Terry McLaughlin: Never know the talent you’ll meet in Nevada County
Since moving to Nevada County in 2008, it has become apparent to me that many very talented and uniquely gifted people have migrated to our beautiful community over the years.
They obviously share the same sense of wonder at the beauty which surrounds us, and enjoy the slower pace of life offered in the rural foothills. I am continually amazed at the number of persons I meet who bring to our community a history of accomplishments in dozens of different fields; some very public and some very quiet contributions which have made our world a more beautiful or more interesting place.
My recent experience at the United Way fundraiser “Grills n Grilles” in October, was yet another example of the interesting and unique people who are drawn to Nevada County.
My husband and I were displaying a vintage Porsche at the event in Penn Valley’s Western Gateway Park. The weather cooperated with the dozens of volunteers, vintage car owners, vendors, and visitors who came out to the park to spend their Saturday supporting United Way by admiring some beautiful, exotic, and unusual vehicles, enjoying the taste of a variety of incredible barbecued ribs, and listening to a terrific live band.
The barbecue cook-off and tasting contest was quite a hit, as was evidenced by the number of people licking sauce off their fingers so as not to waste a morsel — and then going back to sample ribs from yet another griller. The ringing of bells was constant, as visitors placed their votes for their favorite among the many grilling contestants. And if barbecued ribs were not to your liking, there was Mexican fare from a taco truck to enjoy.
The ACME Robotics team set up an impressive display of youth talent and innovation, with smart and articulate teenagers and young adults demonstrating their robotic creations. The team is comprised of students from a variety of schools within Nevada County. With sponsorship from some of our local businesses and organizations, they compete in robotic competitions around the state, and hope to make it to the national competition. Check them out at goacmerobotics.com!
But the most enjoyable part of the day was chatting with vintage car enthusiasts, running into friends and acquaintances, and meeting new friends. “Car People” love to talk cars. And German Car People really love to talk German cars! This is always the best part of any car show experience, and the “Grills n Grilles” event was no different. It just happened that our Porsche was parked near new neighbors who were also displaying a vintage vehicle and we enjoyed the opportunity to spend some time getting to know them better.
A new acquaintance from Penn Valley stopped by, and as we chatted we discovered that not only were both of our husband’s Porsche enthusiasts, but we shared a great deal of common ancestry and family history. Another woman paused to admire our vehicle and then proceeded to share her love for her first car right out of college, which was the same model and year of our Porsche. We found ourselves engaged in a lively and interesting discussion about the Caltrans Highway 174 realignment project, and how it could affect local residents.
Not surprisingly, many of the attendees who now live in our area were drawn to Nevada County from Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Without exception, they all spoke of how much they loved our community and have never looked back with regret.
We had the privilege of meeting Roy Dryer, an amazing local artist who is the creator of the official event posters for some of Northern California’s premier events including the Pebble Beach, Lake Tahoe, Ironstone, and Silverado Concours d’ Elegance. The famous Mecum Auction Company added five world class vintage boats to its list of rare cars to be auctioned during the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance; and Roy created original paintings of each boat which were auctioned alongside the boats themselves.
Toward the end of the day we were engaged in a lengthy conversation with an elderly gentleman who had owned Porsches in his youth. When he mentioned that he had been the assistant director of the 1965 movie “The Flight of The Phoenix,” my husband’s ears perked up, as this is one of his all-time favorite movies. As it turned out, Alan Callow was a production assistant and actor in the 1965 production of “The Sound Of Music,” portraying a Nazi officer. He performed the role of Thomas Hayward in “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1962, and appeared in several other movies in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His father, Ridgeway Calloway, was an assistant director, and Alan Calloway a production assistant for “The Sand Pebbles” in 1966. As a child, his sister appeared in the movie “Gone With The Wind.” Who knew we had someone living in our community who was involved with some of the most iconic and well-loved movies ever produced?
But you don’t need to meet someone who appeared in some of your favorite movies to appreciate the many amazing people who populate our community with great diversity of thought, opinion, talent, skill, and passions. Greet them all with an open heart and mind, as it is both our differences and our commonalities that weave us together into the interesting, stimulating and unique fabric that embodies Nevada County.
Terry McLaughlin, who lives in Grass Valley, writes a twice monthly column for The Union. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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