Washington column for April 28

Aubrey Burke, 3, checks out the candy in her firefighter helmet, which she received at Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue’s egg hunt Saturday. Photo by Roger L. Foster.

Easter egg hunt a success

The threat of rain on Saturday did not deter 100 or so children intent on hunting for candy-filled eggs that were — miracle! — all over the grounds of the Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue hall.

Some were dressed pragmatically, others colorfully with cute rain boots and rain gear, and more than one girl had a very pretty dress on. But they were all smiling, especially those who had an egg with a numbered ticket in it — the key to a prize (a stuffed animal). Every child also received a toy firefighter helmet (with more candy). As it turns out the grass was wet but there was no rain — the sun even came out for a bit.

Zachary Huff, 16, left, and his brother Austin, 13, pose with the Easter Bunny at the WVFR egg hunt Saturday. Photo by Hope Huff.

The Easter Saturday egg hunt has long been a WVFR tradition, open free of charge to all children in the county. The Easter Bunny was a big draw and many people took pictures of their children with the bunny. Guess who the big bunny with the long ears was? I’ll never tell!

Earlier that morning, WVFR also served a hot buffet breakfast to 112 people — more than half of them coming between 10 and 11. Net proceeds are used for the operations of the company. A WVFR spokesperson wants to thank all those who attended. (The next breakfast is Saturday, May 21.)

A poem from the mystery Hazel River Poet. Enjoy!

Her Pond — Beyond
Mame mame quite a dame
Our Canada goose — no longer loose
After thatching — now hatching — her brood
Sitting — in a somber mood
Sitting — sitting on her nest as her boyfriend cruising around on the pond
Smoozing — oozing with pride inside impossible to hide
As she quietly sits and sits hunkered down — gazing — thru bunkered eyes
Gazing toward boyfriend on her pond — or is she looking — beyond ?
When her kids — gone from her nest —
Into a world — without rest


Sympathy goes out to the family of Ruth Atkins of Washington. Ruth was well known in our county and she will be dearly missed. She passed away on Saturday (April 23) at the age of 71. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Thornton’s Gap Regular Baptist church, Sperryville.

Frantic the cat

Frantic’s incredible journey

Last week, Kim Burgers from Harris Hollow walked into the office with an amazing story about his cat, Frantic. A story beyond your dreams. I thought my readers would enjoy the story as I did:

Frantic and I first became acquainted in July 2007 while I was working on a farm in Nelson County. He just showed up one day. He appeared healthy and well fed, but as it turns out he was just good at feeding himself. He was friendly enough to share my lunch with, but I had a hard time picking him up. I could pet him and he’d purr up a storm, but he had some trust issues.

When that job came to a close, I prepared to move back to our family’s country lodge on Harris Hollow. I donned heavy work gloves and a denim jacket, lured Frantic in with some canned cat food and snatched him up. Stuffing him into that cat transporter box without taking all the precautions I did could have been a bloody affair!

When I arrived at the lodge and set up residence, I fed him once a day but I didn’t see him for the first week. Slowly he started to show himself and even venture a few feet inside the wide-open front door. He was still a little leery of another “box trip,” I suspect.
After a few weeks he settled in comfortably to his new surroundings and became the most affectionate cat I ever had.

In September 2008, Frantic disappeared. I figured an owl or an osprey or a coyote got him. Poor Frantic. Now that he’s back after what must have been a harrowing journey with the owl that “air lifted” him to Front Royal, I am convinced it was an owl.

On Saturday, April 16, I went to view the flooded state of the Shenandoah River, and I was not near as surprised at what five inches of rain did to the river as what else I found there. Several feral cats came out to the parking lot where the old spillway used to be north of Front Royal. One slightly limping Russian Blue caught my eye. Frantic? No, it can’t be. The last time I saw my beloved Frantic was September 2008! I had almost accepted the unpleasant notion that he was gone, and just hadn’t heard those silent wings coming.

“Frantic?” the response was the familiar, instant “Meow.” “Frantic?” “Meow!” Now this cat got me thinking. He probably answers to any name a potential meal provider might would like to call him.

The girl at the checkout had to ask why I was buying salmon, steak, cheese, heavy cream and a little cat food. “That’s in case he doesn’t like the way I prepare his steak and salmon,” I said.

We went for a walk on my property to the border of Shenandoah National Park. It’s only a quarter mile out my front door. I carried him in my arms on the footbridge over the Rush River. Then he followed me like a dog would up the trail to the park. The only time I saw him break in to a sprint was when he ran back over the footbridge. See, animals can’t hear an owl coming over the sound of a full rushing river. Owls know how to be successful hunters. Frantic looked up and around before sprinting for the front door. I imagine he wasn’t looking to have another surprise airlift after he’s come full circle back to his comfortable Harris Hollow country home.

Much of what I’ve concluded is conjecture and supposition, but I do know one thing: He and I are delighted to be reunited. He barely lets me out of his sight.

Special service

Trinity’s rector Jennings W. “Jenks” Hobson III has gone on sabbatical. For the congregation of Trinity, a stellar group of multi-talented women clergy from all over the country, including one who is a frequent Rappahannock visitor and another who has a second home in Sperryville, will be leading the morning worship services on Sundays until mid-August.

Reverend Carole A. Crumley, from Washington, D.C., who presided earlier this month, will return for Sunday services May 29 through June 19. Meanwhile, author and educator Rev. Margaret Adah Beltz Guenther, also of Washington, D.C., will be preaching this Sunday (May 1).

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Rev. Guenther earned her A.B in German and English, and her M.A., and Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Kansas and Harvard University respectively. Following an early career of teaching English as a Foreign Language, the Humanities, and German Languages and Literatures, she earned her M.Div. at the General Theological Seminary in 1983 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1984.

Trinity’s Women’s Fellowship is currently reading her book “Just Passing Through: Notes from a Sojourner,” and Rev. Guenther will join the group this Saturday (April 30) to discuss the book. Of particular significance to the congregation, she is a part-time resident of Rappahannock County with a second home in Sperryville.

Trinity Episcopal Church, welcomes any and all community members and visitors to join them in their 8, 9:15 and 11 services and experience the stimulating and thought-provoking messages these women will be delivering.

Have a great week!


  1. Hey Redbud,
    Lighten up. Are you the anonymous cat police around here? Keep you own cat indoors
    and please don’t make presumptions about your country neighbors. Or, if you must be
    so condescending, put your own name on your insults….

  2. Keep your cat indoors for the safety of our native wildlife and your cat. If an owl had gotten him it would have been the end of the cat. I suspect that he just wandered off since you probably have not had him neutered.

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