I guess it’s okay to admit now that I’m from Oregon.
The University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers have been whooping up on other college football teams around the country lately so maybe it’s time for me to come out of the closet and acknowledge my birthplace. Previously, I’ve been somewhat shy about saying from whence I came. I made sure people didn’t think I originally hailed from California (god forbid!), even though I moved up here from there. But I was kinda’ quiet about my Oregonian origins.
Sam’s looking at me as if to say, “You’re from Oregon? That explains a LOT.”
I suppose he’s right. Oregonians have the reputation of being a little - shall we say eccentric?
Here are a few fun facts about Oregon that I’ll bet you didn’t know. Six covered bridges are located (and preserved) in Lane County in or around the City of Cottage Grove where I was born. Cottage Grove is located on Interstate 5 approximately 20 miles from the major population center of the area (Eugene-Springfield).
The 1978 movie, Animal House was filmed at the University of Oregon and Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut. No, it’s not John Belushi, it’s the hazelnut. My grandfather used to have a hazelnut tree. He shot the blue jays in the tree when they tried to eat his nuts.
Oregon and New Jersey are the only states without self-serve gas stations.
Oregon’s state birthday is February 14, Valentine’s Day. No wonder I’m such a hopeless romantic.
Tillamook cheese comes from Oregon.
Maraschino cherries were invented by students in an Oregon State laboratory (they were trying to make medicine. Hm-m. I like my “medicine” with a cherry on top, don’t you?
In 1947, Walt Disney met with then Oregon athletic director Leo Harris and they reached an informal handshake agreement that granted the University of Oregon permission to use Donald Duck as its sports mascot.
Benny the Beaver is Oregon State’s official mascot. He beat out Jimmie the Coyote, which probably is a good thing since Oregon's nickname is the Beaver State. I kind of like Jimmie the Coyote though.
Oregon State has had an actual, honest-to-God nuclear facility on campus for many years. The college was awarded a grant to develop nuclear technology, and many students come from all over the world for this program. The facility is, of course, protected by armed guards. Eat your heart out Iran.
U of Oregon and Oregon State’s football programs used to be an annual embarrassment to me, so much of an embarrassment that when I was ready to attend college I didn’t even give the U or State a second thought. Instead, I attended Humboldt University in Humboldt County California, where I lived. At least HSU had a winning football team, the Lumberjacks. The defensive unit of the Jacks had a colorful name too, the Green chain, which if you ever worked in a sawmill you would totally understand. You had to be tough to work on a green chain.
So, Yay Oregon. Go Ducks! Go Beavs! Thanks to all that Nike money that’s been pumped into the U of O in recent years, the Ducks have been able to attract some decent players and a good coach. I’m not sure what the impetus behind the resurgence of the Beavers has been, but there has to be some money coming from somewhere. Hope it’s not from Iran.
I’m so proud to be from Oregon now I’m about ready to buy sweatshirts from the U of O and Oregon State. Apparently, other people from Oregon are beginning to feel safe to come out of the college affiliation closet too, because I’m seeing a lot of sweatshirts and window stickers around - hardly ever used to see those. Maybe I’ll buy Sam a little green and gold sweater or a black and orange one or both. Sam’s looking at me as if to say, “I don’t think so.” Two bags of poop on him. Love me love my teams.