From the publisher's desk: Just another weekend in Del Norte

By Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate April 29, 2009 07:57 am
Del Norte County doesn’t take weekends off, so how can we? When I became publisher I volunteered Rick for weekend photo duty. With his camera bag slung over his shoulder, Rick travels from venue to venue capturing weekend event images for our newspaper and to upload on our Web site photo albums.

Saturday I tagged along like I usually do. Rick’s official assignment was the Coastal Expo, but I added other stops like The Dutch Gardener’s. I couldn’t miss this local rite of spring! Sadly, Rick made me promise not to bring home a single plant until I had a space prepared for it.

Kees and Teri said it had been a mob scene there Saturday morning. Kees pointed to empty spaces where hanging baskets had been. With help from their Rotary exchange student Guido and Teri’s sister, The Dutch Gardener set a new opening day record. As we toured her garden, Teri picked an armful of Swiss chard for me that resulted in a white bean and chard cassoulet for our Saturday night dinner.

Next I suggested we stop by Crescent Harbor Gallery’s Salad Luncheon and Art Auction fundraiser.  We arrived just in time to bid on and win a Garetta Lamore watercolor. We met Chuck Keeley, the association’s new president, and Rick talked guitar with local music legend Dale Morgan who strolled into the gallery wearing a vintage top hat.

At the fairgrounds I followed Rick around as he shot photos of the Expo. We were at Shearjoy Salon’s booth when I heard a familiar voice. Bicoastal Media’s general manager Rene’ Shanle-Hutzell was talking on her phone and waving her free arm around in her animated four-shots-of-espresso style.  She pulled me into her on-the-air conversation saying, “Here’s my friend, Michele. You never know who you’ll run into at the Expo.”

I’m confident I speak for both of us when I say that Rene’ and I thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. We meet for lunch when we can squeeze out an hour on the same day, which happens about quarterly. We have a lot in common as managers of local media and inevitably we share war stories and laugh a lot.

True to character, Rene’ suggested we step outside the Arts and Crafts Building and jump on a couple of riding lawnmowers for a photo op. She took the mower that was out in front and I got the one slightly behind it. The wind in our hair added an element of reality as Rene yelled “Go” and the race began. The mowers, of course, didn’t budge. No matter how hard I dug my heels into my mower’s side, I couldn’t overtake Rene who yelled, “I won by a lawn clipping,” while Rick clicked away.

Sunday evening we joined our friends the Barlows and the crew of The Lady Washington for dinner. The tall-masted ship that played a role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” came into Crescent City Harbor seeking shelter from a storm last week. Bill Barlow has crewed on the Lady before and was on board Thursday evening when it attempted to depart. Attempting to head north, heavy winds blew it south to Klamath. After hours of tumultuous sailing the Lady found her way back to Crescent City. A short article in the lower right corner of Saturday’s front page announced that the ship was staying for the weekend and the crew would be giving tours.

Saturday more than 200 people — the same number the crew hosted in San Diego — boarded the Lady Washington. Over dinner Sunday night, Captain David and his crew told me everyone said they read about them in The Triplicate. They were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received here and can’t wait to return.

As I drove my carload of mariners from Massachusetts, Delaware and Washington state past Castle Rock, Battery Point Lighthouse and Beachfront Park on our way to the harbor, they told me how lucky I was to live in such a special place. Yes, indeed. Lucky to have weekends full of adventures, and the photos to go with them.