It was as difficult as it has always been... putting together a 64-page Fall Hunting Guide. This year, though, it was made even more difficult.2011 has been a difficult year, in so many ways. There is the ongoing drought. There is economic uncertainty. There are changes in our own county that will determine our future and the opportunities we will be able to offer our children and grandchildren.I normally try to drive around the county and get new photos for the guide; but, that didn't happen this year. Time constraints came down faster than I'd planned, and the dry, brown countryside didn't really lend itself to photography. The Odeon feature article fell in my lap, and I thank Dennis Evans and Chuck Patrick for showing up in my office when they did.I knew that the deer season was going to be an interesting one, even back in the middle of the summer. Forage had already started to wither, even back then, and water supplies were evaporating quickly. Supplemental feeding kept the deer alive; but, that's something that most people won't be able to afford for much longer.It seemed that, at every turn, the gloomy forecasts just got worse. Looking ahead to our Spring Guide, I can only be thankful that I keep photos from prior seasons saved on my computer, as I'm sure it's not going to be one of our more colorful springs.And yet, I saw a reason for optimism.Mason County businesses tightened their belts, altered their employee schedules and adjusted their inventories. Land owners repaired fences, tended to water troughs, and filled feeders. There are few in this area that would be unable to understand the importance of our fall influx of visitors upon the local economy. Our Mason County businesses and landowners fixed their focus on just getting through the months ahead, knowing that they would mean the difference in keeping the doors open and the lights on for another year.When talking to Dennis and Chuck, I voiced my concern that the Odeon, like so many other non-profits, was asking for more at a time when there was even less to go around. They were nonplussed, and reminded me that the Odeon was a vital part of the community that served to entertain across all ages and economies. They felt confident that Mason residents would, as they have done so many other times, be able to meet requests being made of them.I was embarrassed to admit that I was the one who had failed to count on that optimism. And yet, all around me, I see it every day. I just forget how rare it is, and how much it makes our community the unique place that it is. It is that "can do" attitude that has allowed Mason County to continue attracting visitors, and to retain a standard of living for its people that is still the envy of others around the area.Another Hunting Guide is completed, and I cannot offer enough praise for all the people that worked together to make it happen. I thank the friends that keep me sane, the family that keeps me grounded, and the community that keeps me humble. I will continue to keep my mind and my heart open to all the things going on around me, and will try to be aware of the best of the people and the situations.We've still got lots to do to finish out this year; but, I think I can approach them now with a new perspective and a new attitude. Thanks for making me remember why I think so much of all of you.
It’s all just my opinion.