Valley folk have a sense of humour about a lot of things, but they have absolutely no patience for people taking shots at their love of hunting or labelling them as "rednecks."
Enter one letter writer who put local residents in her crosshairs and fired both "hunting" and "redneck" bullets into the heart of the Valley.
In the West Carleton Review of Feb. 4, Amanda Lee-Hutchinson reacted to a story that ran the week before about a coyote killing contest sponsored by Al's Corner Store in West Carleton.
She was disgusted by the idea. She has a right to her opinion. The letter may have ruffled a few feathers based on the whole "anti-hunting" sentiment, attacking the idea of the contest, but she squeezed off a couple of rounds at not only hunters, but residents in general.
You want to become public enemy #1 in the Valley? A good way to do that is to call the locals "rednecks" and state that you're considering sponsoring a "redneck kill contest" where the targets are people in John Deere hats and bush jackets.
And then, for good measure, toss in a line about bad grammar and pick-up trucks.
She stopped short of insulting mothers and their cooking.
Here is a link to her letter: http://www.yourottawaregion.com/opinion/letters/article/607631--coyote-contest-disgusting-embarrassment-to-town
That was more than a month ago.
People are still pissed about her comments. The paper received more letters in reaction to that one letter than they have on any single topic in recent memory. They ran reaction letters for a few weeks and still had many more they couldn't fit in because of space or libel issues.
To say that letter stirred up a hornets' nest would be an understatement.
Admittedly, it was fun to read the reactions. Then again, I'm not Amanda Lee-Hutchinson.
Have your say. If you don't like the idea of the coyote contest, by all means, have your say.
But don't do it by insulting the Valley folk.
That's a peeing match you don't want to be part of whatsoever.
Personally, I'm not a big fan of the bounty being placed on the coyotes. And I'm a hunter. And a Valley lad.
And I've even taken my share of line drives off the ol' coconut over the years.
But even this fellow would never fire those shots to get my point across. And I hunt. Have owned a 4x4, wear a bush jacket and have said "youse guys" more than once.
Valley folk can joke amongst themselves about their trucks, their love of hunting and their grammar. But you weren't accepted as being even remotely "Valley."
What in the hell were you thinking?
The dust still hasn't settled. And the worst part for the letter writer is that the real issue became buried under the avalanche of reaction to the redneck comments.
I'm not sure what I'd rather see standing at the edge of my property - a coyote baring its teeth or a pissed off person from the Valley.
I'll take my chances with the coyote.