“Sshhh … it’s a secret.”
“There’s an important visitor coming to town, but you can’t tell anyone.”
“It’s hush, hush. They don’t want to draw attention.”
It was the secret that spread like wildfire. Everyone who knew, told. When Jay Inslee finally landed at the Methow Valley State Airport on Friday, the word had been out for days: the governor is coming to town!
Under normal circumstances, the visitation would have fallen under the banner of any regular gubernatorial duty. Making rounds of rural areas, seeing where state dollars have been invested and what local issues leaders are facing are all par for the course. But given Inslee’s bid for the White House, this visit held a bit more circumstance and curiosity. It’s not every day that a presidential candidate visits Twisp. Likely, it won’t happen again — maybe ever. And, despite the fact that the cat was out of the bag as to his visitation, as well as the black SUV and security detail escort tailing him giving it away, the event did go fairly unnoticed by passersby.
Recently, someone remarked that Twisp is the blue-collar town of the valley. This gave me pause. I don’t dispute that we hold the reputation of being the “working class” town and the “service town.” Other than the clerks at NAPA Auto Parts, I don’t know anyone who wears blue collars. Hank’s workers wear green; Quality Lube, grey; and Les Schwab attendants wear crisp whites. We have no industrial engine that employs factory workers, warranting this image, at all. Perhaps when the Wagner Mill was operational we could tout being blue collar, but today? I beg to differ. We have evolved into an eclectic mix of working attire, reflecting the unique blending of our time and economy.
The more I thought about this comment it dawned on me, we are not the blue-collar town at all — more aptly, we are the collarless town, unless the governor is in town. When Inslee visited, the collars came out of the closet to greet him. Checked collars, plaid collars, and white collars. The governor wore a checkered shirt and spared us the suit and tie, fitting in quite naturally to the casual business attire of our small professional “white” collar work force. Therefore, it’s time for Twisp to shed the blue-collar image — it really doesn’t apply anyway. We are about as casual as it gets. With the construction trades, nonprofits, small retail businesses, thrift stores, artists and designers, welders, ranchers, fish biologists, smokejumpers, coffee roasters and baristas, alongside organic farmers dominating the work force, collars are reserved for Sundays at best — and, well, when the governor is in town.
This Sunday, July 28, come out to the The Merc Playhouse where Ken Bevis, a local folk singer/songwriter will debut his new album entitled “Great Divide.” Ken’s last album, “Wanderer’s Moon,” featured reflections of life on the landscape, including his “Firestorm” ballad that became an anthem following the Carlton Complex Fire.
Drawing from a life as field biologist, Bevis’ lyrical poetic songwriting captures the spirit of the land. This new album includes the musical collaboration of many local favorite musicians. The show, and album, is a one of its kind compilation written by Bevis over the course of five years alongside local musical legends, including former Methow violin virtuoso John Weeks. Weeks left the Methow music scene a few years ago to return to his roots in Chicago, and if you’ve never heard him play, here’s your chance. John has an energizing stage presence as he captivates the crowd in an almost playful way, simultaneously leading and playing off his fellow musicians. The collaboration also includes Laura Love, Jon McIvor, Wayne Mendro and Lynette Westendorf. The album is a sort of reflection and tribute to life’s transition from youth to old age. The show begins at 7 p.m., and should be about two hours with a set break. Collared shirts optional.