Don’t be afraid; they’ll grunt back
I had an eye-opening conversation with a Bigtowner last week. She and her husband had come down to Washington for a little visit, and before leaving for home, they wanted to stop in at the Washington General Store to pick up a bottle or two of water.
But the store’s porch was full of guys, and Mr. Sweetie was rather apprehensive about going into the store.
“Maybe it’s not really a store,” he said to his wife. “Maybe it’s a place where people simply hang out. Look at all those people …what are they doing there? Maybe we’d be intruding somehow. It looks like they’re having some kind of a meeting.”
He was absolutely right, there was a meeting going on. The Washington Welcoming Committee was merely having another morning session as usual, but with some extra members showing up. Sometimes it’s so crowded on the porch that attendees spill over into the street.
Now granted, if I went to the WGS for a Pepsi and found a mob of men milling around yelling profanities, brandishing lit torches and carrying cudgels and sharpened poles, I’d head right back to the house. But that kind of stuff doesn’t happen here. WWC members are friendly, helpful and mannerly; a good many of them have personally assisted in saving the life of someone who got in trouble in the woods.
One morning I went to the WGS for the paper and saw several gentlemen lounging about.
“What in the world are y’all doin’ here? Don’t you have anything better to do than just hang around?” I teased.
Big Mitch turned to me with grave courtesy and said, “We are planning our day.”
“You guys have been here forever! How much planning does it take?!”
“We have long and complicated days, which require a lot of organization and mutual discussion,” he replied. The other members nodded in agreement. Huh. I didn’t think of it that way.
The WGS is open from 8 a.m. until sometime after dark-thirty. If you want a can of this or a quart of that, they have it waiting for you. Fishing gear, a loaf of bread, something to drink – stop in anytime. By all means, grunt a greeting to the WWC members as you go by, and they’ll probably grunt right back atcha.
My daughter graduated from CSU Chico on May 22 with a degree in mathematics and left shortly thereafter to work in a research program in upstate New York. She explained to me several times what the program is about and mentioned fascinating stuff like intracellular pathways and membrane-bound receptors. I don’t know …sounds faintly obscene to me.
“You’ve gone from a two-room school in the mountains to the Tahoe National Forest to graduating from college – what an incredible journey you’ve taken! We are all so proud of you!”
When one of our young people does well, Washington takes great pride in that kid’s accomplishments, believe you me.
“I want you to stand in the back of Dad’s truck wearing a medal and red sash. I will drive 50 feet down Washington Road, stop the truck, get out and throw confetti and streamers at you while playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ on my kazoo. Then I will get back in the truck, drive another 50 feet, etc. An enthusiastic parade of one!”
But she wouldn’t go for that at all. Sigh. I had it all planned out, too.
Please come to visit for the holiday weekend. The river is just perfect for swimming, the Washington Hotel Bar & Café want to keep you royally fed and watered, the weather is great and the natives are welcoming and friendly.
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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