Fun Days in Smith Valley

Ron Walker

Ron Walker


Every year on the first weekend in October, a big commotion is held at the park/pavilion/baseball diamond here in Smith Valley. It’s called Fun Days. On Saturday, tractor pulls and ranching skills are featured. On Sunday, all stops are pulled out and a Vintage Car Show, barbecue, and craft fair takes center stage. It is also an opportunity for political candidates to strut their stuff. Smith Valley is only 15 or so miles long and perhaps half that as wide so you’d think we’d be getting under each other’s feet, but not so. That’s why today everyone is in the mood to socialize.

Miraculously I find a parking spot in the official parking lot. Outside the park, Highway 208 is lined solid with cars. It’s the middle of the morning and already there is a frenzy of activity going on. Down the slope to the baseball diamond, vintage cars are lined according to their heritage and category; their owner sitting proudly in front of them. I can only faintly recall my first ever date but, I can rhapsodize in detail about my cream colored ’41 Ford convertible. That summer I recall riding along the floor of Yosemite Valley with the top down. It was thrilling. At that moment, I was in love with life.

Moving up the slope to the booths and food purveyors, charges my battery even more than the cars. It is organized pandemonium. Familiar faces appear and fade away. “You lost, Ron,” friend Robin Titus asks, and I blurt out, “where’s the Library booth,” and without missing a beat she points to it. Finding DVD’s the library is willing to part with is one of the reasons I came to Fun Days. I walk over scan the cart of DVDs and come up empty, but I do meet Wynne Prindle, the Silver Springs Librarian. I am always eager to catch up on the happenings of Rebecca, their daughter. Rebecca home schooled in France and Denmark in high school (learned the language in both places), attended university in Berlin and is now enrolled in an elite Foreign Service Academy in Monterey, California. One day she will make her mark in the Foreign Service.

Time to sleuth out my neighbor Jean’s reworked-furniture display. I find it near the aromatic Mexican food tent. The sun is bearing down and am offered a bottle of water and sit down. I notice a petite, six-drawer bureau, colored a seductive blue-grey. A swath of hand painted flowers is painted on the front. It has a $61 tag on it. A passerby, whispers, “Too Cheap.” I agree, but hold my tongue. Next day I hear Jean sold every item she brought to Fun Days. Hurrah!

Rounding out my Fun Days excursion, as I am about to leave, an attractive brunette recognizes me and tells me how much her daughter enjoyed the “Kiddersize” program Orllyene and I held in Mrs. Savage’s and Mrs. Thompson’s classes. The kids would push back their desks and chairs, we’d face each other, shout IT’S SHOWTIME and the fun would begin. What great memories to recall, and how memorable this Fun Days is going to be.

Ron Walker can be reached at


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