Who Knows Where You'll End Up

A Trail About Rabbit Trails

For a first post, what better than a rabbit trail about rabbit trails? As with many trails, this one begins with a Google search: “rabbit trails”

Lo! and behold! I found a site that defines idioms. It doesn’t look like it’s been updated in a while, but it still contains some great information and temptations to wander away on many rabbit trails in the future. Cherie made the site to help non-English speakers understand some idioms. Here’s what she writes:

You know how sometimes a discussion can go off on a crazy tangent, make lots of crazy turns? You don’t know where it’s going, and you don’t know how you got there? Your discussion has gone down a Rabbit Trail. (Sometimes I like to call them bunny trails when I’m feeling silly.)

If you’ve ever seen a dog follow a real rabbit trail in a field or someone’s back yard, you’ll see where this idiom comes from. The dog will endlessly sniff around in circles, never getting anywhere. And it certainly never finds the rabbit! Rabbit trails in discussions can be fun and interesting, but they usually interfere with resolving the topic at hand.

Yep, the “topic at hand” falls by the wayside and you’re down the trail! This trail led me to find out who Cherie is. After a few starts and stops, I found her as the pastor of Joseph United Methodist Church in Joseph, Oregon.

I found this interesting because I grew up in the United Methodist Church, and have worked in churches in various capacities all my life. I visited the church site and prowled around a bit. Seems like a nice place, and they have virtual services you can attend, if you’re looking for something like that during the pandemic.

Joseph, Oregon is in the northeast corner of the state and was named after Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce people.

Chief Joseph’s story is a tragic one, as with many of the Native Americans whom the whites removed from their homelands. You may remember Chief Joseph from the last line of his famous speech when he surrendered to the army:

“I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

On a happier note, another person affiliated with Joseph, Oregon is the actor Walter Brennan. In 1940, Brennan purchased the 12,000 acre Lightning Creek Ranch, north of Joseph. He built the Indian Lodge Motel, a movie theater, and a variety store, and continued going to Joseph between film roles until his death. Some of his family still live around there.

I was surprised to learn that Brennan is one of only three male actors to win three Academy Awards!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this first trail, and will become a regular RTer. Comments are welcomed and encouraged.

This Rabbit Trail:

  1. Google
  2. And Today’s Idiom Is…
  3. Cherie
  4. Joseph United Methodist Church
  5. Joseph, Oregon — link onelink two
  6. Chief Joseph
  7. Walter Brennan

Next

An Old Coin and a New Word

2 Comments

  1. Cherie

    Hi David! Thanks for the shout out. (Do the kids still say that? lol) Great blog. And, another point of connection. I lived in West Texas (Odessa/Midland) for about 10 years.

    Have a blessed day!

    • Thanks Cherie, you get the honor of being my very first comment! I’d send you a tshirt, if they existed. 🙂

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