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BY Tamara Hillman
Sept. 2010

There are two parties very excited about the first of September’s arrival—Mom’s with grade school children, and the people of Arizona.
Now, I’m not complainin’ about this beautiful sunshine state after livin’ on the coast of Washington State thirty-three gloomy years, where ya might see the sun two months outta twelve, but ya shouldn’t count on it!
I can smell the change comin’ though even down here where the temps will drop only to the even hundreds, or slightly below in this new month, (a real cold spell for we die-hards who suffer through three months of blazin’ hot days in the Arizona summer with no reprieve.)
I sure remember how September brought huge changes to ranchers, farmers, school-age children, the weather, and so many other wonderful things when I was young. I also remember feeling the tiniest bit of dread when Labor Day would pass since east of the Cascade mountain range in Twisp, Washington where I grew up in a beautiful little valley with the Methow River running right through it only half a mile east of our town’s main street, we knew it was comin’ on a long, hard winter soon when September rolled around.
Tall mountains surrounded our valley, and the trees along the river changed colors with the four strong seasons, and it was just a matter of time, after Labor Day, ‘til snowflakes fell, (always by Halloween) and didn’t stop blowin’ in flurries ‘til after the first week of April, in most cases. That’s why I chose, in my old age and aching bones, to leave the cold dampness of the coast, and freezin’ dryness of the valley for warm air and sunshine ninety-percent of the year down south!
I’ll admit, I do miss the gorgeous colors of fall in our valley, and the white Christmas’ we always celebrated, but sitting on our patio to eat meals and play games from September thru April with friends and neighbors ‘til all hours, (with no coat or sweater except in December and January) wins out on my priority list now.


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I received a call from my next door neighbor yesterday telling me her oven had taken its last breath just as she was going to bake two casseroles for her son’s birthday celebration, (in his late fifties) at their house that very afternoon. I had a similar emergency when ours blew a few months earlier, and she came to my rescue. Like she did for me, I came to her aid this time, and happily baked her casseroles in my oven.
This incident reminded me of growin’ up in the Methow Valley where poor was the norm, and a helping hand was always available. We called it bartering back then, or horse-tradin’! It didn’t have to be something of equal value, but more of equal need.
It could be work farmers traded, or clothing at the rummage sale for free if you needed it and had no money, food brought to folks at the holidays, (or anytime) who were even less well off than you and would have no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, nor gifts for their children without help. We were raised to share and trade from the cradle up because that was the kind and right thing to do. No thanks needed, no questions asked.
I know for sure, when folks would lose everything in a house fire in my hometown, they were given immediate shelter in someone’s home, re-supplied with furniture, house wares, food and clothing in order to get their own place when it was possible. It wasn’t brand new stuff, but it was all each household could spare if they had extra. And there would be a jar at the bank for contributions, and a dance at the old grange hall with all proceeds going to the destitute family. We did as the Good Book commanded, and took care of those in need in those days.

I remember once, our neighbor had to have a serious operation in the spring of the year, and that meant all the money he would make plowing up everyone’s garden spot would not be earned, and the family would suffer financially.
Though my Dad was already a workin’ fool, I don’t know to this day how he found the time, but he took Ernie’s tractor on weekends, and worked morning ‘til night plowin’ all the gardens folks in the entire valley had asked Ernie to plow. He took not one thin-dime for his efforts, (and if I know my Dad, he probably supplied the gas for the tractor outta the two big hundred gallon barrels he kept on our property for his loggin’ trucks- and D-8 cat.)
If you think that wasn’t a lesson we kids could watch and learn from, well, ya got another think comin’! He said nothing to us about it, just did the right thing that needed to be done. I overheard him say to Mom afterwards, “Ernie had tears in his eyes when I handed him the money.” I guess Dad was surprised because he knew Ernie would do the same thing for us if the shoe were on the other foot.

Is it any wonder half the kids today are selfish, sociopathic brats? They weren’t raised to want for anything, honor our flag and the men and women who died for it and this great nation, or learn the history of how our forefathers fought to make America the greatest nation ever! It breaks my heart to see how apathy has destroyed what this and the last generation have been given without one drop of sweat from their brows………FREEDOM, the real endangered species of our time!

Even my kids, in their late forties now, take far too much for granted, and choose to ignore what’s happening to this country. Everyday there is more erosion of THEIR FREEDOMS and MINE they refuse to recognize until it will be too late…Yes, I get frustrated with them, but who listens to their mother ‘til it’s far too late? Not my kids, nor I when I was young. These scary circumstances cannot be ignored much longer though…
God help us!
Granny Tam

Ok, enough advice from this ol’ gal…Here’s a poem to maybe set ya straight.



Liberty BellLIBERTY BELLLiberty Bell

Patrick Henry said it best,
“Give me liberty,
or give me death!”

But do we heed
those words today
in the same determined, stoic way?

We have the symbols all around
where soldiers died—
now hallowed ground.

Our flag—Ol’ Glory, let it freely wave
on land and sea,
o’re the home of the brave.

Words on parchment brave men signed
though threatened—cursed
by loyalists—blind.

Statue of liberty—standing tall
greeting travelers,
one and all.

Civil war battlefields strewn with cannon—
only the ghosts
have not abandoned.

Indian monuments carved on hills—
they counted coo—
too many kills.

My favorite monument—The Liberty Bell
makes me remember,
and my heart swell.

Our forefathers sacrificed to set us free
fighting hard
for true victory.

With strengths untold, they forged ahead—
their children inheriting
not fear nor dread.

A land made free of king or fool
who sought to conquer,
repress, and rule.

So ring that bell of liberty—
it represents FREEDOM
for you and me.

Tamara Hillman


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