Posts Tagged With: stories


I had never been to a Mudfest before and wasn’t quite sure what I would see. It was a first time event at Quyles Kiln/Brice Station Winery about two miles above Murphys. Pam Quyle runs the pottery, her sister and brother-in-law have a winery and tasting room.  Great combination. But I was there to meet  old friends from Alameda County. The first thing  I ran into was a dog-head with a ball in its mouth.  Not surprising since there are plenty of friendly dogs around the place who love balls.

The second thing I hadn’t seen before was this  magnificent dragonfly garden piece. The eye never rests here. But, I walked in the showroom looking for my friend Pam, who was nowhere to be seen.

The Quyle family has been making pottery here since 1928. Families come to replenish their dishes from one generation to the next. Always quality pieces, that never changes. I treasure my colanders, serving bowls, casseroles and berry dishes. But you can find any vessel here, made by Pam or other potters who sell their work  here.

Not only pottery, but other art flourishes. Water color and oil paintings, etchings and greeting cards, and then I see this poster of a dog story. The artist, Marilyn Pyle told me they are popular with school libraries and veterinary offices.

Pam has a potter working here who does faces and busts. I don’t know his or her name and didn’t get to meet the potter, but I did run into this sculpture:

And these delightful faces.

I often find galleries on the road and get my art fix, but here I am at home and able to  do the same thing. For the Mudfest, potters and other artists were invited to put up a booth and present  their work.

I guess when Cathi Newlin says, “Happiness is a lump of Clay” you can see the passion people have for working with clay.  Her rats  were so life-like I accused her of starting a plague.

She works in Angels Camp and does nice framed tiles and  photography as well from her shop at the  The Square Peg.

I poked around the booths until my friends arrived and Don Hall’s work caught my eye. He does highly decorated pieces and much of  his stuff has an Asian look to it. Delicate flowers and plant life. He has a website, He came up from Turlock.

Pottery can be so individual and I always love to see work that is exciting and different.


While I was looking I could smell the chicken in a barrel cooking.  Then Denise and Gary Lindsay, my Sheriff’s Department friends from Alameda County showed up and we enjoyed sharing a bottle of wine and food. The people catering the meals, I wish I had gotten their names.  Unlike some events, the portions were very generous and everyone was bragging about the food. It was excellent.

Gary and Denise had stumbled upon the Kiln and Gary, now retired and moved to Tuolumne County, is also a clay person. He does beautiful mosaic tables and since moving, needs a place to have his clay fired.  He came to the right place. Gary was an avid volunteer and served as treasurer for the Alameda County Archives for many years and was making cocktail tables even then for is fellow deputies. He has quite a following. I’m sure he’ll be just as successful in Tuolumne County enjoying his hobby.

We ate dinner, the band began to play in the meadow behind the tasting room and I again think to myself, how lucky I am to live here. I  hope they have another Mudfest next year.  And, they better have the same caterer.

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Little tales from my walking  journals begun in the 1950’s  need this preface.  A person wishing to divorce  in the 50’s  had to give a reason for it. The petitioner had to show hardship of some type for the divorce to be granted by a divorce court. The usual reason given was “mental cruelty”  if you were  incompatible with your spouse.

In Chicago, Mrs. Rum charged her husband with drunkeness-won her divorce and resumed her maiden name of Miss Cork.  (March 10th, 1968)

These snippets are name related, as you shall see.

A women in Los Angeles charged her husband nagged her when she refused to drink with him. She was granted the divorce and resumed her maiden name of Selma Sober.

At one time,  Mrs. Ashe was in charge of the barbeque pits at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Donald C. Crooks was a probate judge in Redwood Falls, Minnesota in 1952.

William C. Wolf  was voted President of the Lions Club in Duluth, Minnesota, also in 1952.

Dr. Michael Fox is an animal psychologist.  (1976.)

I think Dr. Fox is still practicing, but it made more sense to treat the pet owners than the pets, in my opinion. Hmm!  In a sense he did.

Morris Fisher is president of the Wisconsin Fish Company, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Harlan Apple used to be a foreman for the Skoman Apple Corporation of Wenatchee, Washington.

Cardinal Sin has been the archbishop of Manila for 12 years.

Patience Scales has been a piano teacher in San Francisco for 30 years.

Jack Swallows has been hearing puns about his name ever since he moved to San Juan Capistrano. Swallows says:  “I do fly away from time to time, but I always come back.” The radio stations call him every March and October, when the swallows normally  arrive and leave the Mission San Juan Capistrano. They usually ask if he has packed his bags.

Whoo boy. That must get tiresome.

And, from this sign in Pittsfield, Massachusetts:

Ice Cream Cones, Sundaes, and Malts- J. Freeze Proprietor.

My walking journals have taken several phases. I readied six of them and thought I should launch them into the world that they might gather little stories wherever they landed. I placed my name and address in them to be returned. None has come back. I left one at a bus station, another in a doorway of someone who was moving to Texas. I passed one to a friend who sent  it around with members of  his writer’s workshop. I kept one journal, intent on collecting those trivial little stories from the lives of  friends, family and people I meet. For instance, my friend Pam, after a painful second divorce, had the words Never Again  tattooed on her ring finger.

On-line, they never disappear.

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