A sad farewell to Lumpy
The folks of Glen Ellen
I begin this column today on a sad note, wishing angels’ flight to our dear friend, the only Santa this family has ever known: David Williams. Goodbye dear Lumpy. We loved you and I know you knew that.
You graciously accepted the love and attention of not just every kid in Sonoma, but showers of admiration from their parents, as well. You were the soul and spirit of Santa and you lived that every day, not just in December. The world looks a little less bright today, as we heard the news of your heart attack (the second one) en route to see Tree, your sister. We can hardly accept this sad news.
Santa rolls down Arnold in a fire truck
Years ago, when our first son, Schuyler, was just an infant, I remember holding him in my arms and racing up O’Donnell Lane to Arnold Drive to catch a glimpse of Lumpy on a fire engine as he rode down to the Sonoma Plaza. The next year, we watched you ride through Glen Ellen and then joined you at the Plaza where Sky had his first visit with Santa.
Toys from two Santas
That year, our little Sky was blessed with many toys, more than a few of them provided courtesy of Robert Lynch, who came up to my paste-up table in the back room of the I-T, asking, “Does that little boy of yours like toys?” Indeed he did, Mr. Lynch, and that first ever bonus Christmas check provided just that. Our thanks and blessings both to Santa Lumpy and to Mr. L, just two of my many angelic, heavenly friends.
Elder care and broken hearts
The loving care that Lumpy showed in this past year (or was it longer) in tending his mother was notable, but for you, Lumpy, not unusual. It was the right thing to do, and what you did.
I also marveled in your miracle story of how your life was saved some years ago as you ran through some distant airport, stilled suddenly by a heart attack and saved by the defibrillator. You were happy for that day’s miracle and never looked back once.
I was proud of your awesome efforts to lose weight and maintain that brand new healthy physique, throughout the ordeal of your mother’s illness and death.
Has God been good?
Oh dear, Lumpy, we’re going to miss you. Christmas won’t be the same in Sonoma, missing you. But we will never forget you nor all the joy you brought to thousands of children throughout Sonoma Valley.
Rest well my sweet angel. And when God comes to sit on your knee, please ask him if He’s been good. Entirely so, I mean. I’ve been wondering a bit about that lately and my faith has surely been shaken since he took you far too soon. Most holy blessings on you Lumpy and all whom you loved.
Fairest fair in the land
As I hoped and expected, this year’s 22nd annual Glen Ellen Village Fair was entirely delightful: a perfect day of Americana nostalgia, a celebration for folks, friends and neighbors. The weather cooperated in a most awesome day with temperatures in the high 70s, nary a wind, though a bit of breeze and plenty of sun without any cloud cover. Better than we could have ordered up. Yes, the benevolent gods smiled upon Glen Ellen that day.
This year’s parade was among the best. And it’s not just me saying that, but a whole host of my friends.
We love the parade, always. But this year’s entry by Tasha Drengson and her cohorts, including her sister Charrisa, was incredible. A more-than-life-sized dragon made of silks and other fancy materials was beautiful. The floating dragon with acres of flowing fabric was lively and elegant as it drifted down Arnold Drive. Tasha and her friends won a prize again, this time for best costume. I agree, wholeheartedly.
Bouverie marches on
Sweetie and I marched along with our friends from the Bouverie Preserve. Nothing too unusual this year. We displayed the Bouverie banner, waved at friends on the sidelines and sported our eccentric owl shirts, mine so big it was almost a dress.
Riding the Glen Ellen swan boat
The Bouv folks didn’t win a prize, but we all felt honored to march behind sweet Neil Shepard and the grand marshals, all retired Dunbar teachers and their families. We noticed the Witkowski family: Teresa, Jane and Mike; Sandi Everett and her sweetie, and other teachers, as well.
Up front on the elegant, golden pin-striped Swan wagon, Neil’s newest vehicle, the loveliest I’ve ever seen, was Margie Everidge. Although she was never a Dunbar teacher, she certainly taught almost every child at that school at one time or another for several generations running. Marge ran the daycare program on O’Donnell Lane where whole neighborhoods of youngsters gathered every day after school. The playing fields were the best, the snacks were wholesome and kids learned to get along and follow Margie’s rules. She was strict, but always fair and the kids knew that. They respected her and thrived under Margie’s care. If you don’t know Marge, that means you’re a newcomer. Which is fine. But to really know Marge, just ask around; most folks can regale you with tales of afternoons at daycare.
Missing my favorite swamper
Missing from Neil’s wagon this year was my favorite swamper, Kevin Stang. He’s usually there in the back riding the rail, helping folks off and on and keeping the whole show moving and under control. I missed Kevin this year and am just hoping that he’s faring well and will soon be back at his post with Neil and friends.
Wreaths honoring heroes
Kevin Stang is quite a remarkable man. Every year since 2006, over in Dixon where he lives, Kevin has helped place more than 9,000 Christmas wreaths on veterans’ graves. Kevin says both of his parents were in the military and he just feels it’s the right thing to do to honor our military folks. Kevin’s a sweetheart and I missed seeing him this fair time.
Second swamper shares stories of friends
Neil’s other swamper, from time to time, is Lauren Johannson, who is an accomplished horsewoman. This year, I didn’t notice Lauren up on the wagon helping Neil, but I did see her later at the fair, near the end of the day. She was sitting on the O’Donnell Lane bridge, visiting with a friend. I stopped and chatted with Lauren for a bit. That’s one of my favorite things about our little village fair: you get to see lots of friends and neighbors that you ordinarily wouldn’t see.
Dancing queen celebrates life
Lauren shared the good news about her friend, Ginnie Nichols, who has battled cancer, received a couple of new body parts, survived that as well, and is now thriving, even ready to dance, apparently. Lauren was so happy to report that good news and I am thrilled to pass it on to you. We recall the beautiful Mid-Winter Ball several years ago, arranged and hosted by Julie Atwood to celebrate Ginnie’s health.
Parade ribbons awarded
Dunbar students, teachers, parents and staff, parading for the school and the mentoring center, won a first-prize ribbon. Other winners in Sunday’s big Glen Ellen Village Fair Parade included the Best Driving Theme Car in Glen Ellen and the Best Dressed Family in a vehicle, presented to Ron and Charlotte Jayne.
Judges Choice for parade entrants were the Glen Ellen Girl Scouts who led the parade, along with the Boy Scouts, with both groups presenting the colors, that is, holding our flag.
Snazzy black Bentley takes the prize
Winning vehicles in the parade included Stefan Svabo, in his 1952 Bentley: Wow, what a car. My Papa loved his 1949 Packard and we all thought that car was classy. Stefan’s Bentley clearly trumps a common car like the Packard. Thanks for bringing that dozen-year-Sonoma project to cruise our town, Stefan.
As ever, the FANtastic Benziger Family also won a ribbon for best vehicle of the fair, their oversized flatbed truck carrying the entire, and ever-expanding Benziger Family, from the youngest daughter of Erin and Ari to the oldest patron, who must be big Mike … or maybe not. That’s your guess.
Sonoma Volkswagens roll along, motors humming
As for us, we certainly would have chosen Gary Freeman and his Sonoma Volkswagen contingent. We especially liked the final car, scuffed fenders, driftwood top and all. Who was that driver?
Older vehicles rattle down the road
As far as other vehicles, of course I always love all of our Glen Ellen volunteer fire trucks, including Bill Meglen’s oldie, this year driven by handsome, young Alex Benward, from Beltane Ranch. We also admired the truck from Mayacama’s fire department. But we especially loved the old-fashioned roadster carrying folks from the Glen Ellen Community Church, including Jim and Brenda Hill and Kathy Prentice. The church folks held signs noting that they were celebrating the 118th anniversary of their founding.
Glen Ellen’s Himalayan friends
A great surprise (at least to me) in this year’s parade were the Himalayan folks from Yeti Restaurant with two fuzzy haired Asian lions, sporting wooly manes that shook and rattled as the accompanying drums led them down the drive. They were exciting, fun to watch, and a truly unique addition to our parade.
Fans of Glen Ellen
One all time favorite of ours was Theresa Joseph and her charming daughter, Ruby Marie Joseph. They marched in the parade holding a huge paper fan that said “Glen Ellen Fan Club.” Theresa told me it was all Ruby’s idea and the brightly colored letters that formed her slogan were chosen by Ruby, though cut by mom. Dad, Edmond Joseph was on hand, not marching, but simply snapping multiple pix of his lovely ladies.
Parade wranglers thanked
Trina and Norm Oliver are the masterminds behind the well-organized Glen Ellen Village Fair parade, along with their stalwart helpers Cathy and Tom Leonard, who were the first parade coordinators way back in the old days, more than 20 years ago. The fact that they’re still helping out shows how loyal these hard-working fair folks are. Parade organizer Trina admits that the parade has a life of its own and that their job is merely corralling the entrants and getting them to make that initial move down Carquinez with the left swing onto Arnold.
Judges deliberate over difficult choices
The brave judges for our 22nd annual Glen Ellen Village Fair Parade included Melanie Blake, principal of Dunbar Elementary School; Kip Fogarty, our former Glen Ellen postmaster; and Frank Crook, of the Glen Ellen Village Market. They had a difficult job, but did it with fairness and love. We thank them.
2012 Quilt winner
Finally, in response to the mildly irritated phone caller last week, who chastised me for not printing the name of the quilt winner: Sorry my love, I can’t print Tuesday’s news on Thursday before the fair. But to your great relief, here is the good news today.
Betty Calabro, a sewing instructor at Broadway Quilts, won this year’s beautiful FANs of Glen Ellen Quilt. We congratulate her and are thrilled to announce this local winner with a great plus: she is someone who obviously loves and appreciates quilts.
Quilters provide fair funds
Every year it is the Glen Ellen Village Quilters who help provide the seed funds to finance the fair. This year’s quilt was originally fashioned in 2003 by 16 local quilters, including Tom Benton, Vicki Crowe, Cathy Leonard, Janet Laursen, Lois Marvel, Phyllis Ellman, Margie Foster, Cheryl Franzini-Pegan, Leslie Smith, Marsha Moran, Beth Bradbury, Natalia Vicino, Eva Westberg, Georgia Cohen, Deb Pool, Judith Anna, Teresa Schultz, Orna Pascal, Tillie Angus, Mary Ann Carr, and Shelley Arrowsmith. Marsha Kliewer, sister-in-law to quilter Georgia Cohen, won that lovely quilt with 16 personal versions of FANs at the 2004 Glen Ellen Village Fair. Eventually, Marsha gifted the quilt back to Georgia, who, in turn, gave it back to the Glen Ellen Quilters to be raffled off again this year. Betty is the fortunate winner and we look forward to seeing it someday at the quilting store on Broadway in Sonoma.
Fair organizers earn their kudos
If you enjoyed this year’s fair and parade, you have a whole passel of folks to thank, beginning with Leslie Vaughn, who gave up more than a few nights of good sleep to coordinate all of the fair functions. She was joined in this crazy, ambitious pursuit by Lisa Hardy, Eileen Berger, Janie Soto and others. The entire fair committee included Archie Horton, Rick Dunham, Shannon Lee, Michael Hardy, Bob Bonino, Lisa Coleman, Trina and Norm Oliver, Matthew Dickey, Kevin Vaughn, Steven Lee, Dyani Bachelder, Riitta Vesterinen, Mary Ann Carr and Mary Kate Carter.
Individual donors help finance the fair
Other folks who are important to the smooth functioning of the fair include all the folks of the Glen Ellen Community Church who donate the Kids’ Alley Bouncy House, Dr. Bob and Pam Wagner, Glen Ellen Veterinary Hospital, who donate their electricity for on-site T-shirt printing. Gary D’Acquisto donates his electricity to run Kids’ Alley Bouncy House, Cherie Chooligian, of Bella Terra Realty, donates electricity and water to Kids’ Alley, Lisa Deffenbach, of West America Bank donates all the Kids’ Alley popcorn, Terrance Pesenti, Glen Ellen Firefighters Association donates the dunk tank, Marshall’s Auto Body donates the water for the dunk tank. Leslie and Kevin Vaughn donate the T-shirts for the youth volunteers.
Glen Ellen Village Fair donation jars are kept at the Glen Ellen Village Market, watched over by Frank Crook, and at Roseann’s Hair Styling, by Roseann Fanucchi.
Cars washed carefully
Last week up at Dunbar School I watched the fourth- and fifth-grade teachers and students rehearse their upcoming car wash day led by fourth-grade instructor, Wendi Wellender. What a pro. Yes, at corralling kids, at making instructions fun and at teaching a clear lesson. If you got your car washed last weekend, helping to finance the students’ outdoor education field trips, you know how careful and considerate they all were. That’s thanks to Wendi and her helpers.
School science in action
Last week, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County launched a pilot program of science in the school with a week long visit to the students at Dunbar School. The museum’s mission is “to inspire children’s creativity and stimulate their curiosity to discover the world through playful exploration of the arts and science.”
Surely they did that. I watched the enthralled first-graders of Nora Alexander-Short’s class participate in demonstrations of air pressure. Sound boring? Absolutely not; the students loved every minute of the demonstrations and reveled in the hands-on investigations. Scientists from the museum that day included Becky Kenzy, Anya Drelich and Theresa Giacomino. Their dynamic presentations and affectionate manner kept the kids engaged in the lesson. We congratulate Renea Magnani, third-grade teacher at Dunbar for arranging these science exhibits.
Jack London Park and wine making
A reminder today about events at Jack London State Historical Park: Lou Leal, Valley winemaker and Jack London historian, along with photographer Marvin Collins, lead a conversation about the wineries and wine made on the Sonoma Mountain lands of the historic park and the surrounding area from 1860 to the present. The lecture will include a tour of parts of the Jack London State Historical Park as well as ending with wine tastings of Kenwood Vineyard wines. The date is this Saturday, Oct. 27, from 3 to 6 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made at jacklondonpark.com.
Mysterious Construction Continues on Highway 12
A personal aside to the helpful, local friend-in-the-know who wrote to me about recent construction in Glen Ellen. I appreciate your thoughts and align myself with your sadness and frustration about changes in our valley. I will keep your confidence but wish to say, if you’d ever like to visit and discuss these matters further, our gate is always open. You are welcome here.
Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me @ Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least three weeks before the run date. If your news doesn’t appear here, check online. Excess might appear online at sonomanews.com under “Lifestyle and History.”