Sunday, July 4, 2010

Darrington; North Cascades Gateway to Gold

Darrington, WA; From incredible scenery, to unique culture, Darrington is a unique community. Growing from their "Tar Heel" heritage, one of the best parts of the town of Darrington are the many Grandparents that live near their grand chidren. They may even be the "golden" ingredient of Darrington. After any typical school day, it's just as common to see Grandparents pick up the kids, as parents. Very few children are without extended Darrington and Sauk-Suiattle Tribe and family members to come and take them home.

Since my own grandparents had all passed on by the time I was 20, I wasn't blessed with many years to learn from mine. Oddly enough, the Mayers, Blacks, Hamblins, Greens, Shanahans, Brooks, and several other families of Darrington are all in my close-in family ancestry, too. What are the odds? My own little Shannon, with her pale curly red hair, and clear fair skin, looked so much like Mrs. Shanahan's family, she stopped us in front of her garden gate one morning to remark upon it. That day, I didn't know the lady's last name. A few weeks later, we were able to share amazement over my original grandmother's maiden name of "Shanahan", from Minnesota, and how this was where my daughter was given her Christian name. Shared roots, somewhere! Two faces; one eight, and one in her eighties, smiled at each other - like mirrors. Same nose. Same proportions. Same Irish eyes. They just knew.

Darrington's active Grandparents volunteer at the churches, put on monthly lunches that are the envy of the entire west coast, and after they come to school and pick up their grandkids, give hours to the library, help plan local events, and create endless canned goods and perfection challenging quilts. Darrington grandparents take the time to listen, and spend time with their extended family. Grandparents teaching their children how to tie flies, pick beans, and piece quilts. Grandparents gathering blueberries, and making jams and jellies with their kids and grandkids. Cousins are around every corner, and so's the good food. Parents work hard at the mill, or the schools, or local businesses. Most families  are working near the valley, in the hills, or down below. The families stay close as long as they can; from choice.

If you ever have an opportunity to live in the shadow of White Horse Mountain, do it. There is a"golden tradition" living on in the town of Darrington. Family, ancestry, and a true, "do unto others" attitude, will touch your life forever. It'll be just as easy as catching wild steel head in the Stillaquamish River, but last in your belly lot longer.

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