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Celebrating the end of summer

Is it Labor Day weekend already? Why, that means winter is a very few months away, and winter in Washington means slick, snowy roads; struggling with tire chains; frigid mornings; heavy clothing that makes me look even bulkier than I really am … mmm, I can hardly wait for that fashion statement.

But you don’t have to wait for the Washington Hotel’s end-of-summer celebration, which is happening today and tomorrow. The hotel has engaged the Blues Patrol band to play kick-up-your-heels music on those nights in the cafe.

Chef Wil Chambers will have your dinner ready on Sunday afternoon with a choice of barbecued chicken or spareribs. Side dishes will be whatever is in the gardens of local residents; everybody in town is giving the hotel tomatoes still warm from the vine, corn on the cob, zucchini, cucumbers and whatever else is in season. I have no idea if there’s a dessert. I’m afraid to ask Wil because he’ll start rhapsodizing about cherries, tortes and chocolate curls and I don’t know what all.



I long ago lost my cool on slick winter roads, so pretty soon I won’t be getting into Bigtown a lot. That makes me sad because I won’t be meeting warm, friendly people like Adrienne, a silver-haired beauty who insists she’s 64 years old (impossible). Her daughter, Robin, was with her; and Adrienne has a second daughter, Barbara, also living in Nevada County.

“We have the most fantastic mother-daughter relationship in the world,” Adrienne told me. I didn’t miss the loving look Robin gave her. My own mom passed years ago, and I suddenly, intensely missed her.




As for living in Nevada County, Robin said, “This is the closest to heaven I’ll probably ever get.”

I told you that our already-beloved new mayor is Philip Copening, probably the first African American to hold that office in Nevada County, if not the entire northeastern part of California, and I asked if anybody in The Unionland knew any different.

Well, danged if I didn’t get a letter from Bob Hartley with a copy of an article from the Appeal-Democrat about Edward Duplex and his contribution to Yuba County history. Mr. Duplex, an African American, owned a barbershop and bathhouse in Wheatland. He was elected mayor and sworn in as such in April 1888, “… he may well have been the first man of his race to hold such a high office in the entire western United States.” Zounds! Thank you, Bob, you’re really on the ball!

Maureen Tassone said she and a group of her friends (ladies in their 70s and 80s, mind you) like to go hiking occasionally, and recently were doing so on Spanish Mine Road along Poorman Creek, where they took a break for lunch.

They found a huge watermelon chilling in the middle of the stream, and they looked high and low for its owner, evidence of a campsite, anything. Eventually they gave up and hauled in the melon, which happened to be seedless – how much better can things get?! There was plenty to share amongst the nine of them and enough to take home and enjoy.

“Gosh, there wasn’t a soul around at all,” Maureen said. “The watermelon was sweet as can be; it tasted just wonderful, a perfect part of our day. We thought maybe someone had put the melon in the creek and forgotten about it. One of us wrote ‘thanks’ in the sand by the creek. We’re sorry if we were wrong, but we sure do thank whoever may have left it there!”

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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