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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monte Rio Musings - October 2011

Letter to my friend…Philip Hampton

Dear Philip,
When I first met you I was very green to the ways of West Sonoma County.  You were kind enough to take me under your wing and show me where to step, or rather, what not to step on and where to tread especially lightly.  You gave me my first job here at a time when I had an uncertain direction.  That job was with the Monte Rio Chamber of Commerce which, as it turns out, was the perfect introduction to the community.  I met a lot of people and learned a lot of history and through it all there you were, offering information, assistance and most of all a good laugh and big glass of wine on particularly harrowing days (we shared a few of those, didn’t we?)

The Village Inn became my auxiliary living room pretty quickly.  It is to this day my home away from home and both Cath and I feel fortunate to have such close connections there, and it all started when we met and you showed interest in me.  From the beginning, I knew not only that we would be friends, but that somehow my life would be tied to the Village Inn and you and Mark – and it is.  Both Cath and I adopted you as our brothers. 

Because you and I work different shifts, I hadn’t seen you much these past few months.  When I did it was often in passing; me on the way out from a long morning of baking and you starting your day with one of the thousand myriad tasks that as an Innkeeper you were charged with doing every day. 

Beyond the Village Inn, you invited me to join you on committees, planning events and organizing community activities.  I’m confident that had anyone else had asked as often  I would often say “no” to the request, but I found you nearly irresistible.  As the line goes, “you had me at hello”.  And you never let me down, never abandoned me or raised your voice in dismay or disappointment.  Ever the gentleman, you quieted discord with your calmness and managed to keep things going for all the voluntary organizations you worked your magic with.  They were lucky to have you.  And I have been lucky to call you friend. 

MR Chamber of Commerce

October 22nd is the second annual High Rollin’ on the River Casino Night (one of Philip Hampton’s many fabulous ideas developed during his eights years as the Chamber president).  Tickets are available at the Village Inn and Restaurant – ask for Cath – 865-2304.  This event was such a blast last year; you don’t want to miss it!  Tickets are $100 per person and you’ll receive fabulous food, casino chips, drink and a chance to win an especially exciting grand prize!
MR Harvest Fair Winners!
Amanda Jacobs, sous chef at the Village Inn & Restaurant took silver awards for her “Not Your Mama’s Bread Pudding” and “Maple Bourbon Cheesecake” – GO AMANDA!  Both desserts are served regularly at the restaurant.

Dawn Bell, of Casa LaBelle Breads Artisan Bakery took a total of twelve awards: A double gold for Orange Cranberry Scones, Gold for Three-Seeded French Baguette and Gold for their new creation, Stuffed Fougasse.   Casa Labelle bakes at the Village Inn and Restaurant.  (We couldn’t have done any of this without the early support of Mark and Philip.)

Thanks, Philip.  It has been one of the pleasures of life to know you, work with you, laugh with you and love you.  Cheers.