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Friday, September 17, 2010

Hello From Pendleton! (Also: I'm Going to Hell)

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 8:57 AM

I just woke up on a sofa in Pendleton, OR, extremely hung over. I cannot begin to describe the extent of my headache, but I also don't know where the Advil is stored in this house I'm crashing at. The novelty air rifle and 40-inch TV, however, are quite visible. Also, there's a dunk tank in the backyard. Welcome to Pendleton! Patrick Alan Coleman and I will be here all weekend, blogging about the 100th Anniversary Pendleton Round Up.

I got into town last night just before sunset. The stretch leading into town resembled a country-western Hooverville, with tents set up on every scrap of land. An alarming amount of people were wearing pink cowboy shirts.

My Craigslist ride dropped me off in town (hello, Trista! Enjoy those cashews.). I start to slog up a steep hill to my host's house and immediately guy in tight jeans and a large belt overtakes me, offering to carry my bag. He introduces himself as Riley and wants to let me know there's a dance party at his house right now. Thanks, Riley. I tell him I have to go "charge my phone" (worst. excuse. ever.) but ask him what the deal is with all the people wearing pink. "Oh, it's breast cancer Tuesday. Thursday. What day is it?" he says, "The rodeo's been going on a long time." He then tells me to never listen to the rodeo clown, hands back my bag and takes off walking in the opposite direction. Thanks, Riley.

After the necessary phone charging, I plunge into downtown. It's drizzling slightly and I stop under the awning of a church to watch the crowd go by.

A church-going lady seizes the opportunity, asking me if I want to take a quick test to see if I'm going to Heaven. The test starts off with some tricksy Bible brainteasers ("How many animals of each kind did Moses put on the Arc? NONE! Moses wasn't on the Arc! Haha!") but after a handful of these, she looks me in the eye and asks, "Have you ever had lustful thoughts for a man?" She tells me that if I died tonight, i would go straight to Hell. Slightly fazed by my response that I don't believe in Heaven or Hell or God, she takes out a tiny laminated card. Jesus is on the front. The devil is on the back, burning in Hell. She points to the Hell side emphatically. "It's a real place," she says.

So don't worry about me, guys, she's praying for me this weekend. Let's hope she prays me out of this hangover.

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