When Life Was Simple

I recently spent a weekend in a remote part of NE Oregon, out of cell service, with no internet and no electricity.  I purposefully left my cell phone turned off (except to take this photo) and decided to take a break.  During the day I took a few walks along a road that passed the old jailhouse in what used to be a booming mining town.  My husband is helping a friend restore this mining cabin that his father used to live in.  Notice the lower 3 courses of logs have been replaced.  Now the cabin has new/old windows, made to look like they might have 80 years ago, or so.  A new roof, some tin skirting and a new/old ceiling after the ceiling boards were removed, pressure washed and then put back up.

I look around and find old “cut” nails (also referred to “square nails”), when nails were made by hand.  I imagined men, women & children sitting around the dinner table by the light of a kerosene lamp, dog asleep near the wood burning stove, and the smell of fresh baked bread & beans, maybe some fresh trout that was cooked for dinner, and huckleberry pie cooling on the table nearby.  Those were the days, simpler in some ways, but much harder in others.  Like hauling water from the creek for bathing or dishes.  Making sure you kept the critters out of the dry goods you had stored in the cellar, and making sure you had planned ahead to have enough food to get through those long winters.  No mini-marts.  No gas stations.  No electricity.  No telephones.  No TV.  It’s hard to imagine what people did back then.  I think they were living – living a much larger life than we are now.  They observed everything for survival, and they counted on each other.

Later that evening, we decided to take a walk over to the ‘new’ lodge for a glass of wine.  We picked the first huckleberries of the season on our evening stroll, and imagined a town of 1,500 people, now deserted.  A few remaining old cabins falling down, except one that will look like it did in the 30’s when the rush was on (the gold rush that is)!

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