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Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

It's almost time for the Polk County Fair! All summer we've been anticipating these four special days when everything good about our communities is showcased for us to see and enjoy.

Our 4-H members have been working hard for weeks and weeks to have their special projects and animals ready for judging and display, and their parents, leaders and other volunteers share in the fun.

We'll be there bright and early to enjoy an entire day and make new memories with visiting grandchildren from faraway places. They'll delight in everything from petting the animals to enjoying the carnival rides and eating corndogs with lots of bright yellow mustard.

It's our once-a-year time to meet friends old and new, to visit all the commercial booths, and to get advice on house and home projects. The fair is an old-and-new blend of the best of what Polk County has to offer.

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My husband, Don works Saturdays as a substitute rural mail carrier. His route includes Kings Valley Highway, where it is a joy to drive beside fields and farms and see occasional deer and other wildlife early on summer mornings.

Unbeknownst to Don, one of the tires on his car was going flat, and fortunately one of our local realtors who lives nearby called it to his attention. He even helped change the tire, and Don was back to work in a very short time. The special people who live in our communities certainly reinforce our first impression that this would indeed a very special place to live.

These everyday kindnesses are worth their weight in gold.

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Berries and peaches are at their peak now, and our kitchens are busy with jam and pie making. All the hard work and efforts put forth during these busy days will be appreciated and remembered on those dark and rainy winter mornings when the taste of summertime will appear on the breakfast table.

As a reminder that summer is flying past, apple trees are heavy with fruit and soon it will be time to savor those first wonderful bites and share the bounty with those we love.

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Every day we take our three golden retrievers on walks around MI Town and the Western Oregon University campus. They love the chance to get out and about, and the walk is good for all of us.

We're always careful to carry plenty of plastic bags for cleaning up those not-so-special items the dogs tend to drop off during our outings. It's not a fun task, but it goes along with responsible and caring dog ownership, so we do it.

Sadly, not everyone shares our concern, and we frequently notice dog droppings on lawns and sidewalks. Nobody appreciates having to deal with somebody else's doggie "stuff" (this is a family newspaper, so that word will suffice). So please remember to pick up after pets and be good neighbors!

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