By Martha Williams

You never know when something that has a same or similar name will bring the past to mind.

Like Wednesday afternoon.

I went out to check on the hot house and the veggies growing along the fence. Strawberries — starting to produce. Pumpkins, marching right along. Zucchini, 5 so far. Acorn squash-nothing yet.

Then, boom.

Cucumbers — wilted and dying. Loose dirt piled throughout that section of ground.

Oh, how I wish I still had Toby.

But he was the dachshund I had when we lived here 40 years ago — and he was a champion when it came to routing those rotten little critters burrowing up under my plants. He and our yellow tabby Goldie would team up and make quick work of them.

So, thinking just what to do about those pesky gophers, I remembered a place where you used to be able to read all kinds of interesting, smart, and funny things, and where you really could learn something. All because of the word gopher.

It came in the Tuesday issue of the Triplicate until a few years ago. It was the first thing I, and I suspect, many others, turned to on those mornings.

Gopher Gulch.

I’m not sure just how many years Inez Castor enthralled us with that column, but it is sorely missed by many. You were never quite sure what the topic was going to be, but you could be sure it would contain interest, information, and humor all rolled into one. And I hated it when she wrote that it was coming to an end — that to her, it was time.

To me, it was just too good to bury. I still say someone should go through the archives, and pick a bunch of the best, and put them into a book. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of folks would be standing in line to get it.

Back to strawberries. And things like strawberry-rhubarb pie. I can’t wait til there are enough berries to pair with the rhubarb nestled in my freezer thanks to a friend. My grandmother used to simply stew it up with some sugar and serve it as dessert. That was OK, but the first taste I had of strawberry-rhubarb pie, I was definitely hooked.

And the best one I ever had, I bought last time Grace Lutheran had one of those wonderful pie sales. I have waited impatiently for the next one, and it’s coming soon.

But I’m out of luck. The day of the sale, I will be in the air headed for Kansas. But for a good reason, a wedding.

The sale at Grace Lutheran will take place on Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sale is to raise funds, in sponsorship with Thrivent Action Team Program, to help those affected by the fires in Redding. Proceeds will go directly to the victims.

As in the past when I have traveled in the summer, I will continue to write this wherever I am, so keep emailing.

To contact Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email