The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

After adapting, I wouldn't live anywhere else


To The Eagle:

I had to re-read Elizabeth Brinner’s article in last week’s Eagle a couple of times to make sure it was a serious letter. Initially I thought it was a poor attempt at satire. Not so I guess.

I’m assuming she’s recently moved from Seattle, Portland or a city of similar size, which would explain her problem adjusting to the lifestyle we all enjoy living in Wahkiakum County.

Before retiring to Cathlamet, I left a big city, fast paced, professional career working under neon lights and in front of a computer screen all day. After work, I’d return home through excessive traffic to the rules, regulations, etc., that big cities have.

I, too, had a tough time initially adjusting to all aspects of a Wahkiakum lifestyle. I call it “cultural friction burn.” It took me several years to fully embrace the people’s ways and Wahkiakum’s uniqueness--and I’m still a relative newcomer!

Once I realized it was me that chose to live in a community that had been around a lot longer than I had been alive, I tried to adapt and embrace all the positive aspects of living here. Since taking that objective stance that I had to change, not the community, I saw things differently, and now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Wahkiakum isn’t third world. It is rather a diverse mix of people from all cultural and financial walks of life and successes. I also think we make a pretty good effort of being tolerant and embracing our neighbors. Our common thread though is we’ve chosen to live here and accept it for exactly what it is. Accordingly, we all enjoy the collective “sum of the parts” on a daily basis.

Elizabeth, if you’re reading this, please understand we don’t want our freedoms, culture, and pastoral atmosphere to change. It’s not a perfect world, but it’s the community we’ve chosen to participate and live in. Hopefully you’ll learn to appreciate the lifestyle as we all have and do. If not, life’s too short to be resentful remaining in a community that one’s not adaptable and suited to.

Bill Wainwright



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