Saturday, January 28, 2023

Thoughts on community

by By Larry Wilson
| June 1, 2022 6:45 AM

Slowly we are moving closer to summer. On Saturday I enjoyed an outdoor barbecue with friends and neighbors at Trail Creek. It was a great time because the neighbors have a covey of youngsters from eight years of age to early teens and some of us have kids from seventeen to thirty. That means there were adults from thirty to eighty-five. Even though I suffered through that Happy Birthday song it was great. A real microcosm of what the North Fork is really about. Friendly folks enjoying this wonderful place.

Saw four grizzlies, tons of deer but no elk or moose. The wide diversity of wildlife is a major part of what makes the North Fork special. Add in the beautiful scenery and you realize how special this place really is.

In fact, the only negatives are created by the humans. I was recently asked by a newcomer to the North Fork if there were the kind of arguments among homesteaders that are becoming more common among today’s residents. My answer was a quick ‘No!’, but I have had to think a lot about why.

First of all, homesteaders did not have the ease of communication that we have today.

Most contact was face to face and this settled quickly with words or fistcuffs. Then, in most cases it was over. After all, there were few people in a place where you often had to depend on your neighbors. The community quickly came together to build log homes and barns and a sick resident could depend on neighbors to help feed the stock, feed the kids or even just keep the fires going.

If you were stuck on the road the next person along would help you. I am not sure neighbors today would spend five days transporting a deceased neighbor to town – breaking a trail and pulling the body on a sled.

Today, of course, there are more people and thus more contact. Homesteaders all had 160 acres so there was plenty of space between homes. Today, there are a lot of small ownerships and thus much more likelihood of irritation.

I know of at least three privacy fences on the North Fork. These are, I assume, built so neighbors can’t see in.

Today social media has become so nasty I avoid most of it. Nasty, obnoxious emails have caused at least one local to be shunned by most of his neighbors and there are currently at least two lawsuits involving neighbors.

In 1933 two North Forkers were shot and killed. One was a dispute over trespass and the other was a love triangle. In both cases the shooter was declared not guilty and neither spent a day in jail.

I hope this is a history that will not repeat itself.

What do you think?

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