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The American Eagle – The Bird – and the Symbol

As I lay here on the rimrock high above the turbulent waters of the mighty Snake, I chance to see a tiny speck wheeling and soaring, etched against the blue September sky, growing larger, ever larger as it dives past me toward the canyon floor below, only to glide gracefully to a perch on the rocks below. An American Eagle, proud, confident, alone, for eagles do not flock.

The American Eagle, an endangered species, has certainly seen better days. As I ponder the fate of this majestic bird, I cannot help but think of the traits that influenced our founding fathers to pick this particular bird as our national symbol and to sadly reflect on the fact that these traits are becoming scarce among the people who made the selection. What has caused this apparent distortion of our national perspective? Who or what is responsible for this sorry state of affairs?

Perhaps our over-indulgence of an unruly generation has contributed. More likely the cause lies with the gradual erosion of the industry and self-reliance of our people, brought about by little men in high places whose insatiable thirst for personal political power have found, thru the legislative process, the magic formula, as FDR so aptly put it, “Spend and spend and spend; Elect and elect and elect.” Perhaps the “older” generation should be forgiven if we are indeed all “hung-up” on economics as some of our youngest suggest, but we who weathered the economic storms of the 30’s, know only too well what economics is all about.

Many can’t be bothered with material things like economics. Most of our youth are truly sincere and highly motivated, blinded by their idealism into thinking they can fly the way they imagined they could in their childhood fantasies.

In our mad rush to assure that our children would be better educated than their parents, or was this to satisfy our own ego, we neglected to teach them the meaning of one very important word, “REALITY.” How unrealistic to imagine that they can change the nature of man and free the world of all competitive evils, especially in the short period of time the impatient impetuousness of youth has allotted.

We, the younger generation included, are the beneficiaries of the sacrifices of people who have passed this way before. Our forebearers have produced a winner in the U.S.A., but winning takes a commitment to excellence. Winning takes sacrifice. Unfortunately the will to excel is no longer universal.

Peace is the flag of today’s crusaders. These are the non-violent types. They are truly the innocents of our age. They cannot protect themselves, let alone their country. Their method is simply to share with others all the rewards of the sacrifices they have inherited.

But now the shadows lengthen. Another eagle glides to its rocky perch, once again alone. Confidence and bravery requires no company.

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A Day in the Life of a City Clerk

The key is turning in the lock at 8:00 AM, sharp. The rain continues to threaten as I reflect that this is an unholy hour to be about, especially for a public servant, but the public stirs early in these parts and the public must be served.

I turn the sign in the window to announce the fact that I have arrived and I proceed to remove the money from the safe and start to check the cash against the preceding days receipts.

I am interrupted by the insistent ringing of the telephone. It seems the lady calling is quite unhappy. She is scheduled to irrigate her lawn this morning and there is no water. Now she has a 10:00 AM appointment at the beauty shop, (I reflect on the waste of time and money) and she certainly wants to finish with the irrigating by that time, and just what has happened to the water, and where is that good-for-nothing Watermaster?

As she pauses for breath, I am saved momentarily by the arrival of the “good-for-nothing” Watermaster who reports the No. 1 pump is down, probably a bearing and there will be no irrigation water today. The “good-for-nothing” also informs me that he has been working on the pump since 5:00 AM.

I prepare to impart this bit of information to my caller but find the phone is dead. We’ve been disconnected. Oh boy! What next. I replace the receiver and frantically reach for the phone book. Too late. The phone rings again, it seems more insistent than before. I again reach for the receiver. It’s my previous caller loudly demanding why I had hung up on her. I assure here that such was not the case and in my best “City Clerk” manner, explain that we were cut off automatically, as our call exceeded the 3-minute limitation with the arrival of the Chief of Police and the Postmaster, both of whom proceed to offer un-helpful suggestions from the background amid sounds of great hilarity.

I inform her about the pump which prompts a further tirade on municipal inefficiency and perhaps it is about time to elect a woman to the City Council to restore a semblance of order and efficiency around City Hall.

I thank her for her comments and promise to keep in touch. So my day begins. Unusual? Not really.

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As I hang up the receiver, I note the date is Tuesday, July 11. Council meeting tonight and the hour is well past nine with very little accomplished as yet.

My guests having departed, I return to checking the cash, only to be interrupted by a call from the City Attorney advising that he has arranged for interim financing for the Municipal Sewerage System now under construction. Just call the local bank, they have all the necessary documents.

The project contractor calls to inquire about his first payment on the engineers estimate of work completed. The amount of the payment is $76,000. I assure him that all arrangements have been made and his check will be ready later in the day.

Turning to the counter, I find I have a customer. A young lad about seven or eight years of age, clutching an assortment of small coins in his grimy little hand. He hesitatingly inquires if this is that place that sells dog licenses and I assure him that it is. He spreads his little horde on the counter and proudly announces that a dog license is what he wants. In further conversation I learn that his dog was picked up by the “dog wagon” and was in the dog compound and now he had come to take “Tippy” home.

I count the coins, $2.75, far short of enough to cover the bill. I break the bad news as gently as possible. Dog licenses cost $3.00 and the law requires that we collect an additional $5.00 for any dog redeemed from the Pound.

As tears begin to flow, I realize that if I am ever to retrieve this situation, the time is now. Making as though counting the money again, I hasten to announce that I have indeed been mistaken. After a more careful canvas, it seems there is just enough to cover the bill.

I make out the proper receipt for the license, making up the twenty-five cent deficit from my own pocket. I’ll discuss the $5.00 with the Poundmaster (that’s me) later. With tears turning to smiles we retire to the Dog Pound behind the City Hall. With yelps of joy “Tippy” welcomed his little master, generously lathering the slightly soiled countenance with lusty licks until all evidence of our tearful moments were washed away.

As boy and dog move off happily down the street, I am suddenly aware that the sun is shining and the day which seemed to be going so badly just a short hour ago, had suddenly been made right again.

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Apologies – To John S. Carroll, et al.

I have read with a great deal of interest the recent issue of Mr. John S. Carroll’s Phlugg. I wish to apologize to Mr Carroll for my quote, “bad taste,” un-quote, of using Gothic type faces for the main body of type in printing Avalanche No. 1. I am sincerely sorry to have created this imposition but at the moment this is the only type face that I have in sufficient quantity. Realizing that this is a poor excuse, I shall endeavor to correct this situation in the near future.

Incidentally, I believe Mr. Carroll’s objections are valid. My, he does com on strong, doesn’t he?

Printed in 10-point Bernhard Gothic with a little of this and a little of that thrown in. Produced by the armstrong method by the CANYON PRESS, the private press of Frank E. Mercer, Wilder, Idaho. 83676

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