Last week, Power County turned 100 years old. We honored all those honest, brave, true desperados who wrestled a living out of the untamed land, mostly because they were wanted in other states. Last week, we looked to you, Power County, because if we didn’t live here, we would live somewhere else.
But we do live here, thank goodness, and it’s a great place to have a home and raise a family. We’ve lived here for a few years now, long enough that when we utilize local businesses, everyone knows who we are. (They know us because we are the ones yelling at our children who are running haphazardly every direction.)
That’s a new experience for me. Many of my growing up years were spent in Ogden, UT, which has a population of 200,000, give or take a 100,000 or so. Whatever it actually is, it’s a lot of people. With that many people, even running into someone I knew at the grocery store was a rare event. But not here. If you go in the grocery store here, and don’t know anyone, you will soon.
A hundred years is a long time. Those early pioneers fought hard to make it through tough winters here. We can learn a lot from their early struggling. We can learn, for example, that the only constant is change. Everything’s changed. Except the struggling: that seems to be pretty constant too.
Here are some things I’ve learned since living in Power County:
1. The proper way to navigate a four way stop is to spurt out a foot into the intersection, and if no one else has spurted that far out, close your eyes and gun it.
2. Taking pictures of eagles can get boring.
3. Going to Pocatello four times a day is never out of the question, no matter how high gas prices get.
4. Driving on dirt back roads always leads to somewhere, and sometimes very unexpectedly.
5. Gossip flows as thick as molasses, but you have to be careful. The person you are gossiping to might be someone’s second cousin’s ex.
6. Don’t put large electrical devices on people’s property without paying them. They get really, really mad. If you pay them, then it’s okay.
7. Vicious dogs must be muzzled and kenneled at all times. Nice dogs can roam freely.
8. No matter what time of year, and no matter if the falls are flowing or not, the old power plant is always breathtaking. Every picture of it looks like it was taken professionally. Don’t contradict that rule.
9. Arbon Valley is in the county, and goes to American Falls High School. It’s still a really, really long way away. If you go, pack a lunch.
10. People really listen. The mayor listens; the commissioners listen. So don’t say anything stupid.
That’s a lot to learn in a few short years. It makes me wonder what the next couple will bring. Or the next couple hundred. Probably people will still be going to Pocatello four times a day.