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The Gearboat Chronicles

Frostbite Film Festival Packs ‘em In

Reasons people give for living in Wallowa County often include the mountains, rivers and natural surroundings. Plus you don’t need to lock your doors. It’s a good place to raise a family. And there’s a community of like-minded folks.
Things people miss about living elsewhere often include their favorite Thai/Indian/Italian restaurant. And . . . then it usually jumps to the paychecks you can get elsewhere.

A group of like-minded folks got together last Thursday night to share their appreciation of winter sports in the natural surroundings out here, and also to share their paychecks that often aren’t the size they might be elsewhere.

The Frostbite Film Festival was a dinner benefit for the local ski club, community ice rink and Nordic club. For ten bucks you got dinner, got a shot at some choice items in the charity auction and then saw a series of local and mainstream winter-themed movies.

Penny helped organize the whole shebang. Paul helped cook the roast beef. They both put together one of the short films showcasing the local ski hill . . . and I . . . well, I ate some of the roast beef and watched the movies.

Auctioneer Craig Nichols is a local cattle rancher, used to guide hunting trips up in British Columbia . . . he’s a bush pilot, river guide, cowboy, one hell of a musician and you’d be wise to get within earshot if this guy start telling stories. He ran a lively auction and if you happened to miss it, fear not. He’s also a rafting guide for Winding Waters and if you can catch one of his campfire concerts you’ll be glad you did.

One of the hot auction items was a chair made from old skis that Paul specializes in making. Somehow it’s just extra-relaxing to sit in a device made from things you’re supposed to be exercising with.

The evening proceeds brought in $5,000 to keep things running out here for when you want to get off your couch in the winter.

The highlight for me was babysitting a . . . well, a baby. I don’t even know how old the kid was. But he was cute and somebody passed him to me at some point in the evening. We got along and I fed him potatoes and bread when my dinner arrived. Turned out later I know who the parents are and they know me. Also, they knew right where their child was and since we both seemed happy, they let us be. I’ve lived a lot of places before moving here, but in no community have I ever been handed a little baby before without . . . well, it’s never happened. But if it had, I would have a few questions. This time the only thing I wondered was how many potatoes you’re supposed to feed a kid that small.

So that’s one of my new reasons for living where I do. Not only can you leave your front door unlocked, you can attend a night out and watch as your baby gets passed among friends during a community function and know that everything is just fine.

Big paychecks don’t buy that. But a bunch of little paychecks will have that kid tearing up the slopes five years from now. I look forward to watching that little one ski.