By Ashley Lodato
Always one for inspiration, Carolyn Reynaud had a stunner of a scheme the other day: Name Tag Week. The idea is that everyone in the valley wears a name tag for a week, with first and last names, so that those of us who have been introduced to each other but have forgotten each others’ names can remind ourselves of who various people are.
Someone else overhearing our conversation suggested that the name tags also include such personal identifiers as “married to X,” “daughter of Y,” or “used to be with Z,” but we quickly realized that some people’s name tags would have to be really big.
Last spring, when Wendy Sims heard about the People’s Climate March to be held in New York in the fall, she knew she wanted to participate. She combined the trip with a visit to her mother and booked a seat on one of the buses leaving from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, joining two busloads of fellow marchers on a trek to Manhattan on Sept. 21.
The parade assembly area itself was about 40 blocks long, says Wendy, with different interest groups gathering with like-minded other marchers: the scientists, the students, the anti-frackers, etc. Wendy joined the scientists, whose theme was “the debate is over” (and for those of you who believe that is has only recently begun, Wendy points out that when she was in college in 1973 they were already talking about greenhouse gases and the earth heating up).
Wendy’s group started gathering in the assembly area at 11:30 a.m. but they didn’t start moving until about 1:30 p.m., due to the hordes of other marchers ahead of them. March organizers expected about 100,000 people; nearly 400,000 showed up.
Despite the moving mass of humanity it was a very peaceful event, says Wendy. There was a consistent police presence, but they were in regular clothes — nothing like Ferguson, Missouri.
At one point along the march Wendy spotted 350.org co-founder and author Bill McKibben, who was watching the march from the sidewalk. She got a chance to speak with McKibben, and told him that she had heard him speak in Winthrop last spring, and McKibben responded with a comment about how much he likes the Methow Valley.
Other Methow Valley residents — such as Amalia Webber and maybe even Leif Portmann-Bown — were allegedly in attendance at the march, but Wendy was unable to locate them along the parade route. Sort of like trying to find your friends at the ’49er Days parade, only harder.
I saw Monte Pringle on Saturday, along with his pair of nearly 300-pound pumpkins. While I looked goggle-eyed at the pumpkins’ girth, Monte stared at them morosely. “With the hail, wind gusts, and hard rains,” says Monte, “the pumpkins just didn’t have a chance to thrive.”
I don’t know about you, but when I see a 300-pound pumpkin, that’s the first think I think: “Darn, those things just did not flourish this year!” But Monte is comparing them to last year’s 473-pound behemoth, so it’s understandable that the 2014 pumpkins seem a bit petite.
If you’d like to see Monte’s moderately big pumpkins, they’ll be at the Gold Creek Pumpkin Festival on Saturday at Patty Barker and Gary Walker’s place. And you can pass on your condolences to Monte; the poor guy needs some cheering up if he is to pursue his eventual goal of an 800-pound pumpkin.