where the ladies wear no pants
All the men walk around
with their yo-yo's hanging down
This aint that place.
Why don't you get your favorite beverage and put up your feet and I'll tell you about it. Perhaps sit in your favorite chair, or if you're an outdoor lover go sit under a tree. If you have a magic garden with a bench, well, that's even better.
I live in an apartment above Fergusons market and my main form of transportation is my pride and joy, The flying flamingo. It's a vintage pink bike my friend Blaze gave me. She showed me the light. Oh, she's a beautiful human with an intriguing story. Her start in Yamhill was kind of rocky, but she's a staple now.
Yamhill is an idyllic town which sits on Lake Velvet tucked between a mountain range referred to as the Yamhills. The cobblestone sidewalks are wide and lined with old fashioned street lights. Bold colored tulips bloom in spring rivaling their Holland ancestors. There's even a special species propagated by the village gardener Stella Bennet. It's called cotton candy and boy does it dazzle, as well as make your mouth water. Those specialities are planted by the maypole in the park downtown.
Summertime doesn't lack for flowers. Stella makes sure of it. Not only does she work for the town, she owns a nursery where she supplies not only Yamhill, but is also open to the public. Yes, it's definitely a monopoly, or is it a conflict of interest? No, it's definitely not a conflict because she loves it and doesn't feel an ounce of conflict. Outsiders may question it, but well, as you'll figure out as time goes by Yamhill does things a bit different.
In the fall, pumpkins and scarecrows along with red and yellow leaves steal the show. Winter has it's own brand of beauty. Bare branches decorated with snow, icicles and twinkle lights. Cranberry wreaths hang on shop doors while windows are filled with poinsettias. Downtown is like a giant Lite Brite toy, colors of the town change with a flip of the calendar page.
How do I explain Yamhill? Well, it's not quite a big city, yet it's not a small town. It's rural chic. They have small town beliefs weaved with big city desires. Top travel magazines are hailing Yamhill as, " The best town you've never stayed in."
All kinds of people visit, some even stay. This little paradise has been known to see a movie star from time to time. Miriam Swanson won the yearly tourism board's slogan contest with her entry, "Come vacation in the Yamptons." Her brilliant idea for bringing in tourists won her a pair of airline tickets to the destination of her choice.
Every once in awhile she goes into town to buy a pretty outfit, but once in the fitting room she breaks down crying. The image she sees in the mirror isn't at all what I see. Or most folks really. Something or someone took away her mojo, her joie de vivre. In her wildest fantasies she 's dolled up in the latest fashions. Just like the town she dresses seasonally.
However, she's a risk taker. She dares to wear white after Labor Day, winter white that is. The time in the fitting room is brutal. She feels the need to sneak out before anyone notices her mood. I really don't know why this is her battle. Or why her inner bully is picking on her. Whatever it is, it's stopping her from feeling pretty, and that's all she really wants is to feel good. Don't we all? Let me tell you, she's beautiful not only on the inside, but the outside too.
In her fashion daydreams she imagines herself with a seasonal wardrobe. When it's autumn, her favorite, she fantasizes about cozy sweaters, scarves the colors of the leaves. And boots! Boots, boots, boots.
On crisp days you can find her at the pumpkin patch picking the best pumpkins for decorating. Then she gathers apples to make apple butter, pies, and cakes. After a day at the farmers market she heads home, starts a fire then prepares an amazing meal for friends. She loves making people feel cared for.
In winter, her fashion godmother turns her into a winter queen. She's wears pea coats in jewel colors with matching hats, fluffy collars and even a fur muffler. Faux fur that is. Most days you would find her window shopping downtown walking her Black and Tan afghan hound. In her mind it's the most elegant dog. She toys with the idea of a poodle, but it would have to be a standard, not one of those yippy pretentious little ones.
The dog must have style, yet be a dog. If she wasn't shopping you might find her gliding across the ice at the skating rink. Afterwards, she would stop for roasted chestnuts and sip hot chocolate while admiring the lights of the town.
Springtime is all about pastels, except pink. She says it washes her out. Everything from shoes, jewelry, and accessories are feminine like a fertility goddess. Really, in Yamhill, she would be wearing trendy galoshes, stylish raincoats and have an umbrella with a raven head handle. You know to be mysterious. Because it rains, and it rains, and yup, you guessed it, it rains.
You may find her going to work singing:
It's raining, it's pouring the old man is snoring. He bumped his head and went to bed. And he couldn't get up in the morning.
Of course her sophisticated dog would make a beeline for the biggest mud puddle to play in snapping her out of her one-woman-musical. Singing In The Rain, was next on the list as her song choice, but now she had to get Toto, yup, you guessed it she's a huge Wizard of Oz fan. She gets Toto and heads home to get washed but first takes a minute to splash in the puddle. If only there were a light post nearby she could hook her ravens head umbrella handle on it and twirl.
Then there's summer, oh sweet summer. It's where we are now. She dreams of wearing flowery sun dresses with cute hats to shade her face. Her Irish DNA makes her burn easily requiring sunblock as part of her wardrobe.
Her sandals would showcase the perfect pedicure. The big toe, you know the one that went to market, would be adorned with a rhinestone. During the hot season she would picnic with a basket full of divine treats that would make the chicest Parisian green with envy. Of course she'd get them from her best friend Sophie's bakery, The Holy Cannoli.
Miriam owns the coffee stand, the Yamhill Grind. It's hot in there during the summer even with a small air conditioning unit. Her uniform is what ever she wants. Not really, I think I've told you what she really wants, but she wears what she has and goes on about her day.
Oh, I almost forgot. She chose New York City for her prize. No surprise. What is a bewilderment is she came home a butterfly. It seems she met a wonderful saleswoman at Neiman Marcus. This lady took a fascination with Miriam. This clerk, or witch some might say zoomed in on everything Miriam had ever felt about clothes, herself, and really her soul. To this day I don't know what she did to our town barista but she returned confident and this sorceress never sold her a stitch of clothes.
Did she all of a sudden start dressing like she walked out of a magazine? Nope, but she did start wearing things that made her feel good. While we noticed her new style, it wasn't just the clothes, it was more, like the saying, "it's the clothes that make the woman." In this case it WAS the woman. Her new wardrobe brought her out. Still Miriam, but self-assured Miriam. Her metamorphisis was painful, but only until she released herself from her self imposed jail.
Good gravy, what if she had chosen Las Vegas?
Alright, back to the town. I sure do get sidetracked.
Each time of year is as busy as the next. Yamhill has everything to offer. There's fishing and swimming at Lake Velvet. The Yamhills are perfect for hiking, biking and world class bird watching. There's no shortage of parks for picnics and festivals. You can find all the summer activities that go along with a lake town.
Winter is just as exciting. More so if you 're into snow. The Yamhills are home to some of the finest runs in the country Skiiers and snow boarders shred the mountain. There's plenty of room for snowmobilers too.
Sleigh rides through open fields are popular and of course there's the skating rink center stage in town. It was copied from Rockefeller Center in New York. I wonder if it's where Miriam's fixation with New York began? Never mind that, this is all done in a picturesque setting with great neighborhood flair.
The locals love living here. One of the reasons is unique artisans are welcomed. Their shops sell one of a kind goods and the townies as well as the tourists support them. The town will keep you busy or leave you alone. It's your choice.
Yamhillian's love their festivals. They throw a hell of a party. We celebrate the change of the seasons with as much enthusiasm as EVERY one of the traditional holidays. It brings the town together uniting young and old, rich and poor. Most times they go off without a hitch, but there are moments....mmmm mmmmm mmmmm, that reveal an underbelly of the picturesque beast. Those times get swept under the rug as often as the city keeps the streets clean. A lot and on a strict schedule. It's as if Stephen King and the Hallmark channel had a baby.
Don't fret too much about that bizarre pairing. You don't have to have my over active imagination to feel like you are living in a victorian oil painting. Yamhill is clean and pristine, almost too good to be true.
And it is.
Till next time.
Lots of love,