Every little town in the world has its fool, its jester and its village scold — and Washington, Va., is no exception. Over the past three years our quiet, lovely town has been plagued with a barrage of nasty, hateful attacks on our mayor, our business owners and our town government. You can’t pick up the paper without reading about a new gripe or grievance. It is disgusting.
My husband and I moved here in 2012. We gave considerable thought to it before deciding to purchase property here. We had owned property in Alexandria and Madison, and wanted just the right compromise. And we found that compromise in Washington. We love the town, the people, the ability to walk down the street and see people that we know; it reminds us of our childhood when neighbors were friends, when doors were unlocked and when we’d stop for a chat on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon.
Rappahannock, unlike most counties in Virginia, has the best of both worlds: the farming community, and the intellectual community, all getting along. Our tourist trade is exceptional with B&Bs and inns in abundance, fine restaurants, inviting wineries — and even our own whiskey distillery. We have been welcomed with open arms by the B&B and inn owners and have been told they would be happy to help if we needed them when we open our own B&B in the fall. What a wonderful community, just as a small town should be.
The Inn at Little Washington is Rappahannock’s largest private employer, and Patrick, the owner, is one of the nicest people in this community. His employees will tell you he is tough but fair, pays well and is passionate about our town, which is evident from the perfection in and around the Inn.
It sickens me to see him being the target of our village scold, our fool and our jester. It isn’t enough that these infantile meddlers should target Patrick but also target the mayor and the town council, and a developer who wanted to make Washington a nicer place by buying and renovating properties that were in disrepair. Rather than complain about it, why didn’t they buy the properties and fix them up?
I am not a psychiatrist, but can only guess that the reason for this insanity from these three is either jealousy, the need for constant attention or just a fading grasp of reality. Certainly they have too much time on their hands, time that might be used to help the less fortunate rather than constant sniping. The old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” comes to mind.
Just in the past three years there have been more than 200 letters, columns and email-list comments from the village scold, a frustrated actor and politician for whom nothing in this community seems to work right. You have to wonder why he lives here.
The fool, meanwhile, has been publicly reprimanded for using profanity, obscene suggestions and harassment, but is still doing it, having only traded the telephone for an email account. The worst is his past transgressions didn’t seem to affect his appointment to a major county board. And as for the jester, he doesn’t even live here.
Why on earth are we giving these two-bit troublemakers the time of day?
It is said that “misery loves company.” If we continue to give them media coverage and our ear, they will destroy Little Washington and everything it stands for. Patrick, John, Jim, council members, we are with you. Have faith and stand your ground, and know we stand with you.