Saturday, April 17, 2021


My Little Mayberry: Survivability

by Denise Denton-Rinzler |

Every year on April 26th, I remember how we came to Colusa.  Had been living in Napoli and Trieste, Italy for four years.  Idyllic life with plenty of vacation time, great food and wine.

Then the Russian Chernobyl nuclear reactors blew up.  Trieste and many other northern European areas were hit with radioactive contamination.  It will remain for thousands of years.  Crops were destroyed, herds of cattle killed and set on pyres to burn, grocery stores were stripped of goods.  Uncontaminated water was scarce.

We flew home, got in our car and drove up the coast of California looking for a new place to live.  While checking on a practice in Chico, the salesperson told us of a sale in Colusa.   Cah-where?  Colusa.  So we followed highway 45 over and rested in the 10th Street park awhile, swatting mosquitoes.  It felt strangely like home.  I’m saying this as an Air Force brat who’d moved 46 times up to that point.  But my Dad’s from Maxwell.  Perhaps some faded childhood memory?

The practice was the perfect size, perfect fit.    And exceedingly important, to our nuclear disaster shocked psyches, Colusa had survivability.   Here was a place with plenty of food.  All kinds of food.   Water roiling down the mountains in the big old Sacramento River, a myriad of creeks and streams.  If things got really tough, you could make do without a car and walk or bike to the grocery, hardware store, pharmacy, school, library, post office.  There was a hospital, two fire stations, Police and Sheriff, even a transit.   The bonus?  Great people, people with moral fiber who’d get your back during a disaster.

Sometimes it’s tempting to criticize and complain about what we perceive is missing here.  But during this time in Spring, I’m very grateful for all we have.

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