(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
One of my favorite comedians is Jeff Foxworthy. I’m sorry if some of you comedy snobs out there think this is blasphemy in the highest order, since Jeff so famous and he’s made it largely on one joke “you might be a redneck.”
He’s still struck a cord with a lot of American people who live out in the sticks. And Jeff tends to celebrate our redneckness instead of making it a bad thing. Cousins that are a little too close in the family tree? A single-wide with one too many custom features? A super-powered lawn mower? What’s wrong with poking fun at these.
However, there is one local rural community trait that I cannot stand. Let me present it this way “You might be from Stevens County if you do nothing but complain about your town and say there is nothing good about it.”
Let me set the stage for this complaining person. Usually their cigarette is hanging out of their mouth, nobody in town likes them, their house looks like garbage because they don’t clean the yard and everything that has gone wrong in their life isn’t their fault. I kind of want to hand people their sign, but that’s a completely different comedian move altogether.
I had one of the most refreshing conversations recently at a Springdale football game where one of the community members had dressed up as the Charger mascot (which is awesome by the way). She had mentioned how much she loved Mary Walker School, had graduated from there and wanted to help pump up school spirit and excitement. That is exactly the attitude every rural community around here needs.
We do have a lot of complaints about the west side and what the “man” is doing to us, and I salute the people that are making the good fight to make sure the more populated west side understands what we are facing over here. But some of it dives into absolute Debby downer attitude. You can go a little far when describing NE Washington as an economic hellscape that the west side has razed with their overregulation and the communists are set to take over our lands any day now. We’re not the setting from “The Road.”
I would say that we kind of need to look at cleaning our own house while also pointing out the ills of the west side. Along with that, why not try being a positive influence in your community before hopping on message boards to rage about those darn Californians.
There are many local groups around here that need volunteers. There are many causes that need champions. Right now it seems like the same pool of people are doing the heavy lifting, while everyone else smokes their cigarette in the front yard and complains about the world.
Successful EWU coach Dick Zornes (who now lives in Chewelah) said it best: don’t talk about the faults of your football program all the time, talk about all the good things about your program.
I would like to propose that for people in NE Washington. The more I go up to Colville, I love all the quirks that the one industrial town in Stevens County supplies. Northport is a great place to catch a football game, Hunters has gorgeous views of the Columbia River, Kettle Falls has some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had and Springdale has some of the best burgers I’ve had at a town festival.
(I talk about food a alot)
The point being, we need more people in Chewelah and surrounding areas to talk about and champion the good things in our region.
(Montana people have this act down pat where they rave about their state and small, rural town almost ad nasuem. Ever met someone from Montana? That’s the first thing they tell you.)
So lets change our mindset a little bit around here and be our own, best advocates. That doesn’t mean you ignore the issues, but who likes listening to a complainer all the time?
Forget Redneck: “You might be from Chewelah if you do nothing but rave about how great your town is.”