Washington column for April 16

Dr. Jeffries’ tradition lives on

Dr. Mervyn Jeffries of Washington passed away at age 85 in December, but his spring tradition continues. For his family and friends, the third week of April had become Jeffries holiday — as it’s when the Fodderstack 10K race took place.

Dr. Jeffries would run the hilly hard course from Flint Hill to Washington annually for 20 years. He began running the Fodderstack Race in 1993 and finished in the top three for his age group from 1993 to 2013. At age 75, he declared that year would be his last Fodderstack race, and he didn’t want to push his luck. His three children and most of the grandkids came out to honor this milestone and ran it with him. He got his usual first-place and they all wore matching T-shirts (“We can’t catch papa,” they said). His daughter Janna’s husband Neil says as hard as he tried, this was always true — his race times were never better than Dr. Jeffries.

In 2014, at the age 84, he did not finish among the top three, but still his family thought it was quite an achievement to run the 10K at that age.

On the mantelpiece above the fireplace at his farm, there are 20 mugs; he was such a strong, determined runner that until last April, he never failed to earn a mug by being one of the top three in his age group (and over half of the mugs are first-place prizes).

Dr. Jeffries and his wife of 54 years, Marcia, have planted over 26,000 daffodils since 2001 on the farm, and these beautiful flowers bloom and family and friends would gather on their beautiful property to celebrate the beauty of the spring season.

The Fodderstack 10K race starts at 9 on Saturday, April 25 (see the story on the front page). For this year’s race, and future races, Dr. Jeffries’ spirit will be among the runners. He will never be forgotten on the special day of the Fodderstack race.

Rest in peace, Dr. Mervyn Jeffries.

Grandma’s Attic

Whether you’re in town to run or watch the Fodderstack 10K, be sure to stop by the Washington Baptist Church (starting at 8 a.m.) and check out the Grandma’s Attic items for sale, another Fodderstack Saturday tradition.

RAAC’s film festival

The town of Washington was buzzing this past weekend with RAAC’s first-ever Film Festival at Little Washington. The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community’s festival of films were featured Friday night through Sunday afternoon at the Theatre at Washington, and several downtown merchants reported that parking spaces were at a premium along Gay Street and the rest of downtown.

Rappahannock County is the home to both professional and emerging filmmakers, and the film festival featured works that showcase their talent.

Washington Masonic Cemetery

The Freemasons of Washington Masonic Lodge #78, which meets at Washington Baptist Church, recently approved having the lodge trustees form a separate organization to manage, oversee and maintain the Washington Masonic Cemetery at the eastern edge of the town.

The Washington Masonic Cemetery LLC has been established, under the aegis of five trustees (George Glavis, Manager; Russell Racer, Arthur Candenquist, Greg Patton and Charles “Bud” Corder). The latter two trustees of the cemetery are residents of Rappahannock County who have expressed personal interest in managing and maintaining the cemetery for future generations.

The trustees are working to definitively determine who owns the individual gravesites within the cemetery plots, and which plots are currently vacant and thus available for sale to anyone interested in having their remains interred there. Anyone wishing to make a donation towards the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery may send a check (made out to Washington Masonic Cemetery LLC) to Washington Masonic Cemetery LLC, Box 505, Washington, VA 22747. (It has already been determined that there are some vacant gravesites and plots available, so anyone interested in purchasing gravesites should drop a note to the same address.)

Regularly scheduled maintenance will be scheduled for the cemetery, to be covered by donations received for upkeep from lot owners and from lot sales.

Food safety training

Virginia Cooperative Extension offers a Food Safety Training ServSafe Food Handler Course from 9 to 3 this coming Monday (April 20) at the Rappahannock Extension office (311-J Gay St., Washington). The course covers personal hygiene, controlling time and temperature, preventing cross contamination and cleaning and sanitizing; it was developed by the National Restaurant Association for employees of food-service operations, including hotels, restaurants, schools and institutions. Registration deadline is tomorrow (Friday, April 17); cost is $12. For more information, call 540-727-3435.