Taking care of each other in Washington
Are you getting more familiar with some of Washington’s residents by now? Mervalous Merv once said, “It’s a small town, usually kinda quiet. But every day something interesting happens … might not be much, but it’s always interesting.”
You can catch up on interesting stuff in the Washington Hotel bar, the local unofficial living room, a low-key gathering place for rumors, gossip and miscellaneous information.
“Aw well, I don’t know about goin’ in there,” you murmur. “I’m not all that much on drinkin’ … as a matter of fact, I don’t drink at all.” That’s just fine and dandy. The bartender will happily serve you any kind of unleaded beverage you want while you gab with all your new friends.
I finally met Little Tom. He doesn’t look so little to me, but Big Tom is 6 feet, 5 inches and almost as big as the Harley he likes to ride. I haven’t met Medium Tom yet; I’m looking forward to that.
Little Tom visited here about seven years ago to do some dredging and now he’s here permanently, working at the Red Ledge mine. “Oh yeah, I love it here. Living in Washington has done wonders for my blood pressure, lemme tell you. I never even have to think of that anymore.”
Just about then Space walked in and got lots of hugs and hellos. I tracked him down in the cafe next to the bar, buying breakfast for his 10-year-old Rusty. Rusty is a fourth-grader at Scotten School in Bigtown. His favorite subject is math and his most unfavorite (right now) is science. He has a dog named Sammy, a mix of Rottweiler and hound. He had a knockout Christmas because he got a dirt bike, and Space had brought him down to Littletown to go riding.
I guess I’m going into all this detail because while I was talking to Space, I couldn’t take my eyes off this kid. First, he’s a good-looking boy and, second, I watched him put away a great big plateful of breakfast and he never even burped. It was a marvel to witness and a wonder to behold, how much that kid ate.
Space married Meg last May 4. “Smartest thing I ever did. Just a real nice lady.” (Space doesn’t speak, he rumbles.) He had a beautiful Christmas himself; his family presented him with a brand spankin’ new table saw, so he’s happy.
He also has a new job. He spends approximately 25 hours a day taking care of his father, Ed Voight, 80. “Oh, he wasn’t doin’ too good up where he was, so I just went out there and brought him on back with me. I ain’t gonna put him in no nursin’ home, let somebody else take care of him. That’s my job, way I see it. I’m gonna do it, and I am doin’ it every day, and that’s all there is to it. When my dad dies, he’s gonna die in my house with me right there with him.”
Mr. Voight came to live with Space on May 2, two days before he and Meg tied the knot. How is Meg coping with this? “She thinks it’s pretty neat. It’d be nice if we had more time together, but that day will come eventually.” He leaned forward, his blue eyes intense and snapping. “You know, you can’t just turn your back on somethin’ like this, throw it out the window. It’s a big responsibility, but it has to be done, and that’s it.”
There’s not enough space this week to tell you about the Washington Hotel’s Valentine’s Day extravaganza on Friday, Feb. 24. I’ll fill you in next week.
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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