Other Voices: For the Bumblelove of Highway 49 | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: For the Bumblelove of Highway 49

Johnny Bumblelove was known as a sensitive, loving, and inclusive individual. As a long time resident of Nevada County, Johnny had become involved in many community causes over the years. Lately he had read articles and letters in the paper about what a horrible road Highway 49 had turned into, and he had become more concerned than ever. One night before falling asleep he was thinking about the carnage everybody knew was happening on that highway, and he wished more intensely than ever that there would be something he could do about it.

“All right Johnny Bumblelove, I’m here to help you.” said the man at the foot of his bed as the flash and smoke of his entrance dissipated. “Who, who are you?” gasped a very surprised Johnny. “Well, I’m a good fairy and one of my gigs is working Highway 49, so what can I do for you?” Johnny quickly sized up the situation and knew exactly what to say, “People are dying on that highway. Can’t you do something to make it safer like widening the road all the way to Auburn or something?” “? or something?! Look, if you want me to widen the road, just say so.” “Oh yes, that would make things much safer.”

The fairy raised his hand to signal his exit flash and smoke, and then he paused. “You do know that 49 is not an unsafe or bad road as California roads go don’t you? You do know that a wider 49 will reduce trip times between Grass Valley and Auburn, and what do think that will do? You do know that more people will then be able to live in Nevada County and work down along the I-80 corridor? You do know that this will cause a lot of people to move into the county and again increase the traffic on 49 with all the resulting impact on pollution, safety, quality of life and all that?”

Momentarily confused Bumblelove paused, but just for a little bit before he announced in a strong and resolute voice, “I don’t know about all that, but I do know what the sensitive, loving, and inclusive thing to do now is, and that is to make Highway 49 safer. So you go on and widen it like you promised.” With a wry smile and the obligatory flash and smoke, the fairy was gone.

The next morning all the county was buzzing and even Caltrans admitted surprise. It turns out that about 2:37 a.m. the road suddenly turned into a beautiful four-lane highway with center medians and added turn lanes in both directions – a wonderful piece of roadwork anyone could be proud of. Everyone wanted to try it out. And as they did, they discovered how little time it took to get from one town to the other.

As the years passed Johnny Bumblelove and his sensitive, loving, and inclusive friends had to become more involved than ever to try to stop or at least slow down runaway development. Everyone from around the state heard about how nice it was to live in beautiful Nevada County that was an easy commute from the big city. And they all demanded to live there because there was so much open land that could be made into neighborhoods. At one point things became so bad that there were even a couple of riots in Grass Valley as folks with different ideas couldn’t find any better way to communicate their feelings. The governor had to send in the National Guard and things quickly calmed down. After that all one could hear across the county was the busy sound of bulldozers and hammers.

Johnny Bumblelove had been in the middle of it all, and as he again prepared to settle down for the night, his sensitive, loving, and inclusive heart was more troubled than ever. In that heart he knew how all this had started, and he again wished mightily that there would be something that he could now do to make things better. Flash and smoke! But this time Johnny was ready and heaved his heavy Merrell loafer, the one with the orthopedic inserts, right at the fairy’s head.

“Hey, what’d I do?!”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more