UP BEAR CREEK | A Wedding in Port Townsend
by Art Goodtime
Jun 02, 2013 | 1398 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JIM ROSENTHAL … Not everyone knows this seasonal resident who owns homes in Naturita Canyon and Beckett Point, near Port Townsend in Washington state. But he has a lineage in Telluride. He was one of the first people I met when I came to live in San Miguel County in 1980. My partner (at the time) Betzi Hitz and I moved into a home Jimbo owned in Placerville. His wife ran the Columbine Grocery when it resided under the Sheridan Opera House. Jim and I worked briefly as laborers for George Greenbank building a home out in East Telluride, near the cemetery … The first mushroom festival in 1981, a reporter for the Telluride Times took one photo of the event – it was Rosenthal, sitting at a table upstairs in the original Elks Building, with psychedelically glazed eyes, holding up a local edible specimen. It’s a classic icon of an event that’s become part of the fabric of Telluride’s unique summer season … We’ve been best friends ever since. Different. He’s a devoted Christian. My church is the cathedral of the great outdoors. We both love to argue, and have refined our arguments to the point where we both concede when the other makes a salient point we can’t refute. It’s oneupmanship of a most generous kind. Serious but playful. Each recognizing excellence when we hear it … So, when Jimbo found the love of his life in Port Townsend, at an age most folks retire into private obscurities, I had to attend the wedding. It was a brutal drive – over a thousand miles in two days one way. One day in Port Townsend (in time for the amazing Farmer’s Market, where I stocked up on Finn River fruit brandies, rare Jennifer Michelle chocolates, and fresh-caught coho). And then two days driving home. But a lovely marriage of two lovely people.

PORTER TESTING … The night before the wedding Jim’s brother Gerritt brought a dozen rare porters to the Beckett Point summer home with its stunning views of Discovery Bay and gentle surf that washes up to the front steps. The Rosenthals have this tradition of blind porter tastings. I’ve joined them, over the years, having sampled 50-60 brews from all over the world. The bachelor party included some amazing beers … The overall favorite, attested by all five of us in attendance, was like a fine port wine – sweet but with a complex flavor that knocked all our socks off: the Porter Baltique from Les Trois Mousquetaires brewery in Brossard, Quebec. If you go to RateBeer on-line, this porter rates a 99 out of 100 points. It’s an outstandingly great beer that overpowered everything else we tasted. I can’t wait to find an outlet that sells this one … Let me note a couple other outstanding beers from our two blind tastings of five brews each. Deschutes Brewery had two outstanding porters: The Abyss (2008 Reserve), which garnered 100 at RateBeer, and Black Butte (23rd Birthday Reserve), which scored a 99. Unfortunately, the latter is no longer available … Finally, probably the overall least-liked beer among the 10 we tested was my favorite of the first round (my taste buds do not always mesh with my hop-loving buddies) – a Calistoga Porter from the Napa Valley. RateBeer only gives it a 55. Maybe I as influenced the story Gerritt told of going to the Calistoga Inn to purchase this particular porter the day after the Inn burned. I love a good story as much as a good porter. They couldn’t sell him any beer because their computers had burned up, so the brewmaster just gave him a couple bottles … Given the fact that cannabis is legal in Washington as well as Colorado, our night of tasting was particularly enjoyable.

STATE GREEN CO-CHAIR … Losing my co-parent Mary has made me reassess my life, and I’ve begun to give up some of the responsibilities I’ve shouldered from the many different interests that have seduced me into involvement over the years. I’ve been the state co-chair of the Colorado Green Party and had hoped to help reorganize the group after some trying times. We have one chair on the Front Range, and one on the Western Slope … But though the emails have gone from punishingly plentiful to sparse, it still is another world at play in my life that I felt I needed to let go. Getting older, it really is time to divest and focus on what can be done locally … Besides, my view of the Green Party as a political organization of the radical middle doesn’t sit well with many Green activists. And my strategy of building the party from the bottom up doesn’t mesh with running national and state candidates who have no chance of winning. I think it’s a mistake to undercut progressives with a far left vote that helps the right candidates win, as happened in the Bush/Gore race when Nader ran … I think my record of winning locally shows that Greens can actually win at the local level. That’s where I wish the party would focus its energies and then build to state and national positions. And maybe someday that will happen … But, meanwhile, enough tilting at political windmills.


Eckert Cemetery

Salvation Army scrap bin

the old quilt torn

gone dark at the edges

where the bright bits

have passed, like those

who sleep here

with no quilt required

just beams of sunlight

that dance with dust

and reflected time like

the brief shimmer of an afternoon

left over from 1917

or whenever it was.

-Caitlin Switzer

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