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August 28, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 28, 2014

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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-19 Poet Dean Olson, a Skokomish Valley native and 1959 graduate of a new poetw collection, 'Off the Clock.' . Journal photo by Gordon Weeks Shelton High School, has released MY FATHER By Dean Olson My father was a common man, a miner, logger, father of four sons, a daughter. There was a calmness, a solitude about him. He spoke little, yet saw all things that needed seeing, and though he never spoke of love I felt selected standing next to him, so well made by bed of certainty. My father was a short bald man with heavy shoulders and strong hands. He rose early and sometimes took his sons to split winter wood or hunt winter food. We watched and wanted to walk near him as he ripened with age. Though he has been set free I sit beside myfather now as if in the shade of a giant willow. We touch for the first time as the other world comes into mine. He teaches the silence of simply doing, the delicious taste of patience. This poem was used with permis- sion by the author. Shetton High alum reflects, releases 10th book of poetry BY GORDON WEEKS gordon@masoncoUnty com Skokomish Val]ey native Dean Olson begins poems by hand in small notebooks, usually in the evenings and often with wine, in his television-free Olympia apart- ment. The Shelton High School gradu- ate, who turned 76 last week, re- cently released his 10th collection of poems, "Off the Clock." It's his third book with the McKinleyville, California, publishing company Fifthlan Pr~s~. The poems in "Off the Clock" ex- plore nature and the seasons, ag- ing, boatmg, love, family and grati, tude. The book is available at Sage Books in Shelton, Orca Books in Olympm anal at Amazon.com. Some of his works focus "on grow r g up,prior in the Skokomish Vall4y. Olson remembers his faro- ily gathering to listen to the radio in the poem "Cheap Seats," which begins: We had to listen in our heads as if watching a newsreel with lights dimmed, the outline of it entering us. The poet reflects on mortality in "The Way We Die," which begins: The day we die ..... the moon sends the sea to wash away our footprints Marks we made in a lifetime of making , are swept away easy as touching tongues "I hope it probes (readers) on their thinking, causes them to re- flect on themselves," Olson said. "I hope they enjoy it. I hope they find it provocative." Olson was born and raised in Colorado, where his father worked as a miner. He was 10 when his family moved to the Skokomish Valley, where his mother had two sisters working at a small mill. Olson's father worked at the mill. The family of seven lived in a house built for a farmhand. "We didn't know it then, but we were on the edge," he said. "But it was a great place to grow up." The family moved to Shelton's Mountain View neighborhood, and Olson attended Shelton High School, from which he graduated in 1959. Poetry was still a foreign language to him then, he said. "Hell, I barely read!" Olson ex- claimed. "I didn't start writing po- etry until I was retired from teach- ing." Olson joined the Air Force at age 17 and served for four years. After returning to Shelton, he worked in plywood mills and Christmas tree farms. see POET, page A-24 HARSTINE ISLAND NEWS rmers ma going strong; summer My apples and Asian pears are just about ready to pick. The maple trees are showing some color. A dewy chill licks the grass blades each morning, and the sun keeps slipping down the southern horizon. I think fall is tapping on the window. The farmers mar- ket is still going strong. From my ob- servations, this has been one of the best- attended markets in years. Now, with the approach of fall, the 2015 Harstine Is- land Community Club calen- dars will be available for pur- chase starting at this week's market, on Saturday.-The ..... By MIKE CALLAGHAN remaining Centennial T-shirts will be on sale at a discounted price, but not all sizes or col- ors will be available. On Sept. 3, senior lunch organizers will be serving up their much-loved barbecue country ribs along with baked beans, coleslaw and a cook's choice cake. Then on Sept. 17, they will have one of my favorites -- meatloaf, baked potatoes and green salad and fruit crisp topped with whipped cream. As usual, serving starts at noon. But with an average of 100 people show- ing up for lunch, plan on get- ting there-~little earlier. A $3 donation is requested, because these dedicated vol- unteers work for hours to pre- pare themeals and they don't need to pay for the food out of their own pockets. Everyone ages 50 and older and their friends are invited. All those commercials for school supplies are an- other sign fall is creeping closer. And, yes, school will be starting right after Labor Day. Pioneer School has not let the summer slide by with- out continuing to teach. In today's world, it seems like more and more education is required. Pioneer School did its part to keep our students moving forward. Dan Beau- doin coordinated the school's -summer program and sent~me- this report of its activities and results: "Approximately 80 to 90 students attended Pioneer School's four-week summer program in July, called Link Up Summer Sensation. The free program, funded by the 21st Century Learning Grant and Pioneer School District, included transportation, snacks, lunches and weekly field trips. A fantastic and energetic team of educators was assembled to design the exciting program offerings that provided students with both grade-level skills and en- richment opportunities to en- hance student learning across a variety of content areas. To quote one staff member, 'The - students won't even know that they are learning because it will be so much tim!' Students attended a one-hour academic lesson each day, where math, science and language arts were intertwined with the theme of the week. This was followed by student-selected enrichment activities, includ- ing 4-H gardening, robotics, basketball skills and drills, arts and crafts, dance, iMovie creation, blundering builders, and cooperative games. "The point of Summer Sensation camp was to make learning fun in a summer- camp-like environment and to help prevent what is called grade slide, which occurs during the summer months - " " see HARSTINE, page A-24