So what’s the dress code like in your town, hmm?
Sometimes I think I’m not quite getting it over to you what it’s like to live in a small town like Washington.
You say, “But I do know what it’s like; I live in Grass Valley/Nevada City.”
Well yeah, Bigtown is minuscule compared to the monsters of Los Angeles and the Bay area, but its coziness and intimacy are fast disappearing. You have to look farther afield for the taste and feel of a small town.
My daughter recently spent the night here, and in the morning she set up her specially blended macadamia nut/egg nog/amaretto coffee. To her utter horror, she discovered only lowly moo juice was available to lighten her coffee, that there was no hazelnut/cinnamon nutmeg/French vanilla/butter pecan creamer under the old parental roof.
“Wait a minute! The store has the creamer that I like. I will go there while my coffee is brewing and buy some!”
And away she went, down the road and to the store and back with her beloved creamer. While wearing her Tweety Bird jammies and fluffy slippers. Because, by dad, this is Washington, and you can do that here and what’s the big deal?
I talked to Karen Copening, who was working at the store that day. Had anybody else ever been in there in pajamas? She grinned and pointed to a sign taped in the window: “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.”
“Doesn’t say what kind of shirt or shoes, does it?” Umm … right.
I asked Mickey the same question while she was tending bar at the Washington Hotel.
“Well, I was in here like that myself several years ago. I had a friend staying with me, and we came in in our PJs, and had a nice breakfast and then shot some pool. We had a wonderful time. Why do you ask?”
Now, you go try that yourself, dear one. Run over to Ralphs or Speedy’s for your Sunday paper or a loaf of bread and you’re sure Lord going to be picked up right quick by a couple of very nice people in uniforms who smile a lot and want to be your special friends, and they’ll take you on a neat-o ride down to Roseville for a few days for something called an assessment.
(I know that’s a very long sentence, but if you take a real deep breath you can get through it without too much trouble.)
This past Monday, after an intense weekend of nonstop child care and general domestic bliss, I was faced with a hard choice: take a break and eat some homemade strawberry preserves right out of the jar, or run away from home. I chose to run away, which for me means sitting on the porch of the Washington General Store for an hour that can quickly stretch to three.
I arrived too late for the Washington Welcoming Committee, which had already adjourned for the day, but I did get to talk with Big Tom, Col. Doug, Spanky, Karen, Ray Bush, Katy Potter and several others who wandered by, left, then wandered back. Casual topics on that particular day included Bigtown gold mining and NH 2020 (which I still don’t get).
Dear readers, where do you go to pass some time with your friends and neighbors? Do you stop to chat around your mailboxes? While taking a walk? At a favorite restaurant? Do you stop at all?
It was a very pleasant Monday morning, sitting on the porch and watching the rain, enjoying some easy conversation. I ambled home, totally refreshed, just in time for Coral’s arrival from kindergarten, and we both dug up some spoons and shared a whole jar of homemade strawberry preserves.
Life is good.
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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