Sperryville: Rescue and fire squads’ outstanding response

“Love cures people — both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”

Dr. Karl Menninger, author of that quote, could have looked into many corners of Sperryville and found ample evidence of the expression of love in its most authentic form this last week.

George Swett takes a break at the Sperryville Volunteer Rescue Squad after being on standby 24/7 since Friday afternoon. Photo by Ray Boc.

Those of us who sat comfortably by our fires during the snowstorm were jarred into the reality of others’ discomfort when the siren wailed its plaintive call through the falling snow and fading light, calling into action the men and women of the Sperryville Volunteer Rescue and Fire Squads.

Some, like volunteers George Swett and Geraldine Payne, who camped at the rescue squad building all weekend and who were joined Saturday by Cat Rosemond, chose service to the community over the quiet comforts of being snowed in at home. Likewise, several volunteer firefighters stayed at the firehouse, joined by others who constantly left the comforts of home to join in fire and rescue efforts. We want to express our deep appreciation to all first responders who dedicated their time and energy to our community’s safety during this record breaking snow fall.

Valentine wishes
As the red cardinal asserts itself against the monochrome scene of white snow, our thoughts turn to red hearts of Valentine’s Day. Yes, this is a commercial holiday, but, like most rituals, it also anchors us in time and reminds us to express warm thoughts to our loved ones. In its origins, the Italian Saint Valentine had been beheaded in fifth-century Rome for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor Claudius. Before execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter. He allegedly signed his final note to her, “From Your Valentine,” a phrase that has lasted through the centuries.

If you do give gifts for Valentine’s Day, please consider shopping at any of our local businesses. The Knit Wit Shop at 36 Main Street has handmade jewelry by Beaded Creations. Designed by Sharon Ritter, her necklaces feature mother of pearl, cateye, snowflake obsidian, turquoise, picture jasper, and sodalite. Necklaces are $25 to $30 and her matching sterling silver earrings are $10. If you’re looking for a Valentine gift for someone special, please go to see Rebecca and check these out. The Glassworks Gallery represents many artists with gifts that range from jewelry to pottery and blown glass. In this time of economic stress, perhaps you want to give a basket of organic foodstuffs. These can be found at our three grocery stores: Roy’s, Rainbow Market and The Corner Store. Of course, a wine and cheese basket is easy to create in Rappahannock. Give the gift of health with a certificate for Pilates classes at Mountainside Physical Therapy or a massage from Nature’s Way Day Spa. We have many resources to express your affection to friends and family.

Old Rag Gallery news
Each year, Blue Ridge Workshops brings groups of up to 25 to Sperryville for as many as seven three-day photography workshops. Creativity, curiosity, joy and passion are evidenced as these groups of enthusiastic participants explore and photograph farms and homes in our scenic county. Now going into his third year in Sperryville, Blue Ridge Workshops founder Elliot Stern has announced that he will utilize Old Rag Gallery on Main Street for a variety of purposes and increase the time the gallery will be open. Exhibits will include the work of workshop participants and instructors. Local photographer and co-instructor Ray Boc obtains permission from Rappahannock residents to bring the class groups to their farms and homes. Classroom instruction goes on at the nearby Link, but Old Rag Gallery will be used for small, advanced classes and one-on-one instruction. The staff of eight instructors brings passion and an array of creative and technical experience to the work. There will be one three-day workshop in March, two in April, one in June and three in October with an additional one-day workshop in May.

Workshop participants bring not only their photographic enthusiasm to Sperryville but also eat most of their meals in our village restaurants for three days — exactly the kind of tourism activity that benefits our little village. There will be several wine-and-cheese events during the year to introduce you to this creative group of photographers. The Old Rag Gallery will be open for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so stop in and get reacquainted with the shop. Information about the course content and instructors is available at www.BlueRidgePhotographers.com. Sign up for a course today. They almost always sell out.