Sauntering down Main Street past the courthouse, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was missing. The celebrated, old bell tower was all lit up, just as expected. Street lamps were bright and festive. The big, old evergreen near the courthouse was decorated in its usual Christmas finery, just as I remembered long ago. All the storefronts were decked out in their traditional sales-stimulating regalia, with Sacramento Hill silhouetted against a lavender dusk, and the snowcapped Sierra’s glistening to the north. The temperature was sufficiently brisk to render my breath clearly visible on the invigorating evening air. And a recent shower had bedight the streets with shimmering lights and radiant Christmas colors. There was even an occasional snowflake in the air. Still, something wasn’t right. Then, just as I started to question cherished memories, the sound of oncoming traffic caught my ear. Moments later, several cars came cruising into view, windows steaming, wipers slapping, and windshields lightly frosted and finger smudged. Everyone waving, noses to the windows, cordial, happy, rosy cheeked, and brimming with genuine joy! This indeed was Placerville, Just as I’d remembered, the irrepressible little city in the ravine.
Shannon T. Casebeer