Last Tuesday, I slipped into the Rose Room at City Hall and found a seat in the bleachers for the Meddlers’ meeting (Chamber Forum). I planned just to listen quietly and then afterward approach a couple of the regulars I expected to see and ask if they were still thinking (or had they started thinking) about participating in AAUW’s Second Annual Trivia Bee (6 p.m. Saturday, March 23; fundraiser for scholarships for local women and girls; tickets at Ropers’ Jewelers, Uptown Signs, Sun River Clothing).
Just a quiet little mouse. I started to sit as Steve Galyardt gaveled the room to order. And then he looked over at me and said “Susan Rushton? Is that you? Did you have something to say to us?”
Blink. Um. I hadn’t planned on it. But if someone opens the door for me, I’m going to walk through it. In response to his grin and his invitation, I grinned back. “Why, yes, thank you very much,” I said, and stepped forward and spoke briefly about the Trivia Bee.
It was a very welcoming group. They’d heard me before, and they were on my side. I felt their friendship and their gentle humor. We run in the same circles and read the same newspaper and live in the same neighborhoods. We share a community. This is Auburn, after all.
Afterward, on the hunt for Vance Sauter of Golden Triangle Publications (I owed him money), I dropped in to Depoe Bay to chat with the Babblers, the much less formal but nearly as large group of coffee-drinkers. Vance wasn’t there but I saw a passel of others, including Bud and Jerry and Bruce and John and Casey and Bill.
And those are just the ones whose names I know. I felt their friendship and their gentle humor. We run in the same circles and read the same newspaper and live in the same neighborhoods. We share a community.
And of course, speaking of community reminds me of the We Love Our Library Dinner, held last Sunday. A horde of Library-lovers gathered and greeted each other and chatted and ate and meandered through the silent auction.
Auburn Journal Features Editor Paul Cambra asked me a question on Tuesday. “What’s the best word that describes Auburn?” he asked.
I don’t think I hesitated a moment. “It’s a hyphenated word,” I said.
Paul was interviewing me for his story today about me — and the book I’ve just published: “And Another Thing ... Reflections from My Small Town.” It includes 105 of my favorite columns from the past 25 years.
Yes. That’s how long the Journal has carried my column.
I‘m having a book kickoff 2-5 p.m. next Saturday, Feb. 9 in the Auburn Arts Center, 808 Lincoln Way. In addition to reading and greeting and laughing and answering questions and eating, I plan on selling some books. Consider this your invitation.
Want more evidence of Auburn’s community spirit? I’m not throwing this party by myself. I have help, which thrills me every time I think about it. Barbara Beland will play piano. My friends Sharon Watson-Hamilton, Barbara Gerletti-Weiss, Ed Weiss, Robin Rice, Shirley Richey and Joli Roberts - along with my husband Don - are bursting with food ideas, encouragement, decoration suggestions, napkins, energy and support. Well, Don and Ed aren’t really bursting with napkins, but they’ll be there to help.
All that’s exciting, but I’m even more excited about this book kickoff. I’ve worked on this book for months. It’s all I’ve thought about. If this is the first time you’ve heard about my never-ending project, congratulate me. I’ve had to refrain from talking people’s ears off. Believe me - shutting up is even harder than editing.
I hope to see you next Saturday at this event in this wonderful community. And meantime: Go Niners!
Susan Rushton’s opinion column appears every other Sunday in the Auburn Journal. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.