By Sarah Schrock

I am skeptical of the notion of death without regret. Sure, all of us would love to arrive at the finish line without harboring doubts over our lives decisions. But this weekend I managed to generate a regret I am sure to go to my grave with: missing “A Prairie Home Companion” live in Spokane on Saturday.

As a Garrison Keillor fan born and raised in Spokane, missing this performance was particularly bitter to bear. In the broadcast, Keillor showcased the architectural landmarks of my upbringing with such endearing detail that tears filled my eyes. I chuckled when he nailed the tension between Seattlites’ uppity attitude towards Spokane, and Spokanites’ indifference to Seattlites’ pretentiousness, knowing full well the hidden marvels of life in the rain shadow.

Despite my lapse in getting tickets on time and relegated to listening on radio, a number of valley residents made the trek, and a few even made sizable donations to KPBX in order to secure seats. Carolyn and Tom Sullivan were spotted by Lois and Alan Casswell. Barb and John Newman, Leah Swayze, Kari Bown, Don and Mary McIvor, Bruce and Diane Thompson, Allison Philbin and Greg Knab were among the crowd.

Some VIP ticket holders were privy to the rehearsal and private reception prior to the show, while Keillor was available to chat with the public outside the Convention Center after the curtain closed. I am sure there were many more from the valley taking in the fanfare, and rumor has it Auntie’s Bookstore was teaming with valley folk.

Similarly, the Twisp Valley Grange was teaming with fans of Bill Duguay, whose belated 50th birthday and retirement party brought family and friends from near and far on Saturday night.  Bill taught third in Chelan for over 20 years before retiring to full-fledged wildland firefighting two years ago. Bill’s wife, Jennifer (Mendro), hosted the potluck bash where, no big surprise, Family Dog was the musical lineup. Upwards of 120 people, including old valley friends and Peace Corps veteran cohorts from the Duguays’ time in Mali,  partook in the celebration.

Linda and Wayne Mendro’s many trips to the Congo are about to be reciprocated by two Congolese visitors coming to Twisp. The Mendros’ numerous journeys to the heart of Africa have led to real changes in poverty and despair for our world’s most vulnerable people. Since Linda’s first visit in 2002, her efforts (with help from many local sponsors and Compassion Care) have secured a home for wayward youth and orphans, and assisted the disabled with vocational skills training.

Assuming no hiccups with visas, the Mendros are thrilled to host Tompousse (Patrick), their proxy hands-on-the-ground-guy in May, followed by Nyota Claudine, whom they consider their African grandchild, in June. Both Congolese nationals are in the United States as part of the United Methodist International Conference taking place in Portland and will speak to the United Methodist Church on Sunday (May 22) and June 19, respectively. If you would like to meet these special guests, the Mendros will be hosting a potluck to welcome their visitors on May 24 at  6 p.m. at their Poorman Creek home, and later in June (date to be determined). Call Wayne or Linda at 997-6070 for more information.

Finally, don’t foster any regret by forgetting to sign up your aspiring hoopster for Hoop 5 Camp.  Hosted by Connor Walsh and Regan Putnam, the four-day camp hones in on key skills: shooting, dribbling, passing, defense and teamwork. The two camp sessions running June 20–23 and again Aug. 1–4 at Liberty Bell High School are open to second- through eighth-graders graders from the 2015–16 school year. For more information call Connor at (509) 429-1095. It’s not too late to register for other summer camps like the British or Tetra Brazil Soccer camps June 13–17, Classroom in Bloom Camps, River Camp, Confluence Art Camps, and Little Star Montessori School Camps. For more information on those camps, see the Methow Valley Summer 2016 magazine or contact the sponsoring organization. You won’t regret it.


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