Christopher Creek visitors come in a variety of packages. Some are first-timers; some are old-timers. We enjoy ’em all!
We got a big hug from Olive last Friday. She came up from Payson with her son Danny Armstrong, her grandson Joe and his wife Carolina, with Jeannie Moore tagging along.
First, Olive Matus operated the Creekside Tavern and Restaurant here in the Creek for nearly 40 years. In the early years, she worked as a waitress in Payson to get her restaurant started. For those who know her, you know that for many, many years Creekside was always open and she would be there morning and night. It was her work ethic and good, homemade food back then that made Creekside an icon when it comes to mountain country eateries.
In 2008 she retired and is living in Payson and that’s an understatement! She’s making up for all the long days stuck in the kitchen over the years. Now she’s on the go and you may see her at bingo, over at the Riverside, out with the Wildflowers for lunch, as the grand marshal at the Fourth of July parade or hanging from an apparatus around her ankles for a photo-op with a fish painted on the wall at the Giggling Marlin down on the tip of Baja!
Or you may see her in Christopher Creek on a visit. With her little dog in tow, she was sitting along the edge of the patio on the creek on a delightful Friday morning last week. She introduced grandson Joe’s wife and we learned there is a great grand baby coming around Sept. 15. Of course, they had already stopped to see the improvements at Creekside and have a refreshment. Now she was inquiring as to whether George was still cooking that morning at the Landmark. George was one of those among her huge throng of “kids” that had worked for her over the years.
Grandson Joe was one of the kids. Back in the mid-’90s he was a busboy at Creekside; now he is an officer for the LAPD. It makes one think about the many others of Olive’s kids who went on to distinguished careers.
Later that evening, we were having an impromptu tailgate session out front of the house. There were a half-dozen of us discussing events of the week when a big, black Ford pickup pulled up. Some of those in attendance were curious about the fella who emerged in what they assumed was all the trappings of officialdom. At least one thought he was here to put the cuffs on me and haul me away. Perhaps it was his serious demeanor or the way he carried himself reflecting the years as deputy sheriff, as justice of the peace, or as mayor of Star Valley. But the Honorable Ronnie McDaniel was here for a different reason … dinner.
After spending time answering questions and deflecting criticism about photo radar in Star Valley, we were able to get away to meet up at the Landmark. We did a bit of catching up over dinner and he told a story or two of long-ago political victory parties lasting several days even if the candidate lost! Soon we adjourned to the patio where he spent time answering questions and deflecting criticism about photo radar in Star Valley. “Mayoring” down there must be a tough job!
In town for the weekend were Doug and Michelle who are currently located in Barstow, Calif. Doug was an equipment operator on Highway 260 back in the ’90s. He swooped in and stole Michelle’s heart and away they went. We’re having a hard time forgiving him. We caught up with them at Pete and Laura’s cabin down on Ashby-Apple Lane. Joined by Eric and Nancy, they all were out and about Saturday evening getting together with the local townsfolk.
It’s always great to see all those folks come back to visit the Creek, but also fun to meet folks new to the area. One of those we met that evening was a cute little gal by the name of Heidi Dickinson. Heidi is in charge of dining room operations down at Camp Tontozona or as she put it, “I’m the cook!” She was up on her Tontozona history, reminding us that the facility opened up on Meadow Two along Tonto Creek back in 1967. You could feel her excitement as she spoke of the programs for kids partially funded by cabin rentals. We may have to stop by the kitchen back door one day.
Sunday morning, my brother Brian and nephew, Kevin, stopped through briefly on their way to South Dakota, where Kevin is going to undergo training and school to become an engineer on the BNSF railroad. This is a pretty big move for him and we wish him well in his new career.
Next weekend remember the Easter egg hunt down on Milburn’s Meadow and the Firebelles’ breakfast at the firehouse. Posters are posted all over town with all the particulars. And, finally, we are going to the Valley to spend Easter weekend with Mother, so, as promised next week Don Farmer’s fish story will take up the bulk of this space. Thanks, Don … and that’s another week in the Creek!