There are some things in life that we really just owe to other people. Things that enhance our way of living or provide a measure of comfort, practicality or beauty. For instance, without the Wright brothers figuring out how to fly, we may still be traveling by ship or train. If Alva Fisher had not invented the first electric-powered washing machine, we would not be enjoying the extra time made possible by not having to wash our clothing and linens by hand. In the Methow, it is certain that we have so many things that we are thankful for and that make our tiny community unique. We owe much of this to others that went before us and did some pretty great things. Dick and Nancy Gode are a couple of those people that have helped to shape the valley into the place it is today.
I was inspired by the Godes’ recent gift to the Methow Conservancy that made the purchase of the Mazama Corner possible and then prompted by Sarah Brooks to write a bit about them. I agree, as it is good for the soul to learn more about such inspiring people.
Dick and Nancy moved to Mazama back in 1996 from the Kirkland area after raising their children, Geoff, Jennifer, Scott and Rod. They had frequented the Methow before their move as they were avid outdoors people, loving to ski, hike and backpack. In 1990 the magic of the Methow pulled them in and they bought land in Mazama. After first clearing the land, then building a log cabin in 1994, they finally made the move. During their 14 years here, the Godes found their Nirvana. Whether it was the outdoor activities, the solitude of the mountains, the wildlife watching or the community of similar aged friends, they embraced it all.
Nancy had a weekly get-together with the women’s group she was part of founding, called The Gray Jays. These ladies enjoyed their time together skiing the huts, hiking or just being in each other’s company. Not to be outdone, Dick and friends formed their own Men’s Discussion Group. The group of 15 men gathered to discuss any topic that was chosen. It wasn’t a dinner group nor a drinking group, it was simply a discussion group where no topic was off limits. The Godes tell me that both of these groups are still thriving today.
These groups are not the only legacy that the Godes left in the Methow. Do you enjoy that we have an excellent recycling program here in the valley? Well, it was started, along with others, by the Godes.
Are you amazed that out small community has a fantastic Chamber Music Festival? You could thank one of several founders and the first Chamber Music Festival president for that. That would be Dick Gode. And to bring us full circle, the Godes’ generous gift to the Methow Conservancy? It was a gift to the group that was formed in part by the Godes back in 1996.
So as you are out and about in this beautiful place we call home, and you are struck by the wide open spaces that are being protected by growth and building, send out a little gratitude to Nancy and Dick Gode. While the Godes did not single-handedly begin all of these groups and programs, they were integral in the beginnings of them all.
The Godes moved back to Kirkland in 2010, where they still live today. They visit the Methow when they can. And while they physically moved, their hearts and spirits remain in and of the Methow Valley. Their gifts to this place that they love will ensure that this place always remains their home.