© Another Day in the Country
It was 6:05 a.m. California time and I was in bed, snuggled under a down comforter, looking out the bamboo-covered bedroom window.
“It’s a natural curtain,” I insisted when I planted that bamboo below this window many years ago. It has been a delightful barrier to the outside world. You can see through, but not really, and when the sun shines in, the room is decorated in bamboo shadows.
Beyond the bamboo, I can see that the fog moved in during the night.
We call the fog “God’s air conditioner” here in northern California. It has worked quite efficiently for more than 40 years in this little house on the hill.
The “hill” referred to is really called Howell Mountain, rising a couple thousand feet above sea level from the valley floor. Said “valley,” Napa Valley, now covered by acres and acres of grapes all destined to become the wine for which this region is famous.
“I don’t know what all the hoo-ha is about wine,” I mumbled the day before as I worked my way through all the tourist traffic. According to me, who has never appreciated either the taste or the effects of alcohol, it’s much ado about nothing. Those are blasphemous words in the Napa Valley.
One reason I was awake was that I heard my phone buzzing. Since it was the 4th of July, I couldn’t resist reaching over to retrieve it from the dresser where it was recharging while I also was recharging — getting a good night’s sleep.
There were text messages arriving from Ramona, where excitement was already building, Kansas time, with participants lining up for the Redneck Run.
“Oh, how funny,” I squealed (quietly, since the rest of the house was asleep). “Look at the redneck photo op and all those gung-ho folk lining up to run.”
Jess informed me that she’d decided to run again this year to keep Junior Hanschu company since Delores Siggs, his usual running buddy, wasn’t there. Delores and Junior always dress up in some redneck outfit for the occasion! Buzz goes the phone; there’s a picture of Clara and her grandmother warming up for the race.
“Kid’s art contest begins any minute now,” Jess texted, and I waited to see the kids in action.
Isn’t it something that I can be a couple thousand miles away in California and still keep up with what is happening in Ramona, Kansas, population 100 +/-?
Meanwhile, my grandson and I took off for the little town of Calistoga, at the end of the valley, where the county fair and parade take place every year on the 4th of July.
We managed to find a shady spot curbside on the main street and waited for everything to begin. When it started, half a dozen fire trucks came down the road.
“Is that the best they can do for an entry?” I mumbled. “We do better than that in Ramona!”
It wasn’t until midnight, Kansas time, that I got the real blow-by-blow of all the excitement back in my home town.
Jess was blown away by all the parade entries. Of course, the Noeth’s had an entry, Redneck AA, that won a prize. I could imagine that it was a stunner. Art’s whole family had an entry, and David and Jane — all prize winners. Jess reported that Jane was on the back of a trailer as the BBQ Queen and all dolled up. Jess loaned her some fake pearls for her getty-up.
“Wow, Jane, you look so pretty you should go out on the town,” Jess said. “Isn’t that what I’m doin’?” neighbor Jane retorted.
“Highlights,” Jess said to me, “that’s all I have time for! I’ve worked for three days straight, you know, and I’m beat!”
I did know; however, it’s been several years since I’ve been there to help.
She reported that Colin and his sister joined the parade, contributing his droll humor one more time. She said that on the day before, when she was cleaning up the Town Hall (and had neglected making something for herself to eat), that Rohani came by unexpectedly with four vegetarian egg rolls she’d just made.
“They were delicious and just what I needed,” Jess said.
These are the kinds of things that happen on another day in the country. You just never know what simple gesture, what unexpected surprise, what funny incident you’ll remember for the rest of your life! I did MISS 4th of July in Ramona; but not all of it, because I heard all about it. And you know how good stories go — they just keep being told over and over again!