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A look at the GE fair quilt

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Sylvia Crawford/Glen Ellen Columnist

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Equinoctal frog sings mellow fruitfulness

Last Sunday evening the autumnal equinox arrived with equal hours of light and dark, reminding me of Ane Carla Rovetta’s hilarious rendition of the Native American story of the frog who brings night and day in equal measure to the world.

Easily on that, romantic Keats arises in my mind, refreshing as ever each fall: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom friend of the maturing sun; conspiring with him how to load and bless / With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run / To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees / And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.”

With fall hard upon us and a brisk shift in the air, we anticipate now the October event that heralds the season of celebration in Glen Ellen.

GE fair land of counterpane

Oct. 13, Sunday, is the day of our glorious and gallant Glen Ellen Village Fair. For more than a year, the lovely ladies of the Village Quilters have been meeting in Mary Ann Carr’s living space, flush on the banks of Sonoma Creek, stitching the squares that grace our 2013 quilt.

I recall it was almost two years ago that the word first went out that quilt squares were requested featuring this fair’s theme of “Food for Thought.” As the pieces of artful stitchery began arriving at Pam Wiley’s house, I went to look, asking for a consult on my own inchoate offering.

Many hands make work light

Pam laid out an array of beautiful needlework, squares done by talented artists, lovers of fabric and sewing. Before the pieces were stitched together, Pam took the lot out to Montana where she and Glen Ellen ex-pat Leslie Smith chose the various rows and columns, creating a blanket to be cherished by one happy winner. We don’t know for sure, but we are assuming that the Sweeties of these two quilting ladies enjoyed passing the time on the banks of a trout stream.

And so the quilt was created.

Each piece a work in itself

The top left corner of this year’s quilt features an intricate basket of fruit fashioned by Nancy Murray, our former fire chief’s helpmate. The basket she fashioned brims with the fruit of the season, much in the manner of poet Keats, fruit-filled with ripeness to the core. Next to Nancy’s square is one of the several contributed by Ma Carr (as we affectionately call her), a perfect hanging bunch of three ripe apples, red delicious I would guess, again the embodiment of Keats’ sentiments. Her square has a simple arching beauty that emphasizes the fruit.

Deb Pool’s wine-red beets occupy the next square. Their delicate roots permeating the soil while their fancy feathered leaves seek the sun. I love this square, just as I love beets. They are one of my Finnish childhood staples, boiled, grated and served with salmon. Oh dear, a nostalgic reverie of purple-red stained fingers and delicious meals, all brought to the surface by Deb’s square.

Margie Foster’s overflowing picnic basket with a bottle of Sonoma Valley red, a crusty loaf of French bread, corn, strawberry and eggs makes for an elegant picnic repast. All that’s just the top row.

As for my own meager contribution to that blessed blanket, it is my typical everyday breakfast, replete with Index-Tribune stories of folks I love.

The square that wouldn’t wash

In the process of assembling the quilt, with all the duties of pressing and sewing, my square suffered a little manufacturing malfunction. Turns out my newspaper pages, done in cloth, weren’t any more waterproof than the actual paper I read every Tuesday and Friday morning. Like those real newsprint pages, the ink comes off readily.

So, along the way, the careful ladies of the quilting group had to jettison my cloth newspaper, leaving my solitary breakfast on the square.

Just last week, Margie appeared at my doorstep, we rummaged through my sewing materials and found the substitute newspaper page fashioned in cloth. Huh? Yep, I’d made two of the pages the first round, planning to save one as a memory. They feature MFK Fisher, David Bouverie and Evelyn Berger – a sort of fabric homage to their lives. I call my square “wake up call,” because whence they have gone, thence will we all, sooner or later.

In columns to come I will share more of the rows and columns of this year’s beautiful blanket based on the theme of “Food for Thought.” For now, make sure to buy quilt raffle chances in multiple quantities. I am.

The Glen Ellen Village Fair's "Food For Thought" quilt

The Glen Ellen Village Fair’s “Food For Thought” quilt

Bergers of our berg

And that very theme is the phrase for this year’s Village Fair parade, as well. This year’s “Food for Thought” parade begins its slow march down Carquinez, turning left onto Arnold Drive, past the Glen Ellen Inn and the Fig Cafe, continuing around the corner, veering to the right after Bob Wagner’s Vet Office. Past the post office, and just before it, the little market, which my friend BJ Blanchard and her dear daughter, Sydney, always call the Lotto Market, over the bridge and home free. Surely, it’s the shortest parade on earth, but one with the greatest hometown spirit and verve. We love it.

This year’s grand marshals are the Bergers, a fine family of Sonoma Mountain folks, who will ride in one of Tom Leonard’s snazzy vehicles. We look forward to seeing three generations of Bergers.

Little by little, work gets done in a hurry

If you’d like to be part of this year’s fantastical parade, contact Glen Ellen Village Fair Committee President Leslie Vaughn now. She will guide you to the correct committee member to get you placed in the parade.

Meanwhile, the contest for a 2013 fair T-shirt is still rolling along. Again, Leslie is the one to consult. She can be reached at 935-9163 (home), 494-6197 (cell) or email glenellenfair@att.net.

Right now, she is also looking for volunteers for the day to help the teens who give their time to Kids Alley, as well as some hardy early risers willing to help folks with booths unpack their cars on the morning of the fair.

Help make this year’s Glen Ellen Village Fair an entire success by calling Leslie today. Just ask her, “How can I help?” I assure you, she will graciously accept your offer, be it for one short hour or a good long day of labor. Be sure to check out other fair news on Facebook where the fair committee has its own page.

Meanwhile, at the Maysonnave

Meanwhile we are disappointed to know of the other great events that are set for the same day as our Glen Ellen Village Fair. Knowing we can’t be in two places at once, we have made the sad choice to skip the benefit for Sheana Davis at the Maysonnave House on our fair day. Sweetie and I will still buy tickets in support of Sheana, who, once-upon-a-time lived in our village. She is a dynamic food maven who has helped shape the culinary world of Sonoma Valley and beyond. We applaud Sheana for all of her good works and hope that this benefit will help pave the way for many more years of Sheana’s influence on this Valley.

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Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks in advance.