Of course! It was the Denny’s! | TheUnion.com
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Of course! It was the Denny’s!

No doubt about it, 2001 was a tough year for the USA. We started the year with a new president whose election was doubted by some, saw the high-tech companies go into the tank, experienced a terrorist catastrophe of paralyzing proportions, and finished the year with a foreign war and a recession. You can’t deny that the United States had a sea of troubles in 2001.

And how did we do locally? Nevada County is part of the United States, although some people preferred not to admit it during the Clinton years. And, as part of the USA, our county stood up bravely to the year 2001. We rose up to help with recovery from the WTC attack. We sent contributions to the Fire Department of New York and the American Red Cross.



We also had our local problems. We had business closures and job losses. We had few homes to buy or rent at fair prices. We had our normal daily concerns. Yet, we still had energy left over to criticize the Board of Supervisors for its wording of condolences to the WTC victims. Further, by the end of the year, we were back to our familiar debates in the newspaper. Yes, we are a marvelous and durable people!




The events of 2001 affected my spiritual side. I wanted a simple explanation for our many troubles. Also, I wanted to know what the future held. Perhaps you have felt the same way.

Now, being that we live in Nevada County, attending to one’s spiritual needs is no problem. I went to see one of our local seers, Karnak the Trivial. I went to his secret dwelling, located several miles outside of town.

Barry: “Help me, oh all-knowing one!”

Karnak: “What is it you seek, son (as if I didn’t know)?

Barry: “An understanding about those events which have affected the world.”

Karnak: “You were wise to seek me out. I am Karnak the Trivial, and I can provide a trivial answer. I shall look into my crystal pine cone and see. Ahh. Yes, I see. The answer is: Denny’s.”

Barry: “Denny’s”?

Karnak: “Yes. Our troubles began with the closing of the Denny’s restaurant in the Brunswick Basin in 2001. The closing was a damned shame, and not in keeping with the flow of universal energy. You know, my son, there are some locals who’ll tell you that when Denny’s came to town, they felt that Grass Valley was, as they say, ‘on the map.’ Did the coming of Denny’s spell the end to rural life? Some people hoped it would.

“Now listen further, my son. Our Denny’s was not just important to us locally. Any economist will tell you that a community (and indeed a nation) is only as powerful as the number of Denny’s locations it can support. So naturally, when our Denny’s closed, our nation was weakened. The rest, as they say, is history.”

I sat stunned for a moment, but then I spoke:

Barry: “I wish I had eaten more of the French Slams at $2.99. Tell me about that which is to come in 2002.”

Karnak (gazing into the crystal): “There is much to see, my son, yet little makes sense. I see a daily newspaper in which the readers write letters to explain The Bible to each other. I see wasted time debating whether a man named Henry Potter or Harvey Potter is good for children.

“I see that you will elect some men to public office who do speak the truth. I see a large quantity of painted signs saying ‘NO’ on something. I see people arguing over land they do not own. I see divisiveness, obstructions and roadblocks.”

Barry: “So you see a pretty normal year, O Karnak?”

Karnak: “Indeed, my son. It will be very normal. It will be a fine year in this, the best of all counties. If you believe that God has a divine plan, it would appear to be working in Nevada County. If you believe that the universe unfolds as a series of random events, they would appear to be unfolding here, too. Now go, and ponder what I have said!”

I left Karnak with so much enlightenment that my soul had swollen in size. I had to apply for a variance in order to build an add-on room in my mind.

Barry Schoenborn is a technical writer, and a 13-year resident of Nevada County. His column appears the second Saturday of the month.


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