Relax like a pioneer

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer February 09, 2012 10:13 pm

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” 

— lily tomlin 

Ever notice how people are in a big hurry nowadays? How we’re all trying to multitask? For example, driving while shaving ... our legs?

And that’s the men.

We need to all take a collective deep breath and have a holiday.

And Oregon should have a holiday that is specifically its own.

Oregon’s birthday is a big deal for my wife, the Wonder Woman, and I. We love the Beaver State. We think there should be a state holiday called Pioneer Day, like Massachusetts’ Patriots’ Day and Maine’s Patriot’s Day, except with fewer apostrophes.

The Massachusetts and Maine holidays are observed the third Monday in April. The naming of these holidays would suggest that Massachusetts (Patriots’ Day) has more patriots than Maine (Patriot’s Day), or at least more English majors.

The civic holiday commemorates Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War, and the rides of Paul Revere and the lesser known William Dawes, the guys who warned that the British were coming to correct our punctuation.

Oregon this year is celebrating the big 153. That’s enough candles to make the Tillamook Burn seem like a campfire.

Oregon became the 33rd state in 1859. That event happened to occur on Valentine’s Day, which was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD.

This makes Oregon a state for lovers.

The commonwealth of Virginia has claimed this slogan since 1969. Other states have followed with rough imitations. “I love New York” was modeled by the contrarian tourism folks of that state, and the Maryland folks came up with a slick parody, “Maryland is for crabs.”

Sure, Oregon likes to be original. In 1971, Oregon was the first state to adopt the bottle bill, which reduced litter and increased recycling, and the 1967 Oregon Beach Bill allowed free access to everyone.

Still, these 43 years later, I think Virginia might be ready to share the love with a state 3,000 miles west. There is a lot to love about Oregon, from sea level to ski level, from the rainy and lush Willamette Valley to the barren high desert.

Teri, my wife, does a desk calendar each year in celebration of Oregon’s diverse beauty. The calendar is a tribute to her late mother Helen, who died of leukemia in 2003. Helen loved Oregon, and took the three kids on educational tours of the state. Her love was passed along to Teri, and I am the beneficiary of this geographical passion.

Oregon is for lovers, no doubt, and Pioneer Day would be a fitting tribute to that love.

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