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Glen Ellen Telegram: 09/01/2020

The year that didn't let us catch our breath…

The week of Aug. 16 certainly started off with a bang and a flash. Incredible dry lightning, with most folks saying it was the most consistent and longest duration they had ever seen. What a natural alarm clock for the kids of the valley to get up and get to school, on-line, as uncertainty set in not just about their new virtual classrooms but whether the power would stay on. And then the fire reports started rolling in. I can tell you that as an instructor there is nothing quite so heart-wrenching as receiving emails from students just before the first lecture class “letting me know” that they might not get on-line in time because they were in the process of evacuating. Can you imagine they take the time to reach out and let us know? Commence crying.

2020 has felt a lot like that. Well, at the least the last six months have felt that way. And now fire/smoke/power outage season has pushed her way in (early? a new normal?) and we are simply left asking the question, “What's next?” Umm… a divisive political season, perhaps?

For myself, and many of my friends, it feels like we are on a cycle of overwhelm, breakdown, get it together, activate, sustain for a bit, and then back to overwhelm. Even the strongest-willed and seemingly stable among us are feeling it. Be kind. Be generous. There is a lot going on and this season of the year for our town is rough and we must be alert and ready. And most especially, we must be there for each other.

Yes, at some point the power will go out.

Plan for it and plan on it. Folks that have lived here more than a few decades remember back to a time when the power system was far more “fragile” than it seems to be today. The power would just go out, no warning. Big storm? Get the candles ready. In this era of “planned” outages it is interesting to watch social media panic ensue when the power goes out with no warning. So warning or not, just be ready.

The Glen Ellen Forum dedicated the bulk of its August meeting to the topic of Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). The information and presentation was curated by Poppy Darby, for which she received great appreciation. These monthly meetings have continued to have wonderful speakers and conversation with many attending in the virtual format. The Glen Ellen Forum's next monthly meeting will be held via ZOOM on Monday, Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m. Note that the typical first Monday of the month meeting time is being adjusted due to the Labor Day holiday. The link to the meeting will be up at and will be promoted on the Facebook page. To stay up to date with the happenings, request to join the email list at

The buzz from around the bend

If you wonder about this place we call home and you've never visited the website for the Glen Ellen Historical Society, what are you waiting for? And while you are at it, follow their Facebook page. This lovely town nonprofit continues to bring history to life with fantastic stories and old photos and stories to go with the photos. Now they are also reviving/launching the Glen Ellen Oral History Project and at least one local has been seen actively promoting for people to be involved - BJ Blanchard! Check out and then choose contact to reach out if you'd like to be involved in collecting oral histories or you know someone with a story to tell.

Have you noticed the spruced-up bulletin board at the Glen Ellen Village Market? The Projects Team of the Glen Ellen Forum is at it again. They encourage everyone to make careful use of this important community space.

Reminder that the Glen Ellen Village Fair quilt will still be raffled off even though the event has been canceled. Tickets can be purchased by mail. Checks should be made out to Glen Ellen Fair Association and sent to P.O. Box 96, Glen Ellen, CA 95442. Raffle Ticket prices are three for $5, seven for $10, and 15 for $20. Specify your name and contact phone number so that the tickets can be filled out appropriately. Raffle donations go back into the community. Please email for information.

Past experiences ringing into the present…

A former Glen Ellenite Gary Richmond recently shared this on social media, it spoke to me, and he graciously allowed us to reprint here.

Tales from the Glen

Carry me down to Pennigas

Carry me down to Pennigas Brother
And drop my ashes in
My life has taken a turn for the worse
I will never be back here again

I spent decades in this beautiful water
As it witnessed my changes of life
From a little boy to a green recruit
Where they cut off access to my wife

We only did what we were told to do
Never seeing the truth left behind
Denial is a sunshade for the damaged soul
To keep you from losing your mind

With a job to do in the hell of Laos
One hundred degrees in the humid shade
We trudged through jungles
And shot any movement
As our warriors wages were paid

May 17th, 1968
Is a day I will never forget
The VC ambushed us with heavy fire
Ten Brothers fell
and I took a near fatal hit

Medivac on the slow road to healing
The scream of the battle behind
The indelible scars of their faces
Live on to haunt my trembling mind

14 hours in the air to Hawaii
7 months in a hospital bed
Proud of the scars and the shrapnel
Living proof that I was not dead

In a wheelchair to California
Excited to be back in the States
Grateful my battle was over
Or so I thought 'till a rock hit my face

The crowds were screaming
You're all Murderers and killers
and not Americans
They spat on us through the chain link fence
Unaware what we did was for them

I left the Plain of Jars in Laos
7000 miles away in the night
Thinking that my tour was over
Faced with new battles to fight

I struggled through years as an addict
To the memories that won't let me sleep
Facing my on-going demons
With the guilt of the blood that I keep

So carry me down to Pennigas
And throw my tired essence in
It's finally time to end the war
And be back in Glen Ellen again.

Gary Richmond © 2020<

Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email, or call 996-3352.

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