by Jane Hielman
What is it that is driving this turbo-powered, ever-ready, red hat kind of lady?
If you know Dixie Simpson, then you have probably always wondered. Well, in her past was a bug, a super bug, a friend, a family and a thirst for enthusiastic, simple, fun.
She describes herself in a humble way, as, “Coming from a blessed upbringing, my mother born and raised in Florida, was a sweet, quiet, ever resourceful, good at anything, kind, farm wife,” she smiled and said, “But I’m a Miller, my dad’s side of the family, through and through, my dad was born and raised in Minnesota, a good, hard-working farmer. They were good solid farm folk, good people,” she sniggered, “Oh yes, and there was discipline!”
“I was brought up in Idaho and moved to eastern Washington where my family home still stands. It is currently threatened by the wild fires,” she said with sadness in her eyes.
“Enough,” said Dixie, “Enough about me!” She went on to say, “On leaving school, I graduated in Latin! Yes, you heard me right!” Latin! Why not? All I remember now of those studies was, and I don’t know how to spell it, “omnia gallea est divisa taes pathea.” Which means all of (the country of) Gaul is divided into three parts! It repeats over and over in my head to this day!” she smiled with a shrug.
“On leaving school I worked at Boeing, my first husband worked the woods and so we arrived in Clallam Bay only to find nowhere to live so we moved to the Pysht for three years. On moving here, I knew I was home. I don’t ever intend on leaving!”
“My marriage gave me awesome children, great people, they are mine and I love them. They are good people. They grew up here in Clallam Bay. In comes Don, the love of my life, we were classmates in eastern Washington 42 years ago. It is through the school and my children that I met Judy Fishel, my VBF (very best friend). We were on lots of fundraising committees for Little League and sport teams, the boys were in parallel classes right through, our firsts and our seconds; we have done fundraising all our lives and we still are. We do, we do, we do! Fundraising allows you to be an extrovert and it fits me to a T!”
“During this time I worked in food service, 13 years at Woody’s, now the Sunsets West Co-op building, and later at the Breakwater Restaurant, a total of 43 years! Why? Because I love people!”
With a grin I commented, “I guess you are good at what you do by now?”
“That is my story; I faked my way through it!” she passed it off with a big grin.
Reflecting back to the Latin memory of Dixie’s life, I asked “What the three divisions are for her lifelong adventure in Clallam Bay? After a long think, she said, “People, the people, the people!” Which slowly amended to, ”People, nature and community service. It takes all three to have an adventurous life of giving and taking, making the fun roll on.” With encouragement she said, “A love for everything, wanting to see harmony and knowing that everything has value, that’s what makes me live a unique life!” she sighed. “Nothing is unimportant!”
“That’s enough of me,” she said.
“Then one day a few of us decided that due to remoteness we girls needed something utterly useless to do, and so the ‘Red Hats’ was born in 2000. We have so much fun!”
“Unique Junque” aka the quarter-store is an ongoing rummage sale, ongoing for the past 11 years! This is an extension of our, Judy’s and mine, fundraising! We raise enough money each year for the fireworks on Fun Days! Each year we target an organization that we appreciate and support them. We gave $500 to the Co-op Frig Fund, The Lions Club, the School Band and other things. We like to pop the benches around town and paint them fun colors. It all adds to the gross rural happiness!”
At this point Dixie asked me to keep this article short!
I asked, “So what is it that drives the Unique Miss Dixie?”
“Well, my true love is VW Beetle Bugs! I got my first one years ago, then I got to be unemployed and so I traded it! Then I got a new one in 2000, white, she died of terminal rust, we are presently restoring her at home. She needs a new body! Now through connectedness, yes that’s it, that the glue that makes rural communities such as ours work, connectedness, that’s it, it gives us a core of uniqueness, when we invest in connectedness we get things done! That’s it!” she settled. “That’s it!”
“You will keep this short. Won’t you?” she pleaded with me.
“Oh yes, about connectedness, I just got ‘Lady Bug,’ a 1964 red Beetle Bug, isn’t she beautiful?” she implored me. “Through connection and future planning, you will see! Just you wait!”
I had to agree, I had a cream Beetle in 1968, it died in a road smash courtesy of my then new husband. He came home without the car! I replaced it with a red Bug that didn’t have first gear. One day driving home from work as an elementary teacher I approached a red traffic light. Knowing I had to journey across the intersection beginning a long uphill, I felt tension. Keeping her going I gentled up to a stop then gunned it on the green to get the hill. The battery exploded under the back seat and showered me with battery acid!
“Life is an adventure; you don’t have to be important to stay happy! My favorite word is ‘Workonable’ everything is Workonable — enthusiasm is the piece of the puzzle that keeps it all going,” she ended. Funnily enough, Dixie is a constant jigsaw puzzler, no surprises there!
“What is the funniest story that you hold from you unique journey?” I asked.
“That you will need to wait for,” she said with a twinkle. Ask her Tuesday, Friday or Saturday at the rummage sale.
Dixie is unique, there is no one like her, she is a dear friend to many, a live wire and cohort, “Thanks Dixie, this was fun, Clallam Bay is lucky to have you.”