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Adverture in Bigtown

Vivian Herron, Columnist
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Last week I introduced you to my flatlander friend, Mary Eby, who spends part of every summer up here. She needs to spend time here to maintain her sanity. She told me about an unusual adventure she had in Bigtown.

“I was window shopping on Broad Street and fell into a conversation with a couple of other visitors, and we somehow ended up having lunch together, can you imagine that? And people in the stores in Nevada City were all so friendly to me, it was so much fun to talk to them.

“Then I went over to Grass Valley and browsed through all the stores on Main and Mill streets, and the very same thing happened there … one store owner said, ‘Listen, the next time you come up to Grass Valley, let me know and we’ll have lunch, how does that sound?’ That’s so amazing.”



I asked, “Doesn’t that ever happen where you’re from?” She laughed and said no. I leaned forward and said, “But that kind of friendliness goes on all the time in Nevada County every day. It’s nothing new. That’s just how people are here.”

Tony Metz told me how he’d run downtown to Grass Valley to buy a widget (“Be back in a jiffy!”) and it would take hours because he had to stop a few minutes here and there to say hi to friends and passersby. Thank God, that attitude hasn’t quite died out yet.




I met Joan Agar recently; it was on a warm, humid evening and she looked like a hothouse orchid, so fresh and cool in a summer dress. She lives in Nevada City and enjoys making friends and going to parties. Me too. She’s an associate member of the Chamber of Commerce and also does book reviews for The Union, but you knew that already.

The Washington Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Bar-B-Que and Auction went off as planned Saturday. Mervalous Merv said it was the best one ever. Sasquatch and Space used to do the auctioneering, but Big Dan Bergthold has very kindly offered his services the last couple of years.

He was in an extra happy mood that day because his folks, Roger and Dona, had come to the dinner for the very first time. It was a downright pleasure listening to him auction off merchandise; he did an outstanding job and I hope he comes back and does it again for us in 2003. Big Dan, thank you so much!

I can’t tell you how many auction donations came in from personal and business sources; it would take twice the space of this column to list them all. These are the same Nevada Countians who always give something to representatives of every charity, club and organization who come through their doors looking for a little help, and they came through for Washington, too.

I was greedily waiting for the 1920s-era Chambers stove to come up for bid. Yes, it was beat up and chipped and needed a few new parts and some general sprucing up. But it came with a lot of history behind it, just like yours truly.

Fred Price outbid me by a long shot, and I spent about five minutes telling him how much I hated him. Well, you couldn’t hate Fred for more than 10 or 15 seconds, he’s such a happy, friendly guy. He’s been a general contractor down in the flatlands since 1972, and he swore on a stack of Bibles he’d treat the Chambers like the treasure she is and give her a good home.

There were even some celebrities at the barbecue, and I get to be a name-dropper next week. I can’t wait.

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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