Lorraine’s Lowdown: Fruitcake, square-dancing and those Gentle Giants | TheUnion.com

Lorraine’s Lowdown: Fruitcake, square-dancing and those Gentle Giants

Lorraine Jewett
Lorraine’s Lowdown

Since the debut of this column two weeks ago, I’ve been overwhelmed by happy news stories shared by The Union readers. Thank you, and keep’ em coming!

Late-night talk show host Johnny Carson famously quipped, “The worst Christmas gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other, year after year.” Coming to the defense of the much-maligned fruitcake was John Bohnert, who wrote a letter to The Union editor in December 2014 expressing his love for fruitcakes.

Two days later, a man delivered a fruitcake.

According to John, a 76-year-old U.S. Navy veteran: “The man’s wife, Nancee Beals, read my letter and wanted to give me one of her homemade fruitcakes. I was amazed and thanked Mr. Beals for the very kind gesture. I had a slice as soon as he left. Wow! Nancee’s fruitcake was outstanding. Since then, Nancee has delivered a homemade fruitcake in 2015, 2016, and 2017. I am so lucky to receive her delicious, homemade fruitcakes every December …”

September is International Square Dance Month, so do-si-do over to the local Goldancers’ free lesson at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Golden Empire Grange Hall. The Goldancers were established in 1949 and will celebrate their 70th anniversary this spring, making the club the oldest continuous square dance club in California. Thank you for the tip, Goldancer newsletter doyen Colleen Chapman …

The Friendship Club — dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering at-risk girls — grossed $90,000 at its 17th annual fundraiser Monday at 49er Fun Park. Friendship Club Executive Director Jennifer Singer said she’s eternally grateful: “We received donations from 500 people, and 300 people attended the event. This is another example of the whole community coming together to help each other …”

Kudos to the 216 volunteers at Empire Mine State Park who were recognized at a reception and dinner last week, honoring their 15,000 donated hours over the past year to our local gem under the tall trees. Two volunteers, Priscilla Vanderpas and Tom Newmark, were honored for their whopping 35 years of service apiece …

Priscilla is also a longtime member of the Nevada County Historical Society, and she reports that author Jerry Brady will again lead tours of You Bet. The mining town in which Jerry grew up no longer exists, but his tour includes interesting charts and rare old photos illustrating the days of hydraulic mining. Jerry, now in his 80s and living in San Pedro, will offer this year’s free tour – the 35th annual – Sept. 29. Attend the Historical Society’s meeting Thursday (NevadaCountyHistory.org) for details, or contact Priscilla at 530-272-5154 …

InConcert Sierra performs every third Sunday of the month through May at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cedar Ridge (InConcertSierra.org). The Oct. 21 concert features pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, and the Nov. 18 concert presents the Philadelphia Brass. Joan Goddard, vice president of the InConcert Sierra Board, shares: “Beautiful music is the language that deeply moves and unifies us. Now more than ever, we need unification in order to create a more peaceful and harmonious world…”

Nevada County veterans and many others mourn the passing of Dan Tanner last month. The U.S. Army veteran and county Veterans Services Officer was a fierce advocate for veterans until his retirement in 1999 …

It’ll take more than revenuers to stop the successful run of the new and popular Grass Valley Brewing Company on Main Street, the town’s first commercial brewery since Prohibition …

Nevada County Habitat for Humanity’s signature fundraiser, “Street of Dreams,” is Oct. 5. The evening includes more than 150 auction items, a gourmet dinner, and community camaraderie. “The most amazing and touching part of the evening is when all the Habitat homeowner families who are volunteering at the event come on stage to share their stories and their gratitude,” says Executive Director Lorraine Larson. “It really brings ‘home’ for Habitat supporters how many people now have a permanent roof over their heads because of their support …”

Today and tomorrow mark the final days of the 34th annual Draft Horse Classic at the fairgrounds. Ticket prices vary for the arena performances, but the entertainment, harvest fair, art show, and opportunities to pet the Gentle Giants are all free …

Former Nevada County Superintendent of Schools and The Union Editorial Board Member Terry McAteer was one of a dozen supporters hosting a recent fundraiser for a Congressional candidate. McAteer, who served as emcee, noted: “We raised over $13,000, so I guess I’m a good pick-pocketer …”

For readers who love to laugh, check out the Center for the Arts’ presentation of the San Francisco Comedy Competition finals on Friday. Sixteen contestants — who survived an elimination process that started with hundreds of comedians — will perform five- to seven-minute sets guaranteed to make guests literally LOL …

More humor: Sierra Stages (SierraStages.org) presents “You Can’t Take It with You” through Oct. 6. “From the moment that I started telling people that I was directing it, I have heard more varieties of ‘I love that play!’ than I would have thought possible,” says director Scott Gilbert, who hasn’t directed locally in a decade. “This play, about an eccentric family and their more eccentric friends, encourages us all to follow our dreams, hilariously …”

Retired high school district superintendent Louise Johnson claims one of the toughest parts of her old job was declaring a Snow Day. After the vacation she and her husband experienced recently, she now wishes Snow Days were the biggest problem Mother Nature dished out. “I’ve been feeling very smug these last few months about never having to worry about calling a Snow Day again,” recounts Louise. “Jeff and I went to Hawaii to celebrate his birthday and my retirement. While there, we spent three days ‘sheltered in place’ waiting for Hurricane Lane. Meanwhile, the high winds from the storm without the rain fueled a wildfire a few miles down the road …”

Currently, this column is slated to publish every two weeks, so please try to give me three weeks’ notice of upcoming events you’d like to publicize. My email inbox is already bursting at its digital seams with community nuggets I look forward to sharing. Let’s have fun with this column, my friends.


Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. To submit positive news, fun stories, or thoughtful recollections for this column, contact Lorraine at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

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