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Camp Meeker Beat by Tom Austin
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Camp Meeker Beat by Tom Austin

Camp Meeker, California

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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - March 2017
March 1, 2017
by Tom Austin
We made it through February!  Hooray!  Yes, it was a wet month.    Dutch Bill Creek was a raging brown maelstrom most of the month, but it resulted in no calamity for Camp Meeker. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - February 2017
February 2, 2017
by Tom Austin
Happy New Year! Let’s all say goodbye to 2016. Lots to fret and worry about for 2017, but…let’s not. Let’s just leave it in the rear view mirror and make 2017 better.
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - January 2017
January 4, 2017
by Tom Austin
Happy New Year! Let’s all say goodbye to 2016. Lots to fret and worry about for 2017, but…let’s not. Let’s just leave it in the rear view mirror and make 2017 better.
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - December 2016
November 25, 2016
by Tom Austin
Welcome to December! I hope you had a happy thanksgiving. This is one of those months where I am tempted to wax philosophical.
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - November 2016
October 26, 2016
by Tom Austin
November. Camp Meeker buckles down for the damp season. If today’s forecasts our correct (we have an early deadline this month), we just got some rain. That will help with fire safety, the subject of last month’s columns, and a subject I will return to. But first, an important announcement: the Camp Meeker Volunteer Fire Department (CMVFD) is holding their annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser on the second Saturday in November (November 9). Come on down, break bread with your neighbors, buy a ticket to help the CMVFD keep us safe and sound for another year. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - October 2016
September 28, 2016
by Tom Austin
Do not go quietly into the long nights. Rage, rage against the dying of summer. I hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day as you read this. Although the official end of summer is the Autumnal Equinox, the end of summer according to the retail industry is Labor Day, all the better to sell you some hot dogs, lighter fluid, sunscreen, and Frisbees. Does anyone still play Frisbee, or do they gather dust in the garage next to the rollerblades? 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - September 2016
September 1, 2016
by Tom Austin
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - August 2016
August 1, 2016
by Tom Austin
August. This is when Camp Meeker shines. So to speak. August is when you go into town to run errands and bake in the sun. When you’ve had enough, you slip under the boughs of the trees into blessed shade and a (relatively) cool house.
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - July 2016
June 29, 2016
by Tom Austin
July already? Is it me, or does time slip by like a bullet train these days? I’ve barely begun to enjoy the summer lassitude! es, Campers, your word for the month is “lassitude”. This goes along with last year’s summer word, “torpor”. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - June 2016
May 27, 2016
by Tom Austin
The balmy breezes of summer are starting to make their appearance. Spring’s plum blossoms have flowered and fallen. Bathers once again brave the warming waters at Monte Rio, with (so far) a lustrous Russian River pushing healthy water levels past the beach. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - May 2016
May 1, 2016
by Tom Austin
The balmy breezes of summer are starting to make their appearance. Spring’s plum blossoms have flowered and fallen. Bathers once again brave the warming waters at Monte Rio, with (so far) a lustrous Russian River pushing healthy water levels past the beach. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - Tom Austin - March 2016
March 1, 2016
by Tom Austin
You’ll have to forgive me if this column is a little loopy. It’s been a very intense week for me, joy and anguish and frustration and love flying thick and fast among friends and loved ones.
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - Tom Austin - February 2016
February 1, 2016
by Tom Austin
As I write the February column for Camp Meeker, I am sitting in a most un-Camp Meeker-like location: at my parents’ house in Southern California – Orange County, to be exact. The contrast is rather striking, and brings home to me the reasons why I choose to live in a place rather uncharitably nicknamed “Damp Sneaker”. 
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - Tom Austin - January 2016
January 1, 2016
by Tom Austin

Ah, good old Damp Sneaker. As I write this I am huddled in my miserable hovel of a house, waiting for the furnace repairman. It seems that a whole bunch of people discovered problems with their heating. And, as most of those clients are clustered together in Santa Rosa, Camp Meeker residents can go to the back of the line.

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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - Tom Austin - November 2015
November 1, 2015
by Tom Austin

This is one of those months for me. No breaking news, no Indian legends, no fuzzy puppy human interest stories. Quite a number of little things, though, so I will take the opportunity to pay tribute to one of my columnist heroes, the late great Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. That man could spin a mishmash of small items into a tempting civic goulash. I should be half as talented and consider myself lucky. Maybe next month I will do an homage to Jim Murray, or Art Buchwald, or Scott Ostler, or Dave Barry.  Any number of big shoes to fill in the columnist game. And so, I give you the Camp Meeker three-dot lounge.

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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - Tom Austin - October 2015
October 1, 2015
by Tom Austin

Last month I told part one of an Indian legend kindly bestowed upon me by Katie Everbeck of St. Dorothy’s. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for the exciting conclusion!

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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - September 2015
September 1, 2015
by Tom Austin

I promised you an Indian LegendTM last month. Here goes. It’s a barn-burner. It might take more than one column to do it right. It’s got everything: a strong-willed princess, a flight from an arranged marriage, magical rocks, a Romeo and Juliet subplot, a brave and loyal buddy, and a battle scene for the last reel, complete with bows and arrows. It all happened right under our noses, historically speaking. Big thanks to Katie Everbeck of St. Dorothy’s, who turned me on to this red hot lead. 

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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - August 2015
August 1, 2015
by Tom Austin

Legwork. You’ve probably heard the term in the abstract. I have learned the literal meaning of the term in writing this column. There is no substitute for shoe leather, for walking the beat. One of my favorite things about Camp Meeker is that great hiking is as close as your front door. Sometimes I just walk around the neighborhood, and if I’m lucky I run into some of the fascinating people who live here. On one of my recent jaunts I had the pleasure of running into Ben Evenbeck, who in addition to being a volunteer fireman is also the Land Manager for St. Dorothy’s. His wife Katie is the Executive Director for St. Dorothy’s, and I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with her and learning about the oldest continually operating summer camp in California – since 1901. 


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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - April 2015
April 1, 2015
by Tom Austin
April? Already? So I guess you just finished marching in the Fool’s Day parade down in Occidental. If it’s one thing we’re good at in the West County, it’s Foolishness. Not all that great of a rainy season, so it’s another summer of water stinginess. You take the bad with the good, I guess. The days are longer, right?  Look on the bright side. That means more hiking, trips to the beach, cookouts…summer is just around the corner!
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Tom Austin Camp Meeker Beat - March 2015
March 1, 2015
by Tom Austin
The plum tree outside my back window had blossoms on it this morning.   This has happened for several years in a row now.     It is spectacular, of course, but I get kind of a bittersweet feeling when spring shows up in February.    I like warm weather and budding plants as much as the next guy, but I’d be perfectly happy to bide my time through a few more weeks of cold, rainy winter.    It’s how things are supposed to be, groundhog or no groundhog.
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