Back In The Day

Last night, Kent and I went to friend and neighbor Josh Greene’s house for a casual dinner. Also there was friend and neighbor Ed Neumuth, a retired vet.  Back in 1974, he had bought our house from Geneveve Hutchinson’s daughter after Geneveve passed away. At that time, Washington was a place where a new generation of back-to-the landers  were trying to make a go of it. “Tell a story about the old house”, I said to Ed after we had eaten and were enjoying some great wine. Ed’s a great story teller, so maybe you had to be there but here’s the story. In 1975, Ed and his gal Ellie decided to get married. It was a big affair. Ed didn’t have any nice clothes, so friends gave him a pair of dress pants, boots, and Ellie gave him a frilly shirt to wear. He picked a tub of wild flowers for decoration. They bought a half a pig and built a big fire in the back yard for roasting.  They got married in the old town hall right across the street and had planned an outdoor reception in the yard. It was pouring rain though, so a plan B was in order. They put the pig on a makeshift plywood table on the porch. The house was in rough shape, and there were no floor boards in the middle of the living room; Ed had taken them out so nobody would unknowingly step on a crumbling board and fall into the basement. Arlo Guthrie, one of the guests, suggested they create bleachers out of cinder blocks and boards around the perimeter of the living room so people could fit there. “How many people were there?” I asked. “I don’t know, I was wasted. Maybe a hundred came and went throughout the day,” Ed said. “There was great music, good food, and a haze of smoke throughout the house. My mother pulled me aside and said she was worried; something seemed to be burning. I told her it was just the candles. Some people crashed at the house through the night. Now that was a great party.”

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