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Successful Bar-B-Que and lots of good books

I finally corralled Washington Fire Chief Mervalous Merv Lee long enough to find out how the Chicken Bar-B-Que and Auction turned out, and he was a happy man. I’ll let him tell you about it.

“The auction brought in about $2,900, a record-breaker for us. Bigtown businesses and residents went out of their way to help us out; we had beautiful items and services up for bid. Big Dan was a fun auctioneer, and people really responded to him; the auction was a surprise highlight.



“We had some dinners and a few T-shirts left over, and the crowd was a bit down, just like the county fair, but we still made more than $3,000 from the dinner. Considering what the country’s been through in the last year, I think people are more cautious about how they spend their money, but I’m not complaining. Every dollar we get makes a difference to us.

“We’re already planning to spend some of the proceeds for new firefighting gear for volunteers who recently completed the CDF Basic 32 Course. Y’know, the old ways have disappeared, where the siren would go off and everybody would hop on the fire truck and hightail it to wherever the fire was. Hell, I remember people goin’ out on the Maybert Fire in `97 dressed in the clothes they stood up in.




“Even now, some of our locals get their feelings hurt or get angry when they show up for a fire call and we have to turn `em away because they aren’t certified for a wildland fire. It’s too dangerous. I know they’re ready, willing and able to help out, but times have changed, and that’s just how it is.

“So we spend the first Saturday in August sweatin’ over those grills, burnin’ chickens, because that’s how we get the money to pay for the equipment our volunteers must have. Their safety is absolutely first and foremost, no matter how much heart they have. There is no fire in this world bad enough to risk the life of one firefighter, and I don’t know anybody who would disagree with that. We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got, just like always, and be grateful for every buck that comes our way.”

The Washington Public Library is now full to bursting. There is no more room. Last week, Sugartush staggered into the house with a huge box filled to the top with great paperbacks.

“Books from the Bells in Grass Valley,” he gasped. Mr. and Mrs. Bell, all the readers in Littletown say thanks; those books aren’t going to stay around very long.

Then Edna Anderson called to say she had some books. She is a third-generation Californian and attended the University of California at Berkeley, got a bachelor’s degree in science, and worked as a lab tech.

For quite awhile she ran a Nevada City pottery shop, “House of Joy.”

She lived in the Gardener’s Cottage at what is now the Empire Mine State Historic Park for 16 years and presently lives in a fairy house whose walls are lined with beautiful paintings and crafts.

Edna and several other families have such extensive art collections that they’d like to open a museum dedicated to the artists of the foothills. If you can lend a hand, please raise your hand and step forward, as they could use some help in doing so.

The WPL looks better than it has in years, thanks to a good cleaning and a vacuum cleaner hooked up to enough extension cords (three) to reach from the house to the trailer. Come on down to Washington and borrow some books … the door is always open.

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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