Lorraine’s Lowdown: When shoes go mobile | TheUnion.com
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Lorraine’s Lowdown: When shoes go mobile

A Touch of Ireland in an Italian restaurant in downtown GeeVee — how eclectic! Cirino’s at Main Street is being outfitted with snugs, curtains that enclose and make private seating areas in the bar and restaurant. “Snugs began in Ireland in the late 19th century, and they’re an elegant way to enact the social distancing required during this pandemic,” says owner Jerry Cirino. “Close the curtains for privacy, or open them to see your friends.”

A Family Connection. Among other establishments, snugs were made famous in San Francisco at the Tadich Grill, the oldest, continually operated restaurant in California that was once owned by the grandfather of Jerry’s wife, Donna. Promise: You’ll read here when Cirino’s is ready to reopen…

Another ’Frisco Restaurant that embraced snugs was Sam’s Grill, the scene of a legendary encounter back when alcohol consumption was prohibited on Election Day in California. Take it away, Tom O’Toole of Alta Sierra: “My grandfather, John J. O’Toole, was San Francisco City Attorney. He was surreptitiously having a drink on Election Day in 1943 or ’44 with Mayor Angelo Rossi and a judge whose name I don’t recall. The three were sequestered away in one of the snugs at Sam’s Grill. The judge excused himself to use the restroom moments before police arrived and cited my grandfather and the mayor. When the case came to trial, the judge was none other than their drinking partner, who imposed a nominal fine to ensure some semblance of law and order appeared to be maintained…”

Frank Pfaffinger Is as Talented as he is stubborn. The coronavirus lockdown forced him to close the Nevada City Shoe Repair shop he operated for 33 years, yet his new al fresco business is thriving. The entrepreneur now parks his repair truck on the street near his old location at 117 Argall Way in NevCity. Frank is there Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “There is no way I was going to retire, so I went mobile,” says Frank. “I’m still able to sew and hand-stitch shoes, boots, purses and belts made of everything from leather to vinyl to plastic…”

Nick Wilczek is wrapping up his first week as Nevada County Librarian. Nick has more than a decade of experience with the Dewey Decimal System, plus a Master of Library Science degree. He’s a big numbers kinda guy because he now oversees a library staff of 33 at six locations and a $5 million budget. But he can also be a minimalist: he and his fiancé have been engaged for one month and are planning an intimate wedding for just the two of them, followed by a bigger party afterwards. Nick says, “Nevada County is a wonderful place with a wonderful library. I couldn’t be happier to be here in service to this community. My fiancé and I have only lived in the county for a few weeks, but we already feel at home…”

Subaru Superheroes. Volz Bros. Auto just completed its 1,000th Subaru head gasket repair job. It’s not that Subarus have a lot of head gasket issues; it’s that Volz Bros. is the go-to shop for those cars. The crew has repaired more Subarus over the past 38 years in business than any other NevCo shop. “There was some conversation whether we were at 998 or 1,000 this week, until customers dropped off two more Subarus,” says Prez/CEO John Volz. “So now we’re 100% confident we surpassed the 1,000 Subaru milestone…”

After Nearly Four Decades, Jim Abraham is retiring from SPD Market in GeeVee. Jim’s esteemed career at the grocery store began Nov. 9, 1981. “He’s been a long-time fixture at the company,” says store manager Greg Wasley. “He loved telling everyone about gardens and how to grow produce.” Loyal customer Mary Ann Boyer says Jim made everyone feel special. “I am sure his line was the slowest because he talked so much,” jokes Mary Ann. “He would tell you what you were making with the products you were buying, and then proceed to tell you how to make it better.” Jim says his retirement plans aren’t complicated: “No plans other than to relax…”

There May Be Mask Mayhem in NevCity, but not among those sworn to protect and serve. “Just as when the shelter-in-place order first started, the Nevada City Police Department is taking an educational approach as opposed to an enforcement approach,” says Chief Chad Ellis. “The key is to stay safe and healthy and protect our community members, especially those who are elderly or have pre-existing health conditions…”

From American Journalist Fulton Oursler (1893-1952): “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret over the past and fear of the future…”

Share with neighbors in our humble hamlet your fun stories of the past and plans for the future. Email LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.


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