Letha–Spotlight

In Love with Mosquito City

Story and Photos by Amy Larson

When I parked across from the store in Letha, my key chain’s panic button was activated for ninety seconds, shattering the silence. Attempting composure, I walked past the ball field, crossing to the church as multiple cars turned into its lot. “One, two, three, four,” I counted as the cars parked. “Five, six, seven, eight, nine.” It was only nine-thirty a.m., and a Tuesday. Voting day.

An older gentleman in a beat-up green pickup truck tipped his beat-up cowboy hat as he drove by. In the truck bed, two cow dogs turned their heads. People walked in and out of a gymnasium next to the church, greeting one another in a relaxed, country way. Summoning courage to question total strangers after they voted, I asked about the late Bona Hale, a kind woman I figured everyone there had known. Repeatedly, I got blank stares.

“Well, we’re from Hanna, not Letha,” I eventually was told.

Someone said the gymnasium inside the church had been sectioned by a divider: Hanna voters on one side, Letha on the other.

“Too perfect,” I laughed.

“We’re Hanna. But we take in Letha,” said a woman who looked like a farm wife. “Does that make sense?”

No, I thought, but said, “Yeah, the divider represents Highway 52.”

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