This week I will have lived in this community for 12,000 days. My friend, Father. Gordon Kamai, kids me about the way I look at my life in numbers but that is how I see things at times. So what have I learned in these past 12,000 days about our area? The fact is I have learned a great deal and the lessons are very different than what I would have imagined.
Like most, I discovered this area while vacationing in nearby Yosemite and Bass Lake. I decided to move here because of the beauty of the area and the clean air. So I dusted the city of Los Angeles off my shoes and moved here to enjoy the natural beauty.
Like the rest of you I quickly learned that we move here for the beauty but we stay here because of the people. I love the waves and the smiles and the greetings we share but the sense of community is what we all enjoy living in a small rural setting.
This weekend the community will find itself drawn to our privately supported park to enjoy the annual Fall Festival. The event has morphed over the years. At one time there was the Fall Festival, then the Chocolate Festival. Then Art and Wine Festival, the Fall Art and Wine Festival, the Art and Wine Chocolate Festival and now the Fall Festival again. Whew - it makes you crazy trying to keep up with the event name. The event has changed but the idea hasn't. Bring people to the park provide food, beverages, and lots of chocolate, fun things to do with the kids along with items to purchase from vendors.
One group that has been at the forefront of promoting this festival is known by a crazy nameThe Wild Wonderful Women. These ladies with the odd name are simply wonderful at getting things done.
Years ago they supported the early parades by providing what was billed as "The World's Largest Kazoo Marching Band." The message was clear that they were there to have fun but they got things done as well.
Over the years they have donated tens of thousands of dollars to scholar ships and to local charities. They sold raffle tickets for the most expensive item ever raffled in this areaa Bass Lake home. They decided to take on the mission of opening a Vintage Clothing Museum in our area and have kept it running for years.
Sadly, while the museum has had to close because of the economy the ladies of the Wild Wonderfuls need not hang their heads with sadness. During the time the museum was opened countless tourists and locals got a glimpse into what history really is. It is the "living past of the dead, not the dead past of the living." Every single item in that museum told us about the original owners of those clothes. Men went off to save this nation and our liberty wearing those clothes. Couples stood and faced each other while getting married in those clothes. Women went to dances in gowns while men wore their finest suits and hats and children were dressed for family dinners and gatherings in those items displayed. Clothes make the man is an oft repeated phrase but the clothes tell the stories as well. The Wild Women brought us those stories.
The Wild Women also brought us Abe Lincoln. When large cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago were vying for the right to host the traveling Lincoln exhibit a few years ago our intrepid ladies applied for a stop here in Oakhurst, It was one of only four cities selected for the West Coast and those Wild Women got it here. As a result the Golden Chain Theater staged Roger Cluxton's brilliant drama about Lincoln's assassination that was very gripping and the Wild Women secured funding from Sierra Tel to sponsor students from this area and Mariposa to come to the museum at the theater to "meet Mr. Lincoln." I know my middle school students came away with a greater appreciation for the 16th president.
So; this Saturday as you look for something to do that is certainly fun for the whole family; join the rest of your neighbors at the Festival in the park and be sure to swing by the tented area where the Wild Wonderful's are auctioning in silence many items which will allow them to do more wild things for us and our area. They are giving up for auction this year an original Jane Gyer piece of art. As most locals remember the Gyer's were a wonderful part of this area and Janie and Jack donated this piece a while back. The women are ready to part with it and as wild and crazy as it sounds they are ready to sell that treasure so that they may do more charity.
Come to think of itthat isn't so wild and crazy. It's wonderful.