Small Town Good Time

Commonly asked of people who move to the country by people who live in the city: What do you do there for fun?

It’s a reasonable question from someone with an untrained eye. There is no movie theater, no professional theater company. Most shops close at 6. Joseph used to have a bowling alley, but it was recently converted into a hardware store. A hardware store with really nice maple floors.

The answer is: You make your own fun. That might mean board games. That might mean softball. A hike. Fishing. A front-porch hootenanny. Taffy-pulls are not out the question. When I lived in the Columbia River Gorge, I heard tell of a swingers’ club. Don’t think there’s anything like that out here!

One thing we don’t do is stand in line to get into a bar. Nor do we pay $10 for a cocktail. Nor do we wait ten minutes to get said cocktail. However, if you’re looking for something more complicated than a rum-and-Coke, you’re probably out of luck. I stick with whiskey on the rocks. Foolproof.

Anyone who has young children spends Friday night the same way, no matter where they are: At their home, or the home of a friend with similarly aged children, or a school- or church-related activity. There are other kid-friendly events, mostly fundraisers and festivals, but those are usually during the day. On the other hand, many nighttime activities that might not welcome children in the city (events at the art center, square dances) do in the country.

Most of the traditional Friday-night revelry (i.e., beer-drinking) takes place in Enterprise or Joseph, at the Range Rider or the Hydrant, respectively.

Last night, I met a bunch of friends at the Hydrant for karaoke. I think I can count the number of times I’ve done karaoke on two hands, and I can’t remember the last time I sang, so it seemed overdue.

Karaoke night at the Hydrant: No cover and no lines

Karaoke night at the Hydrant: No cover and no lines

Even for Wallowa County in April, this was a thin crowd. One reason was there was some sort of dance party at the Stubborn Mule, a couple blocks away, from which a few people defected around 11 because it was too boom-boom-boom with the techno music.

I had a great time, singing “9 to 5” with one friend and “Suspicious Minds” with another. The bartender poured my whiskey just right. I’ve been too busy with school to worry about how to spend my Friday nights, but karaoke is an option I may revisit. I’m still hoping for bowling—the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Enterprise bought the equipment.

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