Washington column for Feb. 9

Second in Sectionals

WINNERS: From left, tennis team members Karen Adams, Widna Benetiz, Wanda Barrett, M.J. Wooldridge and Frances Bouffard (of Washington) pose in Virginia Beach.Courtesy photo
WINNERS: From left, tennis team members Karen Adams, Widna Benetiz, Wanda Barrett, M.J. Wooldridge and Frances Bouffard (of Washington) pose in Virginia Beach.

What a great weekend for Frances Bouffard, 54, of Washington, who captained an underdog tennis team for the Chestnut Forks Athletic Club in Warrenton! The team beat the odds in the Mid-Atlantic Tri-Level Sectionals in Virginia Beach Jan. 20-22. Usually competing with 16 members rated 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0 by the National Tennis Ratings Program, the team barely met the six-player minimum to compete, with seven available players. Having only placed second in the Shenandoah League Division for the year, they were surprised and excited by a last-minute invitation to compete against teams twice their size – and ended up in the finals. They placed second in the Sectionals, losing to the first place team of the Shenandoah League Division.

Frances said that her husband, Brian, introduced her to tennis more than a decade ago. In 2009, she said, she began playing regularly because “tennis makes me feel good and it is an activity that Brian and I can do together.” She never imagined it would land her as a part of team whose picture will be in the United States Tennis Association’s magazine.

Frances, a flight attendant, also owns the home-based Hand Painted Gift Shop, where she paints custom glassware, specializing in champagne flutes and wine glasses decorated with Swarovski crystals and pearls. Inspired to learn to paint so that she could create wine glass favors for her sister-in-law’s wedding, she took painting lessons from Janet Porter in Linden four years ago. Her creations have since been seen at the 2010 Oscars and the 2011 Kentucky Derby, as well as being featured in Austin Lifestyle magazine, The Knot magazine and the Wedding Channel’s website. Prior to Hand Painted Gift Shop, she sold custom-made soaps as Soap Be It at Washington’s now-closed Rare Finds. Her hand painted pieces of glassware can be seen online at handpaintedgiftshop.com.

Way to go Frances!

Go GP Racing Team!

Congratulations are in order for young driver Gavin Jenkins, who finished the 2011 racing season second in the overall points in the Shenandoah Valley Scale Racing league. Thirteen-year-old Gavin has completed his sixth successful year in motor sport racing, and in 2012 the one-time go-cart champ will be driving in the Legend car racing series. Legend cars are larger, much faster and have more national exposure as a racing series.

Gavin is the son of Holly and Mark Jenkins and brother of Kaitlyn and Lilyan, from Flint Hill. “Gavin and his grandfather [and crew chief], David Gangel, have completed several successful seasons racing the No. 52 mini cup car,” said Holly Jenkins by phone this week. “We are very excited about the upcoming season. In addition, we are proud of him for his excellent sportsmanship and hard work as he pursues his goal to one day race in NASCAR.”

To help support to his dream, Gavin is seeking additional sponsors. If you’re interested, call his crew chief at 540-987-8890.

Keep up the good work, Gavin!

Lawler’s studio closed

Linda Lawler’s Portrait Studio and Ice House Gallery on Main Street in Washington has closed. Unable as yet to find another suitable location in town, she said, Lawler is now working and accepting commissions at her studio in Marshall, and can be reached at 540-364-4043 or sha45rps@starpower.net.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner

Soon it will be Feb. 14 – the time of year for a little romance in the air. Who can quarrel with that? We all like to be loved, and Valentine’s Day is, after all, about love – and a great opportunity to show it, and be shown it, in a symbolic way.

The romantic inside us finds new energy in the midst of winter’s doldrums. Poets take pen to paper (or keyboard to email, nowadays), and sweet words flow in streams of eloquence. Like spring tulips blooming above a blanket of late snow, the colors of St. Valentine’s Day are red and white.

R. H. Ballard shop and gallery has some nice last-minute gifts for your sweetie as part of their Valentine’s Week Sale, which runs through Feb. 14, with 10 to 40 percent off many items. Joanie Ballard also created a big pink heart painting for the shop’s front window display.

While you’re on Main Street, check out the Geneva Welch Gallery for other gift ideas, Goodine’s Designs for gold and silver and The Inn at Little Washington Gift Shop.

There is also still time to plan a special getaway. Remember, no matter what you choose to do (a simple gift or card, or something more elaborate), it’s the thought that counts.

Just remember to celebrate love the other 364 days, too! After all, love is the greatest gift.

Birthday wishes

Happy belated birthday to Frank Moffett, who celebrated his day on Wednesday (Feb. 8). Birthday wishes also go out to Tamara Estes, who will celebrate her special day on Saturday (Feb. 11) and to the Rev. Phil Bailey, who celebrates on Monday (Feb. 13).

Burn law: Feb. 15 

Let’s not forget that Virginia’s annual daytime burning ban goes into effect Feb. 15. The law states that from Feb. 15 through April 30 of each year, no burning is permitted before 4 p.m. For more information, contact the Virginia Department of Forestry at 804-977-6555.

Calling all readers

If you buy one hardcover novel Feb. 11, you’ll get another one free – and you’ll help the Book Barn empty its shelves to make room for new donations (and fill out your collections of Janet Evanovich, Danielle Steele or Robert Parker). The Book Barn is open 9 to 3 every Saturday, and there are lots of books to interest you and your family – from children’s books to sports and hobby books. All books are donated; and all proceeds go to the Rappahannock County Library next door.