The spirit of Seneca Falls

The spirit of Seneca Falls

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. — Here’s what it’s like to spend a weekend at the Wonderful Life Festival in Seneca Falls, N.Y. You’re waiting for a table at Parker’s Grille and Taphouse when a stranger leans over to you and says: “What I don’t get is how Mary manages to have bought a house in the hour between George and she getting married and when he shows up for dinner that night. And , sure Uncle Billy wasn’t...

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Earning my Wonderful Life wings

Earning my Wonderful Life wings

Pacific Continental Bank in my home town of Eugene has an interesting requirement for all new employees going through their orientation: they must watch It’s a Wonderful Life from start to finish. “The message in that film is the message we want our employees to come to work with every day,” says Dean Hansen, senior vice president & relationship manager. “The idea that our actions make a difference in the community around us.” I...

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Back to the woods and rivers

Back to the woods and rivers

On August 20, 1905, Oregon wilderness wanderer John Waldo wrote a journal entry from the east slope of Mount Jefferson. In it, he quoted one of his two favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson (the other being Thoreau): “In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth.” After last summer’s hike of the Oregon’s...

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The best 25 columns of all time

A WHILE BACK, Ed Russo, a Register-Guard colleague, suggested we read a book called Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns and each choose our favorites. Great fun. Great inspiration. And a great sense that old-school columnists may have done it better than us contemporary folks. Six of my top 20 were written in 1953 or earlier. Only two were written since 2005. I was interested to note how my bias was toward columns about...

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New book came easier than ‘Nightingale’

Some books come hard. American Nightingale had a longer gestation period than a camel. Information only came grudgingly. In my third day of trying to get Frances Slanger’s 1930s school records, I got transferred to a janitor in the Boston School District’s boiler room. In all, I spent nearly two years researching Nightingale. Ah, but some books come more easily. Last spring, in my post-Beachside Writers recovery week in Yachats, I read Laura...

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‘Generations’: Music inspired by a book I wrote

A Eugene man, Dale Bradley, recently wrote me to say a piece of music he wrote was inspired by a book of mine he’d found at a garage sale. I was honored. Humbled. Stoked. No, not because someone had found my book at a garage sale — they’re my No. 1 outlet! — but that someone had written a song after reading A Father for All Seasons. The out-of-print book was written in 1998 after my father had died at 72 and my older son, Ryan,...

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