By Mandi Donohue

When I worked at the Mazama Store, I heard many wondrous tales of Rick LeDuc’s pancake flipping fame from his daughters, and yet had never gotten to experience his delicious genius. You can imagine my excitement as my husband and I walked into the Mazama Community Club last weekend for the annual pancake breakfast on Memorial Day weekend, knowing Rick would be there. Finally, I was going to experience this great legend’s “art in air,” as surely Rick would be on pancake patrol, right?

Wrong. Rick was in charge of ham. Ham! Can you believe that? It cut like a knife. Such a deep wound! How could I be foiled again? I got in line with a tear in my eye but I pushed through. I had some eggs, I snagged a pancake, I even dipped into Ann Diamond’s “vegetarian ham,” a rare and fine watermelon that had been cut into pig form. I sat down to partake.

Suddenly, the balm of community, children playing, and apples poked with American Flags brought magic to my soul once more. Each bite was a revelation and I began to notice what was going on around me. Pat Leigh was taking photos. Gay Northrup was helping with organization. Jay Lucas, Midge Cross and Claire Bunny were there in trumpeting support.

I looked behind me and John Harter was taking out the trash. Jane Fitzpatrick was checking her patriotic and festive table decorations, and hung bunting. Gloria Spiwak was on flyer and advertising detail. Despite this epic tragedy, there was still so much fundraising magic to be had!

These champions served nearly 450 guests, and when runners started coming in from the Fun Run organized by Sam and Alison Naney of Cascade Endurance, water at the MCC was a hit. Libby Hills organized and ran the flea market that was located right outside, and there were several community groups from all of their great kingdoms represented.

Brian McAuliffe, an Okanogan County Fire District 6 firefighter, had a table with information about defensible space, Life Flight and fire safety tips. The Methow Headwaters campaign, Methow Valley Citizens Council and Represent Okanogan County were also there to provide community members with information about their work. A bluebird landed on my shoulder and she sang, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” I began singing, too.

Another tear came to my eye — this time, a joyful tear. I wiped it away as I saw Nancy Kuta look over the happy crowd and say, “We have many ‘seasoned’ volunteers who have volunteered for this event much longer than I have, so they really know what they are doing. Their experience is valuable in making this event seem effortless in the small space of the MCC kitchen.” The bluebird was right.

The Mazama magic didn’t stop there that weekend. It was evident on Friday afternoon, when Palm Construction was repairing an irrigation line at the junction of Lost River Road and Highway 20.

Crews were frantic, as no person was small enough to fit through the underground pipe to lead a rope through the culvert. What were they going to do? Grown men took to their knees in prayer as a brave contender stepped up. It was Steve Devin. With the whimsy of a Mad Hatter, Steve tied a small line to The World’s Most Amazingly Brave Dog, owned by one of the workers, and the owner called out to him from the other end with everything he had. The Little Dog Who Could powdered though the terrifying pipe like the uninterested and meandering dog that he was until, many minutes later — so much longer than anyone anticipated — he got to the other end. Victory! Huzzah!

There is a lesson to be learned here, great people of this cherished valley. The magic of Mazama is, was, and will reign forevermore.