GE folks aren’t like other folks and hitching to Santa’s wagon
Among the delights of living in a tiny town: folks are just folks, but unlike other folks are the folks in Glen Ellen. And some of our folks enjoy sharing a bit of visual humor with their friends and neighbors. A couple of those noble jesters, residents of our town, come to mind today.
Tops on my list are Jeanne and David Everidge who live in the house I call our Glen Ellen Gate House. Just north of the Arnold Drive curve at the firehouse, their tall narrow house dances with personality. It’s almost anthropomorphic with windows that stare back at you and a jaunty roof that mimics the tip of a hat. Clearly a male entity, though I don’t know if David and Jeanne (the team who built it) would entirely agree.
In the past month or so, a roadside tree stump at their house sports comically placed pumpkins. They appeared near Halloween, of course, but transmogrified to pilgrims and natives at Thanksgiving. What’s next? We predict bearded pumpkins calling to mind old St. Nick or even venerable Father Time. Thanks for making my trips to Santa Rosa begin with a smile, dear Everidges.
Ghouls and steam funnels
Another unique Glen Ellen dwelling is the fantastical tower house created by artist and attorney Chuck Gillet. Also, on Arnold Drive, you’ll recognize his house by the two huge steam funnels that flank the entrance, with the towering ghouls that occupy the second story, year round.
We often chuckle, imagining what the waiting crowds of tourists outside The Glen Ellen Star think of Chuck’s eccentric house. Gives our town more than a taste of Bohemian character, which I appreciate.
Sweet bees of Oak Hill
Something else I appreciate: The luscious late-summer honey produced by Cheryl and Serge Labesque sourced from the hives that Serge tends at Oak Hill Farm. The thick, dark color of his honey is swoon-worthy; its mesmerizing viscosity slowing the pour from jar to spoon to mouth so that time stands still while the summer buzz of bees is revealed in its perfect sweetness. Sublime manna, both in sustenance and spirit.
Honoring the Land of Oz
Other ways that the folks in our town aren’t like folks in other towns: personal service in entirely unexpected ways. That was certainly the case when I recently called the Flag Emporium in Sonoma. For years, they’ve provided me with the Oz flag, a rare bit of quadrangle color symbolizing the Quadling Country of L. Frank Baum’s imagination. Every few years, the old flag needs replacement and so I order a new one. For the past several rounds of this, Lisa Phillips who works at the Flag Emporium, has been my helper. As a Glen Ellen resident, she not only delivers the flag on her way home from the store, but this year she even offered the services of her son, Tyler, if my Sweetie doesn’t want to climb the ladder. I think I’ll wait past the rain, for either Sweetie or Tyler to accomplish the task. But for now, I just want to give a shout-out for great service from Glen Ellen folks: You rock, Lisa!
Here’s a little news to warm the heart and herald the season for my reader Lori Barron, who makes music with her Vox Populi friends. Yes, Lori, there is a Santa (despite the aching absence of Lumpy Williams) and that fellow will appear in Glen Ellen, aboard Neil Shepard’s wagon, accompanied by songster Bob Gossett, and Neil’s majestic Clydesdales, Willy and Sonny. The date for this year’s wagon rides with Santa has been set for Saturday, Dec. 22. We will have more news on that as the date approaches.
Given the recent rains, the usual elves of Glen Ellen may not have yet decorated our bridge, though I expect they will before Neil and his swamper, Kevin Stang, make their rounds carrying wagonloads of happy caroling kids.
Meanwhile, we praise a few of those very lovely elves who have been decorating the bridge for many years, in fact, ever since they were as tiny as Santa’s real assistants from the North Pole. Those helpers who make our town bridge glow with lights, swags, and wreaths include Isabel and Sophia Falls, Siena and Gemma Guerrazzi, Kyrie Dawson and Elizabeth Eagles, along with their parents and other adults. I think all of these girls began this community service when they were mere Girl Scouts. Now that they are growing up (and not so far from heading off to college and other climes), we want to acknowledge their help in making our holidays bright and cheery.
Dancing Snow Maidens
Meanwhile, a couple of those above-acknowledged elves, lovely Isabel Falls and Elizabeth Eagles, will be dancing this coming weekend in Patty O’Reilly’s Sonoma Ballet Conservatory production of the ballet, “The Snow Maiden,” a beautiful seasonal show suitable for the whole family.
This classic folktale is Russia’s equivalent of “The Nutcracker” and is full of winter-themed characters such as the Frost Fairy, the Ice Princess, the Four Winds, and, of course, the Snow Maiden herself. Join me in enjoying this ballet this weekend, Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9, 1 p.m. at the Sebastiani Theatre.
FISH and loaves
Last week I wrote about the need to donate your coins and bills, checks and good will to Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH), which prompted a reader to call with questions. If, like that reader, you are new to our Valley and don’t know about FISH, check on the Internet for friendsinsonomahelping.org and find out all about this most worthy organization that has been providing nutritious groceries, clothing, transportation and emergency rental assistance to needy folks in our Valley for more than three decades.
But I also promised in that column to tell you about another worthy organization that might appreciate your donations this season. If you don’t have dollars to spare this year, how about a simple heartfelt letter of thanks to our Glen Ellen Volunteer Fire Department for all their efforts to keep us all healthy, safe and happy in this sweet village. Recently Ann Zollinger included me in an email she wrote praising the work of our volunteers:
“I would like to describe one aspect of Glen Ellen to you and how it affects the community. The town of Glen Ellen has about 750 residents. Of that number, at least a 10th support our local fire department either as active volunteer firefighters, board members or supporters (such as myself). If you then include the large number of people who have been assisted by the department, there is probably not one person in the town of Glen Ellen that has not been touched by this group of dedicated and highly trained volunteers.”
Ann is so right; these folks, volunteer fire fighters, have cared for all of us. Now is a good time to return their care with a card, some coins, a few bills or even a check. To donate, please send a check to: Glen Ellen Firefighters Association, 13445 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen CA 95442. The Glen Ellen Firefighters Association is a 501(C) nonprofit corporation. All donations are tax deductible as the extent of the law allows. A written receipt will be provided for all donations. For more information, look them up online at glenellenfire.org.
Wedding report revisited
Last week when I wrote about Sebastian and Celine Parker’s lovely August wedding, I left out a few details that I wanted to include today. First, I did note that the groom’s papa is a jazz musician and performs around San Francisco with the eponymous Dave Parker Quartet. When their successful gig at the Purple Onion ended (because that venerable North Beach, Beat Era institution closed), they continued at Farmer Brown’s on Mason and at the Fillmore Farmer’s Market on the first Saturday of every month. We look forward to their new gig at Original Joe’s on Union Street, San Francisco. See you there.
What I failed to note in that wedding write-up was that the groom himself, Sebastian Parker has followed his father’s example, forming his own jazz trio, again eponymously named the Sebastian Parker Piano Jazz Trio. They play classic hits from the 1950s and ’60s along with their own compositions influenced by Monk, Duke and Cal Tjader. Check their schedule online. Likewise, see you in the city.
I also forgot to include the names of Celine’s parents in that write-up. The proud parents of the new bride are Yvette Alwyn (yes, dear friend of the groom’s mama, Christiane) and Ken Alwyn. Congratulations to all.
If you’d like to see the bride’s beautiful dress, Christiane Parker has the silk taffeta and silk organza creation featured on her blog. Check it out online under Dress Designer. You can also find Sebastian’s blog online with photos of his beautiful furniture.
Studying classic cinema
If you’re interested in an in depth immersion into Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematic symbol and psychology, check out the classes offered by Glen Ellen resident Terry Ebinger at the Santa Rosa Junior College this spring. Terry is also showing films at Santa Rosa’s Numina Center with this spring’s series leading off with director Michael Powell’s luminous “I Know Where I’m Going.” Even though this writer rarely has such determined direction, I know I want to watch that film and enjoy Terry’s analysis, which always enhances a film’s enjoyment. See you there, too.
Early morning warning: rise and shine
Gracious thanks to last Friday’s anonymous gentleman caller whose 5 a.m. pounding on our front door, echoing the driving rains, woke us in time to watch the creeks (both Sonoma and Calabasas) rise and ebb in a timely fashion. We appreciated the warning and, besides, it gave me ample time to do a last-minute grammar and spelling check on the very words you read today.
Since currently, as I keyboard, it’s not yet dawn on Friday, I have no idea what the weekend will bring in precipitation. I merely look outside through rain-spattered windows to the slightly bluing, faintly glowing morning sky. I am thankful to be warm and dry today and for whatever the weekend brings.
Sweetie soaked to gills
Sweetie, soaked to his gills, just trotted in the back door, the one fast by the Calabasas Creek bridge, reporting, “The creek’s down a couple of feet,” as my computer bubbles, “It’s six o’clock,” meaning a.m., of course. And all is well, I might add. For now. With the same simple prayer for all of you on whatever day you’re reading this, may all be well.
Curious weather stats, watching big muddy
Earlier, after our abrupt wake-up call, and a trip around the grounds, Sweetie returned to his computer to check the weather stats at the Kenwood weather stations. One reported two and a half inches of rain in half an hour, around 3 a.m., along with a sudden four-degree temperature drop. Impressive. Another station, just east of Napa, later reported 4.68 inches from midnight to morning.
In such circumstances I can’t help but recite a little ditty from our once-upon-a-time nearby Napa neighbor, Robert Louis Stevenson: “The rain is raining all around/ It falls on field and tree/ It rains on my umbrella here/ And on the ships at sea.” We appreciate that the rain is no respecter of status.
As a child growing up in Humboldt County, Stevenson’s lines were as comforting to me on a winter day as was Carl Sandburg’s “Fog” on a summer day.
Now that morning has broken with a pale gray light, I watch Big Muddy out my windows, Sonoma Creek on the west side, Calabasas Creek on the east. While Pete Seeger’s sad ballad of “The Big Muddy” comes to mind; it is truly Richie Domingue’s “River’s Gonna Go . . .” that keeps my courage up when floods threaten. That Gator Beat leader is long gone, but his spirit and song still bolster my morning.
Thanksgiving Miracles in our town
Good news overheard one afternoon at the Glen Ellen Village Market several days before Thanksgiving: A worn-out, but enthusiastic Jim Hill, pastor of our local Glen Ellen church, shouted out with seasonal glee: “Seventeen Thanksgiving boxes prepared and ready to go, with two more added,” as he gathered a few more ingredients to fill those gift boxes.
Here’s the story in brief: Every year, around Thanksgiving the congregation of that little church in the vale, collects food items to present to families who might not otherwise enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. Ligia Booker, formerly of La Luz, provides many of the names of local families in need. Then the folks of the church commit to bringing in the works for a traditional feast, including turkey, potatoes, stuffing, yams, olives, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, gravy and the makings for fruit and gelatin dessert, as well as pumpkin pie ingredients. Folks from the church and neighborhood bring their food donations to Mayflower Hall while some extras are purchased through the church’s “Cup of Water” ministry, funded by Glen Ellen Church friends who live as far away as Oregon, Orange County and Washington.
Brenda Hill organizes the volunteers who begin assembling the boxes after lunch the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It’s a huge effort, with, as Jim chuckles, “Food flying in all different directions.” Larger turkeys are provided to the larger families, and the boxes are prepared, and then delivered.
This year the local church donated 19 Thanksgiving meals that fed 99 people. We praise them for their true Christian generosity. Theirs is a fine example of showing God’s love through action.
Next week I’ll share a little excursion to Vietnam. Oh, not like the one that Fig Café’s girl, Sondra Bernstein is planning, but, well, more of a fantasy trip. Just stay tuned.
• • •
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.