Windward Review

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Volume 18, 2021

The family owned a perfectly

good house in the beautiful valley

of the Illinois River in southern

Oregon—and paid a neighbour

a small stipend to look

after the place—but even there

she found excuses to complain.

As long as Cam had known her,

she had complained about the

weather for six months every

year. Yvonne had been diagnosed

with Seasonal Affective

Disorder, but giving it a name

didn’t make living with her unjustified

anger any easier for her

husband or their kids.

Three hours of leisurely

driving from the uninhabited

Arrabury brought Cam to Cordillo

Downs Station, where he

stopped to look at the largest

woolshed in Australia.

Vegetarian for fifteen years,

Cam nevertheless felt pleased

to discover that the 140-year-old

Cordillo Downs Station formed

a major part of a 27,000 acre organic

beef operation. He also

felt pleased to escape the crippling

heat in the surprisingly

cool interior of the stone and

mud woolshed. Always eager to

acquire new knowledge, Cam

delighted in learning the two

foot thick walls had been built in

1883 and witnessed the shearing

of 100,000 sheep a year in days

long past.

As Cam climbed back into

his pickup at Cordillo Downs,

he thought of his family. Ben,

the elder, could have enrolled

at Southern Oregon University

and earned his degree close

to home, but he liked Eugene,

so the University of Oregon

seemed the natural choice.

He had surprised himself by

enjoying his studies more than

he expected and the party life of

Eugene less than he expected.

Ben emailed his father every

week or two and said he’d probably

message his dad more often

if the old man would get on

Facebook. A big Portland law

firm had offered Ben a scholarship

and a part-time job, so he

planned to collect his bachelor’s

degree and remain in Eugene to

make the transition from undergraduate

life to law school at the

end of the academic year.

Ben’s sister Alice had joined

Ben as a U of O student at the

beginning of the year but rarely

saw her brother, both because

their academic work kept

them busy and because they

socialized with different friends.

Alice continued to achieve academic

success commensurate

with her exceptional abilities

and seemed to enjoy her rather

demanding undergraduate life.

Civility + You

37

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