Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From this Chair…

By Cloann McNall

I am sorry to learn this week of the death of Aretha Chilton, 98, of Orofino.

She sold me my first and only Jaguar car for only $100 over 20 years ago. It’s a 1920’s model.

I still have the car and the things I like best about it are the low gas mileage and the fact I can replace the steering wheel or tires when they fall off with Elmer’s Glue.

It’s small enough to park in the guest bedroom above the garage. It has a beautiful wood-toned finish that hasn’t faded over the years. It’s about 15 inches in length and has movable parts.

This sturdy little car is here for the duration. Aretha, a retiree of the Clearwater National Forest, handcrafted it from wood from the Clearwater National Forest. I purchased three different models from her and chose the Jaguar for myself.

I remember I purchased a replica of the Walton’s 1930’s Chevy pickup for my son-in-law Darold Stanton and a 1927 Ford sedan for my Dad.

I received a letter last week from Bonnie Bessent in Yuma, AZ, where she winters. When I opened the letter and unfolded a page from the Nov. 13 Yuma Sun I was surprised to see a large photo of my nephew Kevin Wilkins, 51, standing in front of the Yuma City Hall.

The photo cutline read: “Kevin Wilkins is the city of Yuma’s new economic developer. Wilkins accepted the position in October, moving there from Colorado. He has made his home in the Colorado/Nebraska area all his life. As a young man Wilkins started his career in the newspaper business with his father the late Bryce Wilkins. He spent several years in the newspaper industry before focusing on his passion-economic development. In 1994 Wilkins sold his interest in the family newspaper and started his career in the field of economic development.”

Looking at the newspaper picture of Wilkins in a suit with his arms folded across his chest I recall seeing him as a newborn at the Hugo, CO hospital. I lived next door to him until he was three-years-old but have kept in close contact with him down through the years.

The Yuma Sun quotes the president and CEO of GYEDC as saying in part “…having him (Wilkins) will be an asset…it’s a real plus to have someone with his background. He brings a great deal of experience. And I’m already seeing the benefits of having Wilkins on board.”

His mother said “He loves it there.”

So what does his Aunt Cloann have to say about him? He was a sturdy blond kid with a keen sense of humor. He entertained the family as a youngster, mimicking Tiny Tim’s rendition of “Dancing through the Tulips” and doing the soft shoe dance to the song “Bo Jangle.”

Wilkins is married and the father of three daughters and six grandchildren. And an excellent chef, a tradition handed down through the family.

The Phantom and I hope to visit him in Yuma this winter.

Quote: It might not be opportunity you hear knocking—it could be one of your relatives.

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