Pumpkin violence

This morning I left the house to walk the dog, and was greeted by the grim sight of one of my porch pumpkins smashed in the road. My first feelings were sadness and violation. Then anger. Then fear.

Let me explain my fear.

Someone had to walk up my front stairs and onto my porch to get their hands on my pumpkin. Then, they descended to the street, held my pumpkin high above their head and smashed it onto the pavement with all the anger and violence they could muster. Did they feel satisfaction in the destruction? In the violation of my private space? At leaving a dead pumpkin at the bottom of my stairs?

One thing is certain, the pumpkin smasher did not destroy my pumpkin, or even steal it off my porch, out of love, unity, or civic pride. They destroyed it out of anger and hate.

Now, I not only fear for my other porch pumpkins, but I fear that on my front porch is a front door that leads into my home. What is stopping the anger and hatred that found its way onto my porch from coming through my front door and into my home to terrorize me with inexplicable violence?

I can only hope that my own private pumpkin-smasher reads this and has a change of heart, sees the humanity in my homegrown pumpkins and the beauty of my autumnal display. But, probably, pumkpin smashers do not read editorials and so will not be swayed by reading how their violence made me feel.

In the past I probably would have thought that my smashed pumpkin was all in good pubescent fun, but now I see that the violence is all around me and that there are those who cannot resist violence. As almost 6,000 people lie buried under 110 stories of concrete, I am astonished that anyone would destroy anything right now.

Teach your children love and respect. End the chain of violence and destruction. Teach your kids not to perpetuate violence on their neighbors.

Lisa Conway


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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