Mark Twain’s ghost draws crowd

Sacramento Valley Museum in Williams presented California’s history in an unconventional manner, with an evening of wine and wisdom, hosted by Mark Twain.

On Saturday night, the museum was filled with history lovers. Patrons drank Grindstone wine and dined on hors d’oeuvres, and visitors perused the antiques until the house lights dinned and the stage was lit. 

It was as if Mark Twain stepped out of a photograph and walked on stage. 

McAvoy Lane has spent 30 years speaking as the ghost of Mark Twain. In life, Twain used to do lecture tours, and Layne continues Twain’s role of orator. Layne presented anecdotes and quotes, speaking with a rhythm that had a poetic cadence. 

The evening could be considered a speaking engagement in that the audience was invited to ask questions.

“I’ve been around so long, I know a little bit about everything,” said Layne, who claimed that this was his favorite part of the perfomance. 

Likely, the vast knowledge bank that Layne has at his disposal is the reason he is undaunted by shooting from the hip about Twain.

Inviting an attendee to join him to “belly up to the bar,” Layne suggested everyone retire to the groggery. The evening finished with three names being drawn for gift baskets: Juliann Cheney, Sylvia Davis, and Dianne Helms were the lucky winners.■