[cleeng_content id="668288519" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]About that adage, ‘Bolivar doesn’t get any respect’
The weekend before last, I had the privilege of speaking during the farewell luncheon for the Rev. Georgia DuBose and her husband, Bob — both longtime members of the Harpers Ferry community — as they prepare to embark on a new life in Oregon. At the close of the banquet, both Bob and Georgia were
presented with gifts, and each took a moment to thank all the folks and organizations with whom they had served. Bob, who has recently been a member of the board of directors of Community Ministries, was thanking the various groups that he’d been affiliated with and that he’d served alongside of when Georgia, who was seated beside him, began whispering, “Bolivar,” “Bolivar,” “Bolivar,” until he abruptly heard her coaching and then himself repeated, “Bolivar.” Someone in the audience said aloud and with a smile, “Bolivar doesn’t get any respect.”
I’m not sure that’s true, but Bolivar, despite being larger than its neighboring village Harpers Ferry, does always seem to dwell in the shadow of its more famous, uphill cousin. In 2012, when the Spirit of Jefferson launched a feature called “What’s in a Name,” I chose Bolivar as the first town we wrote about for just that reason — the town, once called Mudfort, just needed some attention, it seemed to me.
It was that thought that flashed into my mind when I was asked last week to cover a party at Country Cafe and General Store. The Bolivar landmark and its owners, Lisa Edel and Russ Nasteff, were celebrating their 25th year in business and they wanted everyone to know about it. With good reason; the party was exactly the kind of event you wish all such parties were. Lisa and Russ welcomed back old and longtime customers and employees, reminisced about old times, visits from distinguished guests, like former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, actor Robert Duvall and King Abdullah of Jordan, and showed off a scrapbook of their years in business. It was a genuinely good evening and I could tell everybody was having a wonderful time. After meeting with Lisa and Russ and a number of their friends and snapping off a few pictures and completing a number of interviews, I headed out, eager to write a nice story.
You might know what happened next. In the din, I misheard the name “Nasteff” and also that of former owner Wanda Butts and both of those misspellings found their way into print, I was to learn the next day.
Last week, with our driver stranded on an ice-laden Blue Ridge Mountain, it fell to me to deliver the paper and when I got to the 7-Eleven in Bolivar, the clerk behind the counter hailed me as I came in the front door. She said people had been coming in all day looking for the Spirit so they could see a story in it — most certainly the one about the Country Cafe, I figured.
Knowing that error in the story, I groaned with the weight of creation. You ought to have heard me. I’d let Bolivar down and Lisa and Russ.
The town of Bolivar, as many know, was named for Simon Bolivar, who is regarded as the “George Washington of South America” for his military campaigns to free the South American countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Panama from Spanish domination and attempt at creating the republic of Gran Colombia, of which he served as president for 11 years until 1830. Bolivar was an admirer of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and a student of the American and French revolutions, making it all the more fitting that the town that bears his name is located here in Jefferson County, namesake to the United States’ own declarator of independence.
I’m looking forward to my next trip over to Bolivar. Among the highlights on the menu at the Country Cafe — biscuits and gravy.
As always, thanks for reading the Spirit of Jefferson.
— Robert Snyder