Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


Katiie Bruenen and son, Ezra, at last Finn Fest. Volunteer to get involved in next year's Festival. Photo by Karen Bertroch.

Lisa Nelson wrote this tribute to Francy Pentilla on Facebook: "In all my life, I never heard her speak an unkind word, never observed her fail to serve others, and I never observed her complain. She lived to be 96, so that is a lot of years of observing. She was the most kind, loving, and personable human being I ever met; a supreme role model and example for how to live. She wasn't wealthy, extreme, or extravagant. She was common folk to the core. If I can live up to half the things that she did, I will consider my life a success." Darlene Bjornsgard said," A very nice service for Francy Penttila, whom I have known since childhood. Such a dear, cheerful lady. Naselle has lost another "anchor" from the generation ahead of me." Francy's funeral was Saturday afternoon. Rick Nelson's funeral was also held in Cathlamet that day with a large crowd attending. He and Francy both were extraordinary people who influenced us and taught us about life and how to live it. Both will be missed by so many. Yes, Darlene, Francy was part of the generation before us. May we remember them and live on with their leadership and values.

We have indeed lost so many of the generation ahead of us. We who are in our older years may not be as energetic (although with Darlene, that energy bunny keeps going and going), but we can remember how life was decades ago and see the changes happening all around us, such as the impact technology has made. We remember family gatherings without smart phones at the table and the excitement of seeing a movie at a theater, and how our grandparents would tell family stories of "the old country" they came from. I believe we, above all, know what it meant for our families to still speak their native languages, and to follow the traditions of the "old country" that we were taught. We also know what it means to be, "We the People." Here are words from Spokane's paper, the Spokesman Review, January 23, 2022: "A frequently overlooked meaning of "We the People" discussed at the Constitutional Convention was the creation of a Social Contract. This idea, popularized by political philosophers like John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau during the "Age of Enlightenment," is that democratic governments come into being because people are willing to give up some of their freedoms and agree to follow certain laws in exchange for the security and protections offered by the state.

Locke and others recognized that as individuals, people might naturally prefer absolute freedom to do what they wish. The idea of social contracts recognizes that human societies are greater than the sum of the parts. This is the idea behind James Madison's famous sentiment in Federalist Paper No. 51 that "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Madison believed that people willingly exchange some freedoms in the name of the collective interest. Social contracts establish rules and norms that can be both explicit, as in laws, but also implicit, as in behaving in a civil manner in the public sphere.

Contemporary politics in the United States is obviously highly polarized and divisive. This is partially owing to disagreements related to "hot button" issues such as gun laws, abortion and immigration. But to a greater extent, the discord gripping the nation is a result of a battle between different narratives regarding the future of America. These are not policy differences, which might be open to bargaining and negotiation. Rather, it represents an existential divide in which each side sincerely believes that the other is trying to destroy America.

To what extent does the current state of American politics make the idea that "We the People" are engaging in a social contract quaint and outdated?" Written by Steven Stehr, the Sam Reed Distinguished Professor in Civic Education and Public Civility at Washington State University in Pullman. This article is part of a Spokesman-Review partnership with the Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University.

I found this piece discussing civic duty along with social contracts, helpful in trying to determine what is happening in our country, our region and our own communities. Just a reminder that in the Bible, Matthew 12:25, we read: "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." The word of the Lord, Amen.

Calendar of Events:

Mondays: First Monday of the month, Naselle Library has a men's coffee gathering 10-11:30.

Tuesdays: Naselle Lutheran Church sponsors morning quilters and knitters in afternoons.

Third Tuesday: Naselle Grays River School Board meets at 6:30 in school library.

Second Wednesday of the month: Grays River Habitat Enhancement District meets at the Grays River Fire Hall across from Duffy's Pub at 5:15.

Wednesdays: AA meeting at the Grays River Grange at noon.

Wednesdays at 2 at the Timberland Naselle Library: July 5, Amazing Magic Show; July 12: Reptile Man; July 19; Brownsmead Flats; July 26: East of Sun and West of Moon with Pegasus Puppets; August 2: Ice Cream Party and Great Egg Hunt.

First Thursday of the month: Grays River/Rosburg Gardening group meets at Johnson Park at 6.

First Thursday of the month: Caregiver Support Group at Naselle Library with OBH staff 1-2.

Thursdays: CAP Senior Lunches are located at Rosburg Hall at noon.

Second Friday of month: Women's Coffee Group at Naselle Library at 10.

Second Saturday of month: Grays River Grange's Farmers Market at the Grange 10-1.

July 5 and 19: Senior Lunch at Rosburg Hall at noon.

July 5: Amazing Magic Show at Naselle Timberland Library at 2 for kids and families.

July 18: Naselle GRV School Board meets at 6:30 in the library. Budget hearing will be at 5.

July 29: Nordic Music Concert at Chinook School at 5 with kantele and harp.

August 19: Loggers Reunion with BBQ and beer from 2-5.

Phrase for the Week: We the People


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