so that he could hack a path to his garage (and thus to his tools) that had drifted over in the latest onslaught in what has been by all accounts a very snowy winter. "Well, I had just finished shoveling my walkway when my neighbor came over and presented me with his unique dilemma" said the good neighbor. "Although I was glad to loan my shovel to him, and even offered to assist, I could not help but ponder the philosophical and logistical intangibles that this problem presented, as well as cast a casual eye on the fact that the only time he ever comes over to talk to me is when he needs something" said the man. "I am always happy to lend a hand, but it would be nice if he came over once in a while for coffee or just to say hello" he said.

The man, after borrowing the snow shovel, contemplated bringing the 'good neighbor' cookies his wife had just baked as a way of saying 'thanks', but instead just decided to sneak over and leave the shovel propped by the side door so that it would be easily found the next time his neighbor ventured outside for whatever reason. The final thought the man had was that he hoped no one would steal the shovel in the meantime, thus presenting the impression that the shovel was never returned and necessitating another social interaction when the neighbor came over to reclaim it - probably the next time a blizzard hit - which, given the current winter we are having, would more than likely be in a day or two.

Dec 25, 2008

Councilwoman’s Cat Now Down To Just Two Lives

A local councilwoman, long known as a champion of animal rights and a citizen of some renown for her work in rescuing neglected, abused and mistreated animals in the Tri-County area, was faced with an incident much closer to home that is sure to make cat lovers the world over pale with sympathetic horror. “Well, the details are still fuzzy, but it would appear that the councilwoman (we shall refer to her as ‘Councilwoman X’ in order to maintain her anonymity – although her name is not Ruth or Betty) saw a large, menacing raccoon in her garage at approximately 5:10 AM on the way to her morning constitutional” said a local insider familiar with the case. “Acting with her usual decision and verve, Councilwoman X (who is not named Ruth or Betty) immediately slammed the door; thus trapping the dangerous beast inside until her husband could be notified and would arrange, in Mafia-like fashion, a trip for the raccoon to go ‘swim with the fishes’.

“Well, things became complicated soon after because, unbeknown to her, one of her cats was in the garage at the time of the door slamming and was forced to spend several nerve-wracking hours locked inside with a claustrophobic and angry (not to mention hungry) hunter/scavenger hell bent on getting even with his jailers” said the insider. “One shudders at the minute-by-minute feelings of horror and betrayal that this poor cat must have felt as it struggled for survival and fought against the natural feelings of disdain that all cats feel for other living things besides themselves.” he said. “So, when Councilwoman X’s husband rose for the day and was given the assignment to make the raccoon “disappear’, he, of course, had no idea that the much-loved house pet was locked in the garage with a dangerous wild animal.”

As the man (We shall refer to him as ‘Husband X’, although he is not married to Ruth or Betty) inched his way towards the garage door, snub-nose in hand (serial numbers had been removed, of course), one can only guess at his state of mind as he cracked the door open a few inches to gauge the situation and a boiling, furry, highly motivated blur came bolting out of the gap directly at his lower torso - achieving land speeds only previously attained by the cat’s distant cousin, the cheetah. (there is some lingering confusion as to whether fuzzy slippers or the more traditional, time-tested cowboy boots were in evidence at the time of the confrontation) “Well, it is a testament to his steely nerves and devotion to mission that he just did not begin blasting away wildly at this unexpected intrusion into his otherwise peaceful and relaxing morning” said the insider. (A lesser man would have screamed like a school girl and/or had to change his shorts after emptying the gun in blind terror) Although details of this story are still vague, no one has seen the raccoon again and the cat, although physically unharmed, has not come within 20 yards of the garage or ‘Husband X’ ever since (classic signs of ‘Post-Raccoon Stress Syndrome), although, in fact, that doggone wife of Husband X is the one who started this whole mess in the first place!!

Dec 12, 2008

Lamont Poetry Contest - Enter Now, Brown Cow!!

In support of the 'cowboy philosopher' and 'farmer bard' traditions that have so enriched western culture since man emerged from being a lowly, grunting, outrageously malodorous hunter-gatherer scratching a living off berries and roots in order to flavor a dismal stew of gopher or barn swallow (oddly enough, that bird has always been called the barn swallow, although barns had not been invented yet since nobody grew wheat to store in barns - so theories abound that the original name was 'darn swallow' but the first person to write down the bird's name had a mild form of dyslexia or something), the Town of Lamont would like to foster this self-reinforcing tradition by sponsoring a poetry contest. So, why not share those pithy 'plays-on-words' and limericks you come up with as you are pushing that same 20 head back to the corral after they escaped because your good-for-nothing brother-in-law can't put up a fence worth beans or that haiku that just popped in your head as you were tilling that last 40 acres out by the Pott's place that, in fact, belongs to your neighbor but you farm it anyway because he is not smart enough to know the difference. Just for the record, the Lamont Grain Growers are not sponsors of this event, we just put their picture in there to prove that Lamont does indeed have an employer, regardless of what nay-sayers like 'Tim from Idaho' say. (in your face, Tim!) So, you can leave your poem by selecting the "comments' button below this article. Good luck - and remember - a day without farmer/rancher poetry is like a combine without shock absorbers - you can still get by - but oh, what a pain in the rear end that would be!

(When you leave a comment, select the 'Name/URL' option and just type in your name (or nickname) - no URL is required. That will make sense once you are in there - and let's everyone know who you are)

Dec 11, 2008

Art Boutain – Loyal Lamont Grain Grower’s Employee Or International Man Of Mystery?

The Town of Lamont was stunned to learn that Art Boutain was an actual person and not just some legend or myth maintained in our popular culture by a media machine hell-bent on creating archetypal figures to fill our popular imaginations in order to sell action figures and video games to millions of young people looking for heroic role models to fill their empty, meaning-starved lives. “Well, I got a call to come over to the Grain Growers for some reason, and as I made my way towards their door, without a care in the world, all of a sudden this man came up to me, shook my hand and introduced himself as ‘Art Boutain’” said the still stunned and skeptical mayor. “I must have just stared at him with open-mouthed disbelief because he immediately followed up with ‘No, really, I am Art Boutain’.”

“Well, being the Mayor of a small town in Eastern Washington has its share of unique and decidedly mind-boggling moments, so I am usually prepared for just about anything that pops out of the bushes at me – like the time that Councilman got attacked by that nest of crazed wiener dogs – but coming to the realization, after all this time, that this illusive and obviously discrete character was really flesh and bones and not some imaginary creation like an Indiana Jones or Luke Skywalker or whatever was a little much to digest” he said. “I mean, I had met his ‘wife’ – or the woman who said she was married to “Art Boutain” at one of the Lamont Movie Nights – but just because a person says something like that does not mean that it is true or that her supposed ‘spouse’ is even a real person. There are a lot of people who have claimed to have seen “Bigfoot” too, but that does not mean that a big, hairy, North American man-ape lives in the forests of Northern California, does it? So as I inched my way cautiously towards the Grain Grower’s door, every nerve poised for a dramatic ‘fight or flight’ response’ in case this man calling himself 'Art Boutain' made any sudden, hostile moves, when all of a sudden that pillar of productivity and town go-getter Ron Dixon came around the corner and said “Are you ready to go, Art?”. Although he did not actually use the whole name “Art Boutain” – that was enough to convince me that this man, long rumored to exist but forever lurking in the shadows like some grain-growing “Invisible Man” might, indeed, be a real person. I just wish I would have thought to ask for several forms of ID, but I was too stunned to follow that evidentiary rabbit trail to its logical conclusion.”

Dec 9, 2008

Holiday Songs And Important Life Lessons (Pastoral Humor)

Once upon a time, a bunch of chess nerds were holding a big chess tournament in one of those big towns where they have actual Convention Centers and Fire Marshals. (as opposed to Lamont where we have the Community Center and some old guy with a garden hose) Anyway, as so often happens with chess enthusiasts, the competitive furor rose to such a fever pitch that, in order to avoid bloodshed, the most boisterous of the players would congregate in the hall outside the tournament room to blow off steam. During these gatherings they would make disparaging comments about the other player’s pocket protectors and high-water pants (or lack thereof) and tell off-color jokes with punch lines that ended with such side-splitters as “Queen to Bishop 4” (and they would all die laughing). Anyway.

As these gatherings became more frequent, the nerds gradually moved farther and farther down the hall until they were by the exit door. One day the Fire Marshall was leaving a meeting on proper fire truck maintenance or whatever and saw the nerds bunched up by the exit – in clear violation of the existing fire codes. So rather than confront these rebels and risk bodily injury, the Marshall just went back to the fire station and printed up the following sign. “No Chess Nuts Loitering In An Open Foyer.” Luckily, the Tournament ended that day and there was no need to directly confront the ever-dangerous nerds.

Dec 8, 2008

Entire Town Stunned And Saddened After Tragic Loss - Worse Disaster Thankfully Avoided

The Town of Lamont received an unexpected yet staggering blow this week after a series of improbable miscues occurred simultaneously and the 'winds of ill-omen" blew their gusty mischief outside of the Community Center in the late morning of December 7th, 2008. "Well, the details are still sketchy, but it appears that one of the 'Pillars of the Palouse', while dropping off a hot dish for the potluck before church, was attempting to open the locked door with one hand while balancing a smooth, creamy, historically delicious casserole dish in the other. Thru a combination of bad luck, Murphy's Law and no small amount of meddlesome intervention by Chaos himself, somehow the highly prized and unbelievably tantalizing and aromatic casserole made a nose dive onto the sidewalk - carrying the kitchen icon's favorite baking dish with it" said a stunned and shaken bachelor who is all thumbs in the kitchen and unfortunately saw the remains of the melted cheese by the doorjamb. "Oh, the horror! Who is ever prepared for a sight like that on an empty stomach? It was enough to break your heart! I waited all month for that smooth yet savory concoction of indescribable deliciousness. I guess I'll have to double up on green bean casserole now. Life can be so unmerciful, so cruel!." he said. "Nobody makes a casserole like (name deleted to avoid litigation)

"It is in times like these that we all need to band together, console each other and just try to pick up the pieces, literally and figuratively, and move past this" said the Mayor. "Although a tragedy in every sense of the word, all of us are just thankful that it was that poor casserole that had to be sacrificed on the alter of life's little foibles and not the world famous 'Chocolate Lush' that was in the van waiting to be unloaded. If the Chocolate Lush had been lost to the cruel whims of fancy, the Town would have had to break out the black arm-bands and do that whole 'flag at half mast' thing. That would be unfortunate in the Christmas season." said the subdued and introspective Mayor who can't manage to bring anything more complicated to a potluck than Deviled Eggs - although he does put a dash of paprika on them for that extra fancy touch. "Going to the dessert table for a delicious, cool, creamy, rich piece of Chocolate Lush is the best way to begin the actual healing process - and I encourage all the citizens to join me there about 1:45 or so. We need to just pick ourselves up, be thankful for what we indeed do have and go back for seconds, if necessary" he said.

Dec 5, 2008

Heroic Coyote Does Rancher A Favor By Slaughtering Trouble-Making, Rabble-Rousing Calf

Although known as a pest and usually shot on sight, a local coyote (Canis latrans) provided a much needed boost to the herd's (to say nothing of the rancher's) morale after sneaking up on, killing and consuming (along with her cute litter of playful, energetic, 'always-a-handful' pups) over half of a juvenile delinquent calf that, while alive, had done nothing but cause trouble and break his poor mother's heart since he was born out behind the salt lick in the late Winter of 2008. "Well, although coyotes and I very seldom see eye-to-eye, I have to tip my Stetson to that low-end yet resourceful predator for taking that little troublemaker off my hands and freeing the herd from his insidious, mischief-making influence" said Festus Martin, 56, a local rancher. "It seemed like every time I turned around, that no-good calf was instigating a stampede, showing the other cows that hole in the fence or 'relieving himself' right on top of the new hay I put out. And don't even get me started on his role in getting the other calves to eat that cursed "Locoweed" for its mild, hallucinatory effects. That calf was just rotten, thru and thru" said the relieved rancher. Although at the present time there is an unofficial truce (a honeymoon, if you will) between the opportunistic predator and the overburdened rancher who is just thankful to have one less problem on his plate, local Grange insiders predict that within a few short weeks this new-found truce will break down and the civic-minded coyote will once again be blasted on sight, should the opportunity present itself.

Dec 2, 2008

Area Sunday School Teacher Hasn't Seen Bible In Almost A Week

In one of life's cruel and pointed ironies, a local Sunday School teacher and longtime church-goer has not been able to find the Good Book since, on a whim, he decided that the living room needed to be rearranged to take advantage of the reduced Winter sunlight. "Well, I was watching that TV show where people come over and fix up your house, and then I came to the realization that my chair was off in a gloomy corner that ran counter to my above average holiday spirit and Christmas cheer. But in order to move my chair I had to switch some other furniture around, and before I knew it my entire life was turned upside down, my Bible was gone and no one has seen the cat for almost a week!” said the unfortunate Bible browser. "In retrospect, I was obviously torn between two conflicting world views - the first being about idle hands and the devil's workshop - and the other having to do with letting sleeping dogs lay. Well, I guess we can say that that sleeping dog really took a bite out of the part of me that just wanted to sit in my favorite chair with a modest amount of sunlight, for Pete's sake!!!" said the babbler of bible verses.

Although originally pointing the finger of blame at Lucifer or one of his minions that, as everyone knows, are hell bent on casting all of mankind into the eternal lake of fire, the student of the scriptures could not in fact remember where he set the bible down or if, indeed, he even remembered to bring it home from the Sunday School room. "It is in trying times like this that I love nothing more than sitting in my favorite chair with the Good Book and recharging my spiritual batteries with a nice warm cat in my lap” said the now rudderless man. “Oh, what hellish manipulation of life's simple pleasures has been wrought upon me this day!" he bellowed to no one in particular. Although one of the less bright, dog-loving citizens of the Town is postulating that the cat, as an obvious historical cohort of the devil (and witches, too) is the one who ran off with the bible in order to sow discord and strife, the current body of evidence cannot lend credence to this well-worn and obviously technically impossible theory – although it is gathering adherents amongst certain dog-owning segments of the local community. When asked, a local cat spokesman called this assertion outrageous, scurrilous and bordering on blatant “felinism” and said that those hate-mongering dog-people should be ashamed of themselves. The dog spokesman had no comment, but just sat there at his master’s feet, contentedly thumping his tail into the carpet with barely restrained glee while looking up with those sad, seemingly innocent, yet undeniably guilty eyes.