No-Bad-DaysBy Don Nelson

Many people put an extraordinary amount of thought and effort into the production of “Living With Alzheimer’s: The Reddington Project,” the magazine-style special publication included in this week’s Methow Valley News. But nobody made a bigger personal commitment to the project than Don and Ginger Reddington, whose willingness to invite us into the most trying time of their lives made it possible.

It’s been nearly two years since Don first talked to us about what became a series of eight articles he authored — with the assistance of Raleigh Bowden and Laurelle Walsh — for the newspaper in 2015. Don was adamant — to the point of sometimes-uncomfortable candor — about realistically detailing the challenges he faces day-to-day and long term. But he also refused to knuckle under to the disease, or give up on his active life, or lose his sense of humor. While many Alzheimer’s sufferers are essentially paralyzed by denial, reclusiveness and embarrassment, Don flipped those responses around completely. He accepted the disease and its consequences, and became a vocal and unabashed advocate for understanding what Alzheimer’s implies for its victims and their loved ones.

Don’s articles resonated with many readers, so much so that we became determined to find a way to expand the reach of his message. “Living With Alzheimer’s: The Reddington Project” is the result. You can read about how that happened in the publication.

We anticipate high demand for magazine, and we’ve printed a lot of copies so they can be widely distributed for free. Additional copies won’t be available before next week, but you can contact our office about how to get them.

Don was in the newspaper office last week, with Ginger, to look over the final page proofs before the publication went to press. I told him that I hope we have honored his personal mission, as he has honored us.

Just say ‘thanks’

When I interviewed Winthrop Mayor Sue Langdalen this week about her impending departure from the Methow Valley, she told me she’s not keen on “goodbye” parties and cakes and such. She pointed out that she her husband, Jim, expect to be frequent visitors to the valley after their move to Stanwood, so it’s not like she’s disappearing.

Cake or no cake (and I am a big fan of cake for any occasion), Sue deserves a profound “thank you” from the citizens of Winthrop for her service as mayor (on two different occasions) and on the town council. She is not a rah-rah politician but has been quietly, consistently effective in guiding the town through tough issues and pushing it toward improvements. She cares about what happens in Winthrop.

Small town government leadership is challenging. Resources are always scarce, little problems can explode into nasty public quarrels, and local officials are much more visible and approachable than in bigger municipalities. Other than the personal satisfaction of contributing the community’s well-being, the rewards aren’t particularly noteworthy. Appreciation may be hard to come by.

So it’s typical that expressions of gratitude occur at the end of one’s public service rather than in the middle of it. Don’t wait for that invitation. If you see Sue, tell her “thanks,” or send a note to Town Hall. They’ll know how to reach her.

The park takes shape

It’s been interesting to see Confluence Park begin to emerge from the empty lot on Riverside Avenue in Winthrop. The park, on the former site of Arrowleaf Bistro, is being developed by Jim and Gaye Pigott, who will donate it to the town. Work remains to be done, but you can get a good idea of what it’s going to look like.

The park project has drawn a lot of attention this summer, situated as it is in the middle of the downtown pedestrian traffic flow. A couple of common observations have emerged from my conversations about the park. You really don’t get a sense of what it will look and feel like from the plans. There’s nothing like seeing two-dimensional drawings become three-dimensional reality. And, the space seems much  bigger than people anticipated.  I wasn’t necessarily expecting a “pocket park,” but I’ve been surprised at how roomy the space feels. I suspect it’s going to become an instantly popular feature, and another impetus to continue opening up access to the Chewuch River.

 

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