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  • Kate Barker

Wise Advice from a rural Sheriff….

When we lived on our rural ranch in the 1990’s, I was often alone with our children while my Sweet Husband traveled to Japan for his business. Our nearest neighbor was at least a mile down the road and the Sheriff’s Department was over an hour away.

It’s been said before, but it is true….rural people think differently than city people. We’re used to depending on ourselves or our neighbors. It’s not that we don’t appreciate “government” help, it’s just that it’s not always readily available. And most governmental agencies in rural areas expect their population to do what they can in the face of an emergency.

So, if there’s a fire on a hillside, we get our shovels, run up the hill and do what we can to contain it until the volunteer firemen get there.

One day my neighbor stopped by to tell me a convict, from our minimum security facility in the county, escaped from the crew working on our side of the mountain. I was home alone with our children. I called the Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy: Hello, how can I help you?

Me: I live in Surprise Valley and my neighbor told me one of the convicts on the work crew escaped. I’m home alone at my ranch. Can you tell me if this is true?

Deputy: Ma’am, I cannot verify that.

Me: You mean you can’t tell me if a convict escaped?

Deputy: That’s right ma’am.

Me: Well, let’s just pretend one of them did, what should I do?

Deputy: Leave your keys in your vehicle, load your gun and lock your door.

Me: Thank you. You’ve been very helpful!

See? I told you we think differently. Translation……

Leave my keys in the vehicle: Just in case the convict may want to use the car to escape. A car isn’t worth a life.

Lock my door: Why would he tell me to lock my door? Doesn’t everybody keep their doors locked? Normally we didn’t lock our doors, except maybe at night. On a ranch you sometimes have to go in and out several times a day or a neighbor might need to use your phone.

Load my gun: He presumed I had a gun and that I knew how to load and shoot it. (I did)

I’ll never forget his succinct, wise advice!

(My precious daughter-in-law took the above photograph at our ranch)

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