Washington column for Feb. 28

Shepardson and McCutchen retire

After 26 years with the U.S. Postal Service, Nina Shepardson is retiring today (Feb. 28). Nina started her postal career in 1986 as the clerk for the Washington Post Office. While that has been her home office for her entire 26-year career, she did take temporary detail assignments as the officer-in-charge (OIC) at Rixeyville, Markham and twice at Sperryville.

Postal workers Betty McCutchen (left) and Nina Shepardson are retiring today (Feb. 28) after a combined 43 years of service. Photo by Jan Clatterbuck.
Postal workers Betty McCutchen (left) and Nina Shepardson are retiring today (Feb. 28) after a combined 43 years of service. Photo by Jan Clatterbuck.

She has worked under four different postmasters in Washington: Carol Miller, Linda Butler, Yvonne Jarrell and Tina Brooks, as well as OICs Belinda McLawhorn and Johnna Taylor.

When her father retired from the Air Force in 1971, Nina – just 11 years old then – moved to Sperryville with her family. “After having moved every few years, it was nice to finally put down roots,” she said.

“My son, Chris Beck, of whom I am very proud, just received his Master of Science degree in applied information technology from George Mason University. He lives and works in Arlington,” Nina added.

As for the future, Nina says she is looking forward to spending a lot more time tending her vegetable garden, hiking and exploring her artistic side. Nina lives in Flint Hill with her husband Mark, four dogs, a cat and a flock of chickens.

Stop in and say goodbye to Nina today. Her smile will be sorely missed at the post office, but those good memories will always stay with us.

Betty McCutchen, postmaster relief from Castleton, is also retiring today. Nina said that Betty was the “unsung hero” of the post office. When someone could not make it in for work, Betty would always be there. She also worked on Saturdays.

Betty started working in the postal service 17 years ago in 1995. She said she plans to spend more time traveling and relaxing and is looking forward to having no agenda to govern her time. Betty also plans to spend more time with her husband, family and friends.

“Nina and Yvonne said I couldn’t retire until after they did,” she said with a smile.

Good luck, Nina and Betty! 

Pack your bag for $5

Once again, the Thrift Shop is bursting at the seams with fantastic winter clothes for men, women and children of all sizes. Come in and tour the shop with a large bag, which can be filled with your choice of clothing, shoes and accessories for only $5. The bag sale runs through March 9. For those who haven’t yet visited the Thrift Shop, the store is located right beside the fire department off Warren Avenue in the town of Washington. The shop is open 10 to 5 Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9 to 3 on Saturdays.

Kite time

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . . a kite!

March is traditionally the month for kite-flying and tomorrow is March 1. Let’s get ready to fly them high.

A wind between five and 25 mph is best for most kites (when leaves and bushes start to move, but before it really starts to blow). At those speeds, flying a kite is at its most fun, allowing you to make your kite dance across the sky by pulling in or letting out the line.

Make sure you are in an area that is open and free of trees, buildings and traffic. Stand with your back to the wind and hold the kite with one hand and the reel of string with the other.

Let the wind lift the kite and, as it does, feed out the line to the height you want it. Make sure you walk in the direction of the wind as you feed out the line. If the kite won’t climb, you can reduce the bridle angle. To land the kite, walk toward it, winding the line on the reel as you walk.

I am looking forward flying my kite this year. Let’s hope we will have the right amount of wind in March. Kite flying is great fun and it’s easy, so grab yours and join in the fun with me. The sky is big enough for everyone.

Spring cleaning

It’s almost time to start spring cleaning, and that means the Book Barn, located beside the Rappahannock County Public Library off U.S. 211 just east of town, is looking for books in good condition. At this time of year, they are particularly in need of non-fiction books of all kinds (except textbooks), such as history, biography, travel and science books. Their recent sale of cookbooks was a great success, and the children’s books are a great hit with all ages, especially grandmothers.

So if you (or anyone you know) has some books looking for a new home, feel free to stop by and donate them. Be sure to take a stroll through the store while you’re there and you just might find some books to purchase for yourself to read. Donations can be made to the library or to the Book Barn directly during its weekly hours from 9 to 3 Saturdays. For more information, call 540-675-1125.

Oyster/ham dinner

Washington Volunteer Fire and Rescue is having an all-you-can-eat ham and oyster dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. on March 16 at the station. The menu includes fried and raw oysters, oyster stew, country ham, baked ham, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, green beans, corn, dried apples, rolls and an assortment of desserts and beverages, all prepared by your local volunteer fire and rescue personnel. Tickets are $25 ($10 for kids 4-10, ages 3 and younger are free). All proceeds are used to fund daily WVFR operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615.

Have a wonderful week!