Gold Country Denizens

Tourists, patience, peace, Navy, music, art

By: Susan Rushton
-A +A


As I write this, I’m in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. So that means I’m not in Auburn … yet I must talk about Gold Country Denizens. I’m always convinced that I won’t have enough items to fill this space. However, Tuesday night at “Oklahoma!” I spied two Auburn denizens a couple of rows below me: friends Charlene Messner and Liz Honeycutt. Charlene and her husband are Silver Screen regulars. Liz is one of the venerable Sugar Plump Fairies, something she had to make clear because she was out of uniform — no wig, ruffles or glitter. Chatting at intermission, I told them it was good to see them — and that I was grateful that they provided me with 123 words for this column!

… I had a great time at the Old Town Co-op on July 5. One of many reasons has to do with courtesy and patience. I had set up the Silver Screen booth in front of Serendipity because I’d set up there last month. And as I sat to revel in my being finished, Emily Intersimone arrived to set up the booth for Auburn Children’s Collective. Turned out I was in their space.

So oops. It was a situation fraught with the possibility of impatience, testiness, raised voices. But I was wrong: none of that happened. Instead, we put our heads together, got advice, got help, and I moved one space over — to a smaller (empty) spot because they needed the bigger one and I’m OK with a small one.

It was so pleasant. So easy and civilized. We all got along. I was tickled.

… So what’s Auburn Children’s Collective? “It’s a collaborative effort,” said Emily. “We’re a whole bunch of moms who create stuff, and we came together to put a booth together.” So their booth is filled with miscellaneous crafts, quilting and artwork — not a lot of one thing but a lot of many different things. Men and men’s work are welcome, and “we’re working on a website — an account that is to come.” In the meantime, if you’re interested in participating, email

… I know a lot of sweeeet things lurk in Old Town, and I wanted something smallish that wouldn’t melt. Clearly, chocolate and ice cream weren’t an option. So I hiked myself up to The Pour Choice. Christine Myers, “a friend of the owners,” sold me a nice medium serving of shortbread. Yum.

… Community activist Natalie Zapata strolled by, and I asked about Growing Peace Camp. It starts on Monday, July 30 and “It’s full,” she said. What great news that she has 162 children interested and eager — and teachers, assistants, musicians and artists interested and eager — to “learn together about how we can be mindful of ourselves and actions so that we can live with intention and purpose. These lessons will be taught using music, arts, culture and technology and will promote ways we can make a difference by acts of kindness, appreciating our differences and listening to each other.”

That last is from the Growing Peace Camp Facebook page. Learning to listen to each other: what a great thing for our community. Thanks, you guys.

Lucas Olender, 12, attracted attention to himself by wandering up and down Sacramento Street on his homemade stilts, joined by pals Dash Tebbs (“my dad owns Victory Velo,” he said) and Enzo Gallo — these 12-year-olds also own stilts — and Lucas’ brother Peter, 10. I encouraged them to feel great about themselves, once I reassured them that I wouldn’t give them a ticket.

… And at July’s Cruise Nite, I set up my movie booth next to Larry LaVerne and Paula Celick’s Wreaths Across America. Another great time. Across from us, in front of the Auburn Promenade, the Stamp Mill Stompers (an offshoot of the Auburn Winds) got people clapping and dancing to great ‘40s music. Diane Dixon-Johnson and Bill Johnson insisted on dancing to “The Saints Go Marching In.” “If you’re not dancing to the Saints, you’re not dancing,” Diane said with a grin.

… Because veterans hang out at the Wreaths Across America booth, I overheard Applegate denizen Robert Sinel share this information: “My daughter has been accepted to the Naval Academy.” Many congratulations and much hoopla, and I sidled over. His daughter, Samantha, 17, headed off this past Friday to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. She’ll be there one year. Why the Navy? I asked. “I want to fly,” she said. “I want to be stationed on aircraft carriers.” Wow.

Maybe her brother Nicholas, 14, will enlist in the Navy when it’s his turn.

Casey Conway gave me hope for these times. After clarifying that although we’re friends, we don’t mesh politically, he gave me his definition of tolerance: “We can listen to each other without killing each other.” Yes. If he and I can, everyone can.

… November’s slowly approaching. The Arts Council of Placer County wants everyone to prepare for the Placer Artists’ Studios Tour, Nov. 9-11. Toward that end, several preview shows are in the works, including Fawnridge Winery (5560 Fawnridge Road, Auburn, through Sept. 30; the Administration Center (“The Domes”), through Sept 17; and at Holiday Inn and Max’s, Aug. 15-Oct. 15. For information:

That’s my town. Got any items for me? Email me at