Sometimes when you least expect it you get a sign that lets you know you’re in the Methow.
OK, granted, the recent mischievous rearrangement of the scoreboard at the Winthrop ballpark could have happened anywhere in America (or, for that matter, anywhere that the band Tommy Tutone enjoys popularity as the source of the most widely recognized phone number on the planet).
And anyone who has driven Highway 20 through Twisp in the fall is familiar with the “Free Deer Skinning” plywood signboard that appears during the fall hunting season, delighting the uninitiated. But in a rural community, “free deer skinning” is probably as ubiquitous as “first month free” long-term parking is in big cities, so we can’t exactly claim that as uniquely Methow. Still, you have to admit to an undeniable sense of satisfaction of living somewhere that offers, gratis, the laborious service of separating an animal from its skin.
I suspect that every town has its “Only in Town Name” situations (but really? “Only in Cleveland”? “Only in Fresno”?), referring to things that seem geographically unique, but some of our “Only in the Methow” moments really do seem as if they couldn’t have happened anywhere else.
Consider, for example, a recent Methownet bulletin board post with the subject line: “Did you lose your didgeridoo?” This smacks of quirkiness on so many levels. First: the fact that someone here even owns a didgeridoo. They’re not exactly a household mainstay, especially in the American West. Or maybe I’m just running with more musically conventional crowds. Second: the fact that someone could actually lose a didgeridoo. It’s not a harmonica or a shaker egg. It’s not the kind of thing that just slips out of your pocket unnoticed. And third: the fact that it was found, like an unwanted baby on the orphanage steps, at the Twisp Valley Grange, perhaps lovingly deposited by someone who realized that they couldn’t give a didgeridoo the life it deserved, and hoped it would find a home where it was loved and appreciated. Good luck with that.
Another “Only in the Methow” phenomena (that is, admittedly, probably just as common in any town north of the 48th parallel) is the outdoor freezer. I’m not talking about a chest freezer on a porch — I’m talking about the outdoor freezer known by others as simply “outside.”
Winter makes dealing with large quantities of leftovers so easy. Put them in a container or zipper bag, set them in the outdoor freezer (i.e., set them outside), and voila — easily accessible frozen leftovers! Prepping lots of food for the onslaught of relatives over the holidays? Food storage is no problem — just put your lasagnas and enchiladas in the outdoor freezer, then thaw when you’re ready to cook.
Up until recently, I thought I was the only person who put leftovers out on the porch as a standard procedure, but a recent conversation in my yoga class convinced me otherwise. It’s always reassuring to learn that one’s darkest housekeeping secrets are more widely practiced than one had assumed.