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Catching up on happenings in Washington

Vivian Herron, Columnist
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‘Sugar Tush, it’s been weeks since I told Bigtowners how the river churns here in Washington,” I said last Saturday. “I’m going to run downtown and see what’s up. I’ll be home in a jiffy.”

A jiffy … yeah, right. I’ve lived here long enough, I should’ve known better. Washington time is different from the ordinary kind. Three hours later, Dale found me in the bar at the Washington Hotel, talking to people and madly taking notes. I thought I’d been gone about 30 minutes.

At the Washington General store, I met Laura, working behind the counter. She moved here from Southern California last February and never looked back.



“I love it here. The town is small, it’s quaint, and I love the Sierras anyway. The people here are very giving, very caring.” She’s been doing some genealogy: her great-uncle, William Haines, was a big movie star in the silents of the ’20s and talkies of the early ’30s. William Haines! That guy was way famous!

Laura is Big Bill’s sister, and their mom, Pauline Langhorne, still lives down south. Next time you visit us, stop in the store and say hi, she’d like to meet you.




Then I stopped outside for a quick chat with the Washington Welcoming Committee, which meets daily on the front porch of the store. Attendees on that day were Gypsy John, looking sharp as always; Spanky, who said he had a nice Christmas and a Good New Year’s Eve; Donne, with a smile and hello for everyone; and Big Bill himself, who dropped by to see you-know-who.

The WWC members said come down anytime you can and help them solve the problems of the world, starting with Littletown and ranging outward. The seating at the picnic table can get a little tight, so bring along a lawn chair just in case. Be warned: there is no such thing as a “quick chat” with the WWC, and that’s how I lost the first hour.

The main subject discussed while I was there focused on members’ favorite kinds of personal weaponry and related information, and these gentlemen are all jaw-dropping storytellers. Of course it was all pure hogwash, as not a soul in Washington owns a firearm or anything resembling one. Oh, maybe an occasional small pocketknife, but really, that’s as far as it goes here.

Corina Loving has just completed her first semester at Sierra College with a 4.0 GPA, so a loud round of applause for her would be very nice about now. She took English A, Computer Information Systems, Math 581 (“I struggled and struggled with it, but something finally clicked!”) and college-level Study Skills.

“That was my hardest class,” Corina told me. “But it was my favorite. You know, you just have to have the will to do it, want to have something matter for yourself … for your soul. It’s been my biggest challenge to date.”

Maybe not. She’s just been elected president of the Twin Ridges Elementary School District board of trustees; I’ll tell you more next week.

I have lots more news for you, but right now I have a request. When I wrote in late December about things to do when the power goes out, I began wondering just what you do, dear friends, to while away the time during an outage. Do you play board games? Go out somewhere? Spend your downtime sampling the vanilla extract in the root cellar? If you have a particular activity your family enjoys, I’d like to share it here with my other six readers, so please get in touch with me.

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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