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Day: November 20, 2014

“Falling from Horses” by Molly Gloss


Falling from Horses” by Molly Gloss

c.2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
$25.00 / $32.00 Canada
336 pages



Be careful what you wish for.

No doubt, you’ve been told that before. What you want and what you need are often two different things, and desires can be dangerous. The wrong wish acquired could lead to disaster. Or, as in the new novel “Falling from Horses” by Molly Gloss, it could also be a means of escape.

For Bud Frazer, Hollywood was almost a last-minute thought.

Oh, the notion to go there had fleetingly occurred to him a time or two while watching westerns at the local theatre. After awhile, he reasoned that if movie cowboys could get paid for riding, then so could he; riding was something he knew well. Winning second-prize rodeo money only sealed the idea.

It was 1938, and Bud’s parents worked on somebody else’s Oregon ranch, after having lost their own. Bud was eighteen, and Hollywood sounded good; he couldn’t bear to go with his folks, away from the land he considered home. There was just no point. After his sister died, there was nothing left to say.

And as the bus crossed into California from Oregon, Bud met Lily Shaw.

She wasn’t much to look at; she was older than Bud, but he decided he liked her anyhow. She was bold; said she was headed to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, and she seemed to know what she was talking about. Once they hit town, she even pointed him toward a place to stay.

She couldn’t help with work, but Bud managed that. He spent a couple months wrangling on a ranch that provided horses for movie companies, then a ramrod gave him decent money for stunt riding. He worked a few movies, collected a few scars, and learned enough about the industry to sour him. Every now and then, he called his parents, and he thought about Lily Shaw.

She was irritating, driven, and courageous, always acting like she was smarter. She liked to pretend that she had things to teach him.

It took years for Bud to learn…

I had a bit of a hard time with “Falling from Horses” at first. It’s slow, and moseys a little too much; in fact, I almost quit it twice.

But then, after thirty pages or so, I gasped at one of author Molly Gloss’s small plotlines. My “awwww” response was on high, and I realized that I was completely wrapped up in what’s ultimately a quiet novel of friendship and haunting memories.

The kicker is in the way that Gloss ekes out her backstory. Through that, we get to know characters that are integral to the tale but that barely make an appearance in it. Those glimpses were my favorite part here because they act to smooth out the edges of the rest of the novel. And no, I can’t tell you more.

Again, this book starts slow but stick with it. It’s worth it in the end, especially if you like old movies, old cowboys, or gentle tales. For you, “Falling from Horses” could be all you wish for.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is based in Wisconsin.

Three arrested in drug bust

From left to right: Erin Wells, Jamie France, Jarrod Wells,
From left to right: Erin Wells, Jamie France, Jarrod Wells,

Of the Keizertimes

Three adults were arrested in a Keizer Police Department drug bust on Wednesday – with one arrested while her two young children were home.

The two boys, ages 4 and 7, have been placed in the care of a relative by a Department of Human Services case worker.

Erin Marie Wells, 37, was arrested around 6 a.m. Nov. 19 at her residence at 1922 Saundra Lee Way NE in Keizer.

Later, Jarrod Thomas Wells, also 37, was arrested at the Rodeway Inn on Astoria Way NE in Salem along with 23-year-old Jamie Lynn France.

“The investigation is continuing and additional charges and arrests are likely,” said Sgt. Bob Trump with the KPD’s Community Response Unit (CRU).

According to Trump, in June the KPD received a report alleging Jarrod Wells was selling methamphetamine from his home on Saundra Lee Way. The complaint was assigned to the CRU and an investigation was started.

That investigation led to the search warrant being served early Wednesday morning at the home owned by the Wells. Investigators got a lead Jarrod Wells and France were at the hotel. They were arrested without incident.

Jarrod Wells was arrested on three counts of delivery of meth, three counts of delivery of meth within 1000 feet of a school, two counts of child neglect and one count each of frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, delivery of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of heroin, controlled substance offense and controlled substance offense schedule 1 and 2. His total bail was set at $415,000.

Erin Wells was charged on two counts of child neglect and one count each of frequenting a place where controlled substances are used, possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine. Her bail was set at $195,000.

France, the 2009 winner of the Miss Teen Oregon-World competition, was charged with one count each of possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin and possession of suboxene.

All three were booked into the Marion County Correctional Facility.

Taken from the house were more than an ounce of heroin, several grams of methamphetamine, a small amount of psilocybin (hallucinogenic) mushrooms, drug records and other evidence of sales and possession of controlled substances.

“The investigation substantiated that regular sales of controlled substances were occurring from the home,” Trump said.

Investigators found “generally chaotic conditions” in the house, with household items and garbage stacked. A previously burned mattress was found, in addition to burn marks on carpeting and indications of smoke damage. All but one of the smoke detectors in the house had been removed. Police also found numerous hand-held torches throughout the home, used in the distribution and use of controlled substances.

“Heroin and methamphetamine were strewn throughout the home and were within easy reach of the two children,” Trump said. “The investigation revealed that in addition to selling controlled substances, the three adults were regularly using the substances.”

A few grams of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and records of drug sales and other items were also found in the hotel room in Salem.

New group takes up River Road visioning


Of the Keizertimes

Remember getting homework on the first day of school?

Members of the Keizer Economic Development Commission (KEDC) can identify.

The group met for the first time at noon on Election Day, Nov. 4 at Keizer Civic Center. Before the group adjourned, chair and mayor-elect Cathy Clark had already given a homework assignment.

“There will especially be a review of the River Road Renaissance, what needs to be updated or changed on it and if the whole thing needs an overhaul,” Clark said. “That’s the big homework, is the RRR.”

The formation of the KEDC was first discussed a year ago and formalized in March, the same time two dormant groups (River Road Renaissance Advisory Committee and the Keizer Urban Renewal Board) were officially ended.

Nate Brown, director of Community Development for Keizer, noted the Keizer Compass visioning exercise helped develop a vision of what Keizer is.

“That vision and RRRAC are important for this committee to understand,” Brown said. “That includes looking at why it was done and the things contained in it. We’ll get a sense today of what we want this commission to do and be.”

Clark emphasized the need for updates.

“RRR is something we’ve developed, done parts of it, but it’s 10 years old,” she said. “Can we look at that, which parts to move forward with, which parts are done and which parts need to be updated? How do we update RRR and how do we do it right?”

Mardi Smith called for a sprucing up of River Road.

“I want River Road to look festive,” she said. “I’d like to see flower baskets. Sam Orcutt Way could maybe be closed for a Wednesday market like Salem does.”

Sam Goesch noted River Road is not pedestrian friendly by and large.

“River Road is not a pedestrian corridor,” he said. “It doesn’t always feel safe for pedestrians. Maybe we could move the sidewalk away from the curb. It also hasn’t developed a sense of place. It doesn’t feel any different when you come into Keizer. There’s nice landscaping on the corner (when entering from Salem), but drive past that and you’re anywhere in America.”

Clark agreed with the sentiments about the sidewalks.

“I love walking on River Road where (the sidewalks) are set in,” she said. “Right next to the road, not so much. Things like that make the community feel safer.”

A.J. Nash wanted to know what tools he had to work with.

“It would be helpful to know dollar amounts, timing and hopeful outcomes,” Nash said. “I feel great about having a festive feeling, but it is so open-ended. I want to be part of a group with you all and get something done. I would hate to get off the starting gate, then realize we don’t have the tools or resources to get that done.”

Rick Day noted the importance of available land.

“Space is a huge thing,” Day said. “We have hardly any industrial land.”

At the next KEDC meeting, Brown will go over the Employment Opportunities Analysis completed last year.

“We have to understand how we got where we are, then what our next steps are,” Clark said. “At our next meeting Nate will give us the cliff notes version.”

In other KEDC business Nov. 4:

• Clark was selected as chair of the group, with Day selected as vice chair. Sam Goesch noted he was fine with the selection, but wondered if it could be a conflict of interest to have the new mayor be chair of the group.

“Sam, there is nothing in the rules that prevents that,” Brown said. “The point is perhaps valid in that the mayor has a lot of duties. Being chair of this group may be something to think about. But nothing in the ordinance prevents her from being chair.”

• The initial nine group members are Day, Smith, Cesar Vallejo, Troy Young, Clark, Tony Williams, Scott White, Nash and Goesch.

• The group agreed to meet quarterly, on the first Tuesday of the month. That means meetings in 2015 will be on Jan. 6, April 7, July 7 and Oct. 6.