Racial Diversity at the Pendleton Round-Up

Ken Kesey, author of the great American novel, collaborated with long-time friend Ken Babbs for, Last Go Round in 1994. The book was appropriately titled; it was his final work of fiction. The story takes place at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up, the second annual. The characters in the story were real people. Kesey’s father had told him stories about the Round-Up and the disputed results of the bronc-riding contest.

Pendleton citizens had such a good time 1909 with Fourth-of-July horse races, Indian dances, greased-pig contests and fireworks that they decided it should be an event on its own, separate from Independence Day. The first Round-Up took place in 1910 and has been held annually – except 1942-1943, World War II hiatus – every September since. The event brings more than 50,000 people to Pendleton, nearly quadrupling its population. Continue reading “Racial Diversity at the Pendleton Round-Up”

Kam Wah Chung and John Day

John Day, a fur trapper, signed on with John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company in 1811 as part of the Overland Expedition to establish a trading center at the mouth of the Columbia River. By the time they reached the Snake River in Idaho, Day was not feeling well. He stayed behind with Ramsay Crooks while the rest of the party pressed onward to Fort Astoria. When spring came, they set out to catch up with the others. Members of the Cayuse Tribe came upon the pair camped at the mouth of the Mah-hah (Mau Mau) River. Rather than killing them outright for their trespassing, the Indians took everything from the interlopers: food, equipment and the clothes they were wearing. Somehow Day and Crooks managed to survive several weeks until another party from the Pacific Fur Company, canoeing down the Columbia, found them and escorted them to Astoria. John Day became a legend. The river became known as the John Day as did the town later founded 150 miles to the south. John Day the person never visited John Day the town.

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A World Without Tipping?

Do you ever wonder – as you carry your dishes from your restaurant table across the room to the bus tubs, after eating a meal that you ordered and paid for at the counter, and went back to the counter when your name was called to pick up your food and carry it yourself to the table – why you dropped money into the tip jar on the counter before you even saw a glimpse of your food?

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For Your Reading Enjoyment

The Write Launch is a monthly on-line literary magazine. It publishes a wide spectrum of essays, poetry and short fiction. The August issue includes a short story from me, about one person’s journey from Kansas City to Sonoma.

Mr. Backward



That Dump, The White House

Responding to questions about why he spends so many weekends at Trump-branded properties, our president explained he did so because, “That White House is a real dump.” President Harry Truman held the same opinion. He complained that ghosts roaming throughout the building interrupted his sleep. What he heard was moaning and creaking from sagging floors and unreinforced walls.

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