Sung to the tune of Davy Crockett, folks!
On Christmas Eve my husband, son and I made the 1 1/2 hour drive up north to the quiet logging town of Sedro-Woolley. My family has roots in Sedro-Woolley that go back to the late 1800's, just about back to when there were two towns, one named Sedro(Cedro, Spanish for cedar) and one named Woolley. It's located off of historic Highway 20 just north of Mount Vernon, and 30 minutes south of Bellingham, in the beautiful Skagit Valley.
Sedro-Woolley is famous for (at least) 3 things: Loggerrodeo, the 4th of July logging festival; the carved wooden statues that adorn virtually every storefront in downtown Sedro-Woolley; and the giant Christmas tree. Every year around Christmas we make the trek to Sedro-Woolley to visit my old stomping grounds, pay our respects at Union Cemetery, and to see the giant Christmas tree in the center of the town.
Back in 2005, Sedro-Woolley's merchants, residents and city invested in building a great new Town Square. As we drove into town on Monday, Christmas music was playing loudly throughout the town, and it was such a welcoming thing for us, most likely the only tourists to visit downtown Sedro-Woolley on Christmas eve.
But no one was actually in Town Square; at that moment, most people were in the Oliver Hammer clothing store buying some last minute gifts for Christmas. Stuff like raccoon tails, dungarees and long underwear.
As a child I spent many weekends and summers at my great-grandparents' home. Much of my time was spent hanging out in the kitchen with my great-grandmother, reading in the attic bedroom, picking fruits and vegetables from the garden or adjusting the rabbit ears on the TV so we could watch one of 3 channels that were available. The Lawrence Welk Show seemed to have a monopoly on all of them. It wasn't worth fighting over who got to watch what anyway, because before long the neighbor with the CB hobby would start chatting away on his radio, and when that happened no one got to watch anything but static.
Of course, trying to call 'Iron Butterfly' on the phone to ask him to cut it out with the CB was another challenge altogether. Even in the late 70's/early 80's, my great-grandparents had a party line, which meant that they shared a phone line with two other neighboring homes. Often, when we would pick up the phone to make a call, we would actually interrupt another neighbor's phone conversation; if you were quiet about it, you could actually listen in without them knowing you were even there, that is, until some loud background noise gave you away. Imagine something like that today.
I'll never forget the feeling of living in the country, and I'll always treasure the experiences I had in this wonderful town. That's why I love to take my husband and son up there so that they can experience it for themselves.
By the way, if you ever find yourself in the Sedro-Woolley Museum, look for the T-Shirt from the 20's that says, "I Outran Tusko!". It's in reference to the time when Tusko the Elephant and the circus came to Sedro-Woolley for a visit, and escaped from his cage! As the story goes, he stampeded down Main Street after a terrified crowd; my great-uncle Ernie was fortunate enough to have barely missed being trampled by Tusko, hence the T-shirt and display in the Museum.
Whenever I come into town and see the old locomotive that welcomes you into this city, I can't help but sing to myself the same tune that I used to sing many times in the car with my great-grandparents, "Sedro, Sedro-Woolley, gateway to the North Cascades!"
Happy New Year!