The Blue Mountain eagle. (John Day, Or.) 1972-current, February 19, 2020, Page 4, Image 4

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Blue Mountain Eagle
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
The legacy
of George
Washington and
Abraham Lincoln
onday’s commemo-
ration of Presidents
Day was a moment
to pause and reflect on the
legacy of George Washington
and Abraham Lincoln.
Both were living proof
of the adage, “commeth the
moment, commeth the man.”
But the passing of centuries has
indicated there was more depth
to them than any recent occu-
pant of the Oval Office.
They did not live in an
instant, Twitter age. Their
innermost thoughts appeared
only in legislation, speeches
and letters, the latter sometimes
only revealed decades after
their deaths. Historians have
agonized over their words for
clues to their character. Perhaps
inevitably, their stature has
risen as time has passed.
More books have been writ-
ten about Lincoln than any
other American. And with good
reason. Preserving the Union
from a north-south breakup and
freeing the slaves must rate as
significant as declaring inde-
pendence from King George III
and embarking on this remark-
able experiment.
Marking the first president’s
birthday was born of an era in
which the memory of Wash-
ington was nurtured and vener-
ated. His restraint in resigning
his officer’s commission before
becoming president then leav-
ing the presidency after two
terms was the essence of how
he built our nation, historians
have noted.
So there is good reason to
study their lives. In perilous
times, Washington and Lincoln
showed us the way. In doing
so, they defined America, and
they set a standard by which
their successors should be
judged. If we lose sight of their
example, we will be doomed to
a succession of deeply flawed,
mediocre presidents.
In the modern era, histori-
ans have dissected the lives
of Harry Truman and Dwight
Eisenhower. Both men have
come out favorably. The moral-
ity of Truman’s decision to
use the atomic bomb on Jap-
anese cities — taking civil-
ian lives to save military lives
— is debated more outside
the United States than within.
But he was a man of his time,
placed in charge by Franklin D.
Roosevelt’s death and acting in
his best conscience.
Eisenhower’s often-quoted
departing remarks were
among the most memorable
of speeches during the entire
last century. “In the coun-
cils of government, we must
guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether
sought or unsought, by the mil-
itary-industrial complex,” he
said. “The potential for the
disastrous rise of misplaced
power exists and will persist.”
And in the same 1961 fare-
well address, he also cautioned,
“We cannot mortgage the mate-
rial assets of our grandchildren
without risking the loss also of
their political and spiritual her-
itage. We want democracy to
survive for all generations to
come, not to become the insol-
vent phantom of tomorrow.”
These remarks addressed
escalating military budgets and
the burdensome national debt
with striking clarity and fore-
sight. Almost 60 years later, it
is a cause for regret that we are
still wrestling with both.
Since Ike’s day, our modern
presidents have seemed a tad
more flawed, in part because
more sophisticated and broader
media coverage has revealed
their shortcomings.
Today, the role of presi-
dent of the United States exists
in a fast-changing world. The
parameters of the influence of
the other superpowers, Rus-
sia and China, wax and wane
with every news cycle. Europe
is in a state of flux with the
departure of Great Britain
from its political union. South
America’s long-predicted rise
to significant clout in world
affairs still has not properly
In this context, the man or
woman we elect to go to work
in the Oval Office juggles
weighty domestic and interna-
tional issues in a fishbowl. We
can see all their flaws and often
know their innermost thoughts
with striking, sometimes trou-
blesome, clarity.
It is therefore timely that we
should pause at least once a
year to ask: What would Wash-
ington do? What would Lin-
coln do?
The answers to those theo-
retical questions should help
provide a grounding. Per-
haps no human in the White
House will ever measure up
to those two immortals. But
they offer an example of ser-
vice with humility that we
could all embrace, and that is
severely lacking in 2020’s cur-
rent strategies.
Blue Mountain
Published every
Wednesday by
Work hard, love harder
erchuck... kerchunk...
The baler plunger
rhythmically rocked the tractor
forward and back. I blinked hard,
trying to wipe away the sleep from
my eyes. I squint into the dark at
the rows of oat hay gleaming in
the tractor headlights. I am almost
to the top of the hill. I look around
to see where the other tractor is
— and in that moment, the baler
plugs up. We had rented another
tractor and baler, and apparently
neither of the machines were very
happy about the arrangement. The
baler refused to eat the oats, and
the tractor seemed indifferent to
either of us.
The pick up reel was still spin-
ning, so I assumed there were no
broken bolts — it had just plugged
up. I shut the PTO off, and picked
up the phone to call my husband for
help. Cleaning out the chamber is a
nasty, miserable job, and, well, mis-
ery loves company. He answers as
I throttle the tractor down, and start
looking for my boots. While every-
one else shows up for nighttime bal-
ing in the same outfit as their day-
time baling, I am not embarrassed at
all to be sporting pajamas and slip-
pers. I slide one boot on and open
the tractor door, stepping down onto
the first rung.
“I don’t think anything broke. It’s
just plugged up again,” I say, squeez-
ing the phone between my ear and
shoulder as I press my head under
the steering column trying to reach
back in for my second boot.
“OK, I’ll be there in a minute,”
my husband says.
I can almost touch the leather
on my boot, and I wriggle a tiny bit
more under the steering wheel, the
shift-lever poking into my shoulder
blade. I stepped back in and my fin-
gers had just tightened on the pull-
strap of my boot when the lever over
my shoulder moved. I had bumped
A big splash punctuated an
intense moment in the audiobook. I
look over about the second my oldest
screams that my 3-year old had just
fallen in — without his life-jacket.
I don’t remember setting down my
paintbrush. I don’t remember how
I got across the room. I remember
crossing the bow of the boat — but
I couldn’t be sure if I stepped in or
jumped over. What I do remember
is arriving on the other side and see-
ing my baby’s blonde head about a
foot under that murky green water.
That image is burned into my mind,
and while it could have only lasted
a fraction of a second, that moment
seems to play in extra-slow motion.
Then I am in the water pushing him
to the surface.
I hold his body tight — feeling
the water run down my hair and mix
with my tears as his breath comes
in big gasps. We swim to the back
of the boat and manage to get him
in. I catch my breath before pulling
myself into the boat — soggy shoes
and all. We were both shaking, as I
squeezed his little body into mine. I
pulled him away just long enough to
kiss his forehead.
“Thank you for saving me,
Mommy,” he whispered in his shak-
ing toddler voice.
I hugged him again as the tears
ran freely down my cheeks. The
painting was forgotten about, harvest
could wait another day — there were
so many ways this could have ended
differently. I wrapped up my baby in
a towel, and we headed for the sun
to dry out. Cuddled in a swing, a boy
under each arm, we spent the day
reading, coloring and playing in the
sand box.
Life may not always be easy
— but it’s simple: work hard, love
harder and thank God every day for
another chance to do it even better.
Brianna Walker writes about the
Farmer’s Fate for the B
lue Mountain Eagle.
Shooting the Breeze: Assembly line elegance
here can be little doubt
that Bill Ruger, the late
co-founder of Sturm,
Ruger & Co., was a genius. Time
and again, he was able to fore-
see what the pub-
lic wanted even
before they knew
themselves. One
such example was
the introduction
of the single-shot
Ruger No. 1 in
At the time, the
bolt action was the
hot ticket. All of the major manu-
facturers were working to improve
on their designs and offer new
chamberings. Everyone thought ol’
Bill was nuts to try to market a rel-
atively expensive single-shot rifle,
but he certainly proved them wrong.
The No. 1 took off and has been a
steady seller ever since.
The No. 1 is built on an
extremely strong falling block
action with a trim but beautifully
shaped two-piece stock. The gently
sweeping cocking lever adds a nice
touch. To many, including myself,
the Ruger No. 1 is the most elegant
production rifle ever created.
The Ruger No. 1 comes in many
variations, from the trim Sporter
No. 1 to the full-length stocked
Mannlicher. It has been manufac-
Grant County’s Weekly Newspaper
Publisher............ ......................................Chris Rush,
Editor & General Manager ...............Sean Hart,
Reporter ...................................................Rudy Diaz,
Reporter ...................................................... Steven Mitchell,
Marketing Rep .......................................Kim Kell,
Administrative Assistant ..................Christy Smith,
Office Assistant .....................................Alixandra Hand,
the lever into neu-
tral. The tractor and
baler started roll-
ing down the steep
hill, the heavy baler
urging the trac-
tor faster and faster.
I stumbled back
into the seat and
grabbed at the con-
trol lever, at the throttle — stomp-
ing on the brakes. I wasn’t famil-
iar with the controls, and they didn’t
respond like I expected. The tractor
picked up speed — as did my pulse.
The bottom of the hill appeared in
my headlights before I got the trac-
tor stopped.
“What in the world just hap-
pened?” my husband’s voice shouted
at me from the floorboards. My
phone was laying under the clutch
pedal —the tractor door still open,
and my second boot still on the floor.
My hands shook as I picked up
the phone. I was lucky. Another step
out the door and I could have fallen
under the dualed-up tires; I could
have rolled the other direction and
into the 20-foot drop off at the end
of the field; my husband could have
already been under the baler when
that had happened. I eased around
the controls as I got out of the tractor
this time, thanking God for his care-
ful watch over us.
Less than a week later, I was in
my happy place at the river, the inci-
dent with the tractor long forgotten
in the hustle and bustle of summer
harvest. It was an unusual Sunday,
one in which I somehow had found
myself free to spend the morning
with my boys at our boathouse. We
had read a few kids books. Then I
decided to continue a paint project I
had started earlier in the spring. I put
a life jacket on the littlest, turned on
an audiobook, and they both climbed
in the boat while I lost myself in the
relaxation of painting and World War
II spies.
Contributed photo
Bill Ruger introduced the single-shot Ruger No. 1 in 1967.
tured in everything from the little
.204 Ruger to the mighty .450/400
Nitro Express. Because it is a sin-
gle-shot action, barrels can be sev-
eral inches longer than a repeat-
ing rifle and still maintain the same
overall length. And, because there is
no magazine to worry about, bullets
can be seated to whatever length
you want.
However, despite being a beau-
tiful rifle, it is not all rainbows and
butterflies. No. 1s can be amazingly
accurate, or they can be downright
miserable. Many attribute this to the
two-piece stock, which can be dif-
ficult to bed correctly. It has strong
integral scope ring bases, but they
are positioned so far forward that
a scope with generous eye relief is
needed for a clear sight picture.
(including online access)
Grant County .........................................$45
Everywhere else in U.S. .......................$57
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Periodicals Postage Paid
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mailing offices.
send address changes to:
Blue Mountain Eagle
195 N. Canyon Blvd.
John Day, OR 97845-1187
USPS 226-340
Phone: 541-575-0710
I have been lusting after a Ruger
No. 1 for many years. A local gen-
tleman took pity on me and sold me
a No. 1 sporter in 6mm Remington
with a nicely figured stock. An addi-
tional cool factor is that it was made
in 1976 to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of our great country.
Even though I bought it mostly for
a “lookin’” rifle, I was pleased to
find that it shoots pretty well. So
far it seems to like flat-base bullets
over boat tails. It is far too pretty to
be taking on any rough hunts, but if
the stars align, I will be using it to
chase antelope this fall.
Drop us a line at shootingthe- and tell us
about your favorite “lookin’” rifle.
Rod Carpenter is a husband,
father and hunting fool.
Copyright © 2020
Blue Mountain Eagle
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