Friday, July 25, 2008


The first time i ever heard of Pendleton was when Jason and I were thrift shopping in Dayton and he referred to his love of "fine woolens," the most desirable of which were Pendleton. I just assumed that it was a Michigan thing since most of his magical midwestern secrets came from the great north. But then i found out Pendleton is a town in Oregon and I spent the day there yesterday. Scrubbly sage brush, worn down western hills covered in brown grass that is always brown, wheat fields, cowboys, wind farms, friendliness. Its an old west town for sure, and an imporant stop on the Oregon Trail when people figured out they were almost there and could hook up with the Columbia river.

i was investigating a case out that way and so spent all manner of time, with a very able and personally fabulous investigator from my office, driving over dirt roads, identifying the right double wide, and generally getting a sense of the barren place where a tragedy happened and a man was wrongly accused. We stopped at a fruit stand and i bought apricots and walla walla onions. I was told that the melons from the nearby town of Hermiston were a VERY BIG DEAL that the whole state just salivated for on an annual basis. Since it rains so damn much, Oregonians make an extraordinary non-stop occasion out of the summer months. (July through late Sept... sigh).

We had a particularly difficult time weaving our way through tree farms of poplars that were being grown, I'm told, to create furniture veneers. Poplars get big but they grow fast. i think the most spectacular part of being out in what the Oregonians call the "high desert" were all the amazing birds. Road runners, cooper's hawks, eagles, redtails, very interesting swallows and woodpecker looking birds. In a way it reminded me of Texas with fewer cars and more appreciation of geologic and topographic place. i bet it is one cold bitch in Pendleton in the winter time. there's nothing but a barbed wire fence between Pendleton and the arctic.

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