I moved to Oronoco in 2005 with my wife, Karen, and my daughter, Nicole. In the spring of 2013, Oronoco was switching over from well water to city water. So, on the outside of the water bill envelope, I decided to draw a cartoon of a gold miner and his donkey. Then I would drop it off in the water bill drop off box at the Oronoco City Hall building. I enjoyed drawing these two characters. Then I drew two more cartoons on the next two bills. At this time, I didn’t know if the two gals working in the office liked the cartoons or thought I was a little nutty for drawing on the water bill envelopes. So, I hand delivered the fourth water bill to see their reactions. When I walked into the office, they were probably wondering what I wanted. But, when I handed the monthly cartoon over, I was pleased to see two big smiles which made me smile. After that I was hooked. I know it might sound weird, but, I couldn’t wait to draw my next water bill cartoon.
After about ten months, I got an email from Sandy and Rebecca, the two gals from the office, asking if I could paint some murals in the city hall building where they worked. They really enjoyed the miner and his donkey, but, they wondered if I could add a female miner in with the other two characters. I said, “Sure, no problem. I can do that.” Realizing these characters needed some names, I named the miner, Bill, because he got his start on the water bill envelope. Bill’s donkey is named Jack. This is a family site, so for all of the adults out there, you know where the name Jack comes from. But, our donkey is a sweet donkey. Clare is the name of the female miner, who is a lovely young lady, and adds a little bit of a woman’s perspective to these two other western cartoon characters.
Carol from the Gold Rush Committee saw the mural paintings after they were done and thought the people at the Gold Rush event would like them. She presented Bill, Jack and Clare to the rest of the Gold Rush Committee and all of a sudden, Bill, Jack and Clare are now part of the 2014 Gold Rush event.
I hope everyone enjoys these funny, little, western, cartoon characters. I know I sure enjoy drawing these lovable creations and sharing them with you. I guess I never grew up, because I still draw my little cartoons as an adult. When I was a school kid it was my way of fitting in with my school peers and look busy doing homework.
Thank you to everyone who had a part in helping to bring these cartoon characters to life. I would never have thought that my little drawings would receive so much love.
But that’s Oronoco for you.
Hopefully we will see you all at the Oronoco Gold Rush.
From the creator of Bill, Clare and Jack.
Shean Eric Fritts
P.S. You can find the mural paintings in the men’s and women’s rest rooms in the Oronoco City Hall Community Center, but, please don’t go in the opposite sex rest rooms. That could be very embarrassing!