Posts Tagged With: Open House


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I missed most of the Christmas events I usually attend so I was determined to get to my Elks Club Open House. The food was excellent.

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The bar was suitably busy. The bartender is a member volunteer, and he had his hands full.

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Everyone seemed happy and full of Christmas spirit. The guy with the smile is just recently engaged to be married. His fiance is not in the picture.

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Our club is lucky to have Lynn, a piano player who always provides music for every event, every dinner. Any club would be lucky to have a guy like him.  A fairly new member revealed her exceptional voice and sang beautifully.

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Because I travel so much, I forget peoples names. I recognize faces and people who have been welcoming and nice to me.

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Our club is very active and you look around and figure, someone put a lot of time and effort into decorating our hall.

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And, while I forget names, I never forget my sponsor, he goes by the honiker “Skip Ahoy”. Also an officer of the club. He and his wife contribute a great amount of time and effort to Elks, and I admire them both.

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My table mate is also a newer member and an officer. He used to be a computer tech. He said “I got tired of fixing people’s computer problems, so now I teach at Columbia College and show people how to fix their own.”  His wife and daughter left early. He stayed for the clean-up.

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It had been awhile since I drove over the river to Tuolumne County.  The reservoir is shockingly low, down below the foundation attachment to the bridge.

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Visible is the straight line of the old road that took the driver to a small bridge over the river then the road climbed back up to the other side. The canyon was flooded by Melones Dam under protest from the locals who liked their wild and scenic river. I enjoyed the twisty road and the canyon, and most of all river rafting. Those things are gone, but the reservoir certainly provided valuable water to communities below us with water they wouldn’t have had.

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The tops of once live trees stick up above the surface of the water and the whole canyon is now unsafe for boating. We do complain about the rain because it is wet and cold, but we don’t complain too hard. We need that rain for the snow pack and hope we have a normal year.

Today, I’m planning to hunker down and get some Christmas cards out. I know-it is last minute but this has been one of the busiest times at home, with friends in need, and more on my plate than normal. We are promised a non-rain day, with some clouds and a bit of sun. Nice.

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Yesterday was a struggle, with an extended brown out, 50% power. Bitterly cold for us with eight and a quarter inches of snow. I couldn’t open my electric garage door. Karen chanced our driveway and went to town. A guy living on our road plowed the main road. The return was dicey. She slid and slipped back up the driveway and with heart racing,  barely made it back to the house. Since temperatures last night were predicted at 12*, she knew the ice would be a more harrowing journey today, when the slush freezes. It did melt some yesterday, then it snowed some more. Then we  had a full power outage for several hours. I saw PG&E working the pole on my property at 10:00 p.m. So, another day of ice and snow. I hope to walk later in the morning and take pictures. It is nice to have electricity back. So, to continue Murphys Open House where Becky, Janice, Leslie and I met Jan at the emergency shelter, see yesterday’s late post:

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Becky talked with another shelter worker, Tammy, mostly about the beds and blankets. The beds are red cots. The blankets  are made of ugly grey felt, unwashable,  and are thrown away or given to the person who uses them. I thought that was interesting. One person used the shelter last night. And, Jan reported to me this morning she left at midnight, barely made it home the snow was so heavy, got into her house and a tree went down on her driveway after she got in. (She has 4 wheel drive.)

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The wine tasting rooms were busy and filled with tasters. At Hovey’s we had a chocolate tasting as well. Everyone was in a festive happy mode, as we were. Enjoying the cookies or treats with cider.

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A new store had its grand opening that night. The owner has a lavender farm in Arizona and kids that live in Arnold. They have all kinds of lavender based soaps and products. Very nice. We tasted a delicious lavender cookie. Reminds me of that song:

He was only a lavender cowboy, the hairs on his chest they were two, he wanted to be a big hero, and do as the heroes do. Red, green many color hair tonics, he rubbed on his chest every night. But when he woke up the next morning, no new hairs grew in sight. He battled for Red Nellie’s honor, and cleaned out a hold-up’s nest. He died with two six guns a blazing, but only two hairs on his chest.

Sorry but that song has been buzzing through my brain lately. I tried to sing it for Jim.

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I like bags and hats. We have a great bag shop. This Little Volkswagen bag reminded me of Janis Joplin’s Volkswagen. Such a sad story. We visited her home town of Port Arthur, Texas earlier this year. The owner was a Joplin fan. Me too.

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A Christmas tree made from rough bits of left over wood. I’m an avid recycler and it appealed to me, along with the home-made decorations. I used to lavishly decorate for Christmas. I’m now in favor of items I can haul out that are already decorated and just need to be set up. (It is an age thing, I think.)

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Stores in Murphys have changed hands so many times, I always remember the original name. This was Riedel’s Grocery. I met neighbors Bitsy and Mike Cameron.

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And, Suki Tutthill. She used to own a business in town. We were in the Business association together in the mid 1980’s. Running into old friends is another thing I love about Open House.DSC02082 (Copy)

My very favorite store in  Murphys, though, is the IDEA store, which carries bathroom machineries and sooooo much more. I tell everyone to go. New on this visit was a child size antique porcelain bath and sink.

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And, a more modern child size toilet. Tom  imported a truckload of porcelain one-and-a- half- pint, flush toilets, which will be the new law in California soon. I forgot to take Tom’s picture, another old friend from Murphys Business Association. We chatted and enjoyed cookies and cider. The best thing about the place is his ghost story and the story of the over too hundred tons of keys and locks he got from Great Britain. All antique. Marvelous place. Just ask and he will tell you. DSC02089 (Copy)

The open house was officially over at 8:00 p.m. People lingered beyond that, enjoying the fire pits, hating to leave, music still wafting in the air from somewhere. The Highway Patrol patiently waited and didn’t come in like commandos and reopen the street to traffic.  It started snowing just before we left town. It was heavy about 500 yards from my driveway. What a lovely night.

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This is my town, where wine is king with twenty-six tasting rooms on Main St. Murphys. As recently as 1969, ranchers were still running cattle down this same street,  kicking the manure off their feet and guzzling a cool one at the Murphys Hotel. When I first moved here rents were so cheap and business so slow,  two guys paid $25 a month and opened up The Office. They weren’t selling anything, they just invited people in to chat.

Now you can enjoy a champagne reception…

…or buy sophisticated, pricey goods without going all the way to San Francisco. Old timers, now gone,  would be agog at the changes. But the charm is in the mix.

You can just as readily stop by the Spice Tin and chat with Coach Shultz and enjoy a roasted chestnut, or…sit around the coffee roaster, enjoy the wood fire,  and play checkers with your brew and sweet roll.

My friend Margo Osborn, (right) walked the streets with me for Murphys Annual Open House, always held the first Friday in December.   I like to run into old friends. We stopped to say hello to Cathy Courtright.

We started late and didn’t get to every business, but we did see seven places that had live music.

We stopped to see an Itsy Bitsy Art Show, where you can lounge around and study the pieces.

I liked this matched set of posters with  predominant colors, red and yellow.

As you move from place to place, if you get cold, you can warm your hands or feet at one of several fire rings. A new feature this year.

The breezeway at Newsom Harlow had their own fireplace and live music for folks enjoying a bite to eat with their wine.

Someone at Twisted Oak tasting room set out creative lights.

Local kids practiced their Christmas music. I heard bells, and carolers and music at every turn.

No where else will you see candles like these. The glass jar is hand decorated to hold a special candle. When it burns, you can buy a refill for your beautiful jar. A local invention.

Appealing  rag-dolls for two cute little girls. (And, I only have grand sons.)

The best eats on the street, apple dumplings and cider, chocolate or wine at Tanners.

Peace, the best Christmas gift we can have.


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