My last week in Plumas County

When you read this, I will have moved out of Plumas County, after 17 years and one month. As I write this, I have one last week in Quincy.

I will attend my final Board of Supervisors meeting, where we will dutifully put our hands over our hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, although some of its words will ring hollow to me: united, one nation, with liberty and justice for all.

I expect a local pastor will recite his usual prayer for police officers “who seem to have a target on their backs” and give thanks that we live in such a beautiful place where “it” could never happen. He never says exactly what “it” is.

I will watch as a strong and capable woman chairs the board meeting. I will think: I’d like to see anyone try to grab her by the anything.

I will remain committed to my craft, to report as clearly and accurately as my skills allow.

I will go to the bank to deposit my final paycheck, knowing it is not enough to cover my monthly expenses. I will feel guilty because I know others who make less.

The women at the bank will be friendly and helpful. They are invariably friendly and helpful.

I will go see “The Magnificent Seven,” in which a group of multi-racial gunslingers come to town to save humble farmers from a greedy mining company.

It’s a bloodbath.

All the white members of the Seven end up dead; the black, Comanche and Mexican characters ride out of town together.

All week, I will see nothing but white faces, most of them older than my own.

I will still feel hung over from the election. I will be told to “get over it.”

I will remember what James Baldwin said: “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

Folks will flock to Facebook to vent their outrage. Their “friends” will rush to their sides with teary-eyed emojis and little pink hearts.

I will purge my Facebook feed of sources that do nothing but feed my own sense of outrage.

I will be grateful for the clarity. This election has shown us an ugly side of America. We have met the enemy and he is us.

I will thank the comedy gods for John Oliver.

A West Virginia official will insult Michelle Obama. Later, the woman will say she “in no way” intended to be racist.

As a journalist, I believe in letting the quote speak for itself.

I will continue to take people at face value, try not to assign motivations.

I will receive the news that a female student at my daughter’s college has committed suicide.

Another young woman will try to take her own life at Quincy High. I will acknowledge the rampant bullying in our schools.

I will sign a settlement agreement that ends my 23-year marriage.

I will take the dog I have to leave behind for a walk on trails I helped to build in the hills around the valley in the mountains I love and will miss.

I will have lunch with a friend at Morning Thunder, where I had my first meal on my first visit to Plumas County more than 20 years ago.

I will struggle to write my last My Turn, to find the appropriate tone.

I will say goodbye to the house I have lived in for 17 years, whose halls still echo with my daughter’s running footsteps. It will feel both bittersweet and appropriate to relinquish it to a new family with a baby girl.

I will climb into my Subaru, the same car I drove into Plumas, determined to put down roots and foster community, and take the highway out of town.

3 thoughts on “My last week in Plumas County

  • December 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm
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    Sad story. In fact, from what you say, I moved to Quincy possibly around the exact same day you did 17 years ago and am still here, in the same tiny apartment, with the same head injury that causes me problems in all my waking hours, that I got from being mugged in 1989 near L.A. Quincy is a peaceful place for me compared to being brought up near Sacramento. It is a place where most of us are in a tight-knit community. This is the place I needed with my head injury problems and a place I continue to need. But…. no place is without its problems. As of right now I don’t know if I will be getting television because of the high costs. My bank just closed (Bank of America) a couple days ago as you know. And there’s only 1 pharmacy in town now. But I push on and that is what we all must do in life. I wish you a wonderful new life wherever you go. I have loved this newspaper since day 1 so I thank you for any work you have done with it. Take care.

  • December 3, 2016 at 6:59 pm
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    I am sorry Plumas is losing you…I always intended to meet with you to discuss bicycling and writing.

  • January 2, 2017 at 11:00 am
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    Bravo

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