New Tales from
Small collection of stories and remembrances on Springs first published here.
If you have a story of your own on the Springs you'd like to share on this page, email it here
once written and it will be added with byline (Add years visited; iffa worker, your duties for brief intro).
~ Remembering Greg Goodpasture's Springs Kitchen, by Sandy Serva
~ Miracle During Card Reading, by Joa Janakoayas
~ Employees' Famous Last Words, by Stuart Ward
& His Springs Kitchen
Sandy Serva, nee Goodpasture, was part of legendary family operation that stewarded Springs through the happening 1970s. Here she remembers late older brother Greg and grounds restaurant operation. Rebellious teen then, she now lives in San Antonio, Texas.
My best memory of Stewart Mineral is my brother's restaurant: Springs Kitchen.
When we first moved north, he cooked for the dorm students at College of the Siskiyous. There he learned to cook en masse, and like most things he put his mind to, he learned quickly and did it well. He would go on to get a pilot’s license, become a master scuba diver and more. He was a jokester and a prankster. He was happily married and died all too young of cancer.
When we opened Springs Kitchen he was a natural. He and a couple of buds from down south worked the kitchen masterfully. The biggest luxury item on the menu was the Goodie Burger, a wonderful display of excess and balancing, most likely about 6 inches tall. It was a legacy item handed down from my grandfather, who had once owned a restaurant, The Lazy Man’s Roost. The Goodie burger was a signature item.
Second in line in were the malts, nabbed from our experiences at Fosselman’s in my hometown of South Pasadena, Ca. You’d get a glass and the malt can. Oh, excess. Greg made a chocolate syrup from scratch – it was more like fudge than anything else, but was ooey-gooey delicious.
Of course, there were plenty of healthy items on the menu – including a lemonade and cayenne pepper freeze for those who were on the lemon fast. On certain weekends, Greg would do a couple of dinner specials and people would drive from miles around to take mineral baths and eat stuff like veggie tempura or enchiladas. I was amazed at the crowd. It was uncanny. But back then, the best fare around were pizza parlors and truck stops. My brother’s joint was an oasis in a barren culinary desert.
I never held glamorous jobs at the Springs, and maybe that’s why I don’t have extremely fond memories of the bathhouse and the healing waters. I’d been a maid and a bathhouse attendant.
The latter involved endless loads of laundry, a chore I hate to this day. No, that wasn’t the fun stuff. The restaurant was where the action was, watching Greg and the two Marks (Derby and Wright) work the kitchen, young and full of life and endless bad jokes. They were rock stars in a way. Girls came to flirt with them, guys bonded with them over delicious food.
Eventually, my bad teenage attitude became my undoing. My mom fired me one summer when I was home from college (NYU), so I went to work at the second Springs Kitchen location in Mount Shasta. [Building is currently Lalo's - Ed.] My dad hired me. I made plenty of tips and fell in love with one of the managers. We wore denim skirts and checkered shirts and kerchiefs around our necks. Very hippy-dippy western. Whatever. Yes, those were good times.
I never was close to Greg, because he wouldn’t really allow it. But we loved each other in the way that siblings do.
The last time I saw him was in Santa Rosa, Ca. He had terminal cancer. He picked me up and we looked at each other. And that look erased the need for or regrets. It said we loved each other. That we’d been through a lot. And I felt this glorious peace.
He died soon after. I won’t say his life was easy. No, it wasn’t. But he was a smart, capable man, with a loving wife Melanie who stood by his side and is truly an angel on earth.
Miracle at Card Reading
Spiritual card reader Joa felt pulled away from Shasta region after 2002 and then pulled back in summer 2011. He was amazed by changeg in Springs energy; things felt lighter. Perhaps in part because of medicine man Charlie Thom‘s ceremonial exorcism of slain ancestral warrior spirits many believed haunted grounds. see Ted's story He penned the following in a spare moment between readings at his table on inner sundeck (before management decided finally that such service was not appreciated by the more conventional-minded visitors always courted).
From 1997 to 2002 I was Stewart’s tarot card reader. Giving spiritual readings to vacationers was rewarding dream occupation. Most people, whether they knew it consciously or not, came to Mt. Shasta to come home to their higher self, were having peak experiences they did not understand. I got to hear about various miracles associated with these peak experiences.
One miracle happened right here on the deck while I was giving a reading. On that hot, dry August day, a lady who had just visited the mountain was feeling disoriented and tearful. As I connected with her higher self the general message that came through was, These are the tears of Christ...of coming home to your divinity, your oneness with everything." After the reading was complete, the lady asked me what this water dripping on her leg was about; a puddle of water had appeared on the table and was dripping off the side onto my client's leg.
We looked around for where that water was coming from. There was no explanation. The lady didn’t seem to be taking the reading very seriously as she, like many, learned to judge her emotionalism as just a form of neurosis. I asked within who it was that materialized the water and heard: Mother Mary. It seems she desired her to value her feelings that her visit to Mt. Shasta had triggered.
I have noticed how in the cities many people get caught on the treadmill of doing and learn to ignore the feelings of their being. Then when they come to a heart-expanding vortex such as Mt. Shasta and unwind with the medicinal water of Stewart Mineral springs, it is not uncommon that the bottom drops out - whatever resistance they were carrying to feeling everything.
I know all too well how to get caught up in my little 3-D world of apparent problems. Most of my problems have had an underlying
emotional current based on the illusion I'm not loved and supported by the universe. When I come here I often have my tears of coming home to the reality that I am loved and supported far beyond my mind’s usual knowing, and these are joyous tears.
nameless here forevermore
Famous Last Words of
Employees and Managers
by Stuart Ward
Springs volunteer groundskeeper and assistant manager 2000-2002; creek plunge keeper 1999 - 2014
"Most employees who came and went over the decades under four different managements appeared reasonably earnest and dedicated to appointed duties, even if working only a shekel over minimum wage.
"Exceptions were a hoot -- even some managers. In fairness, some, writer included, messed up only as the sometimes squirrelly owner directives, bickering internal politics, and/or job burnout finally took their toll.
"Others seemed misplaced all along."
"They can't actually expect anyone to
take this job seriously at these wages, can they?"
-- friend of manager Mary H.'s shortly before being relieved of her two-day career as bathhouse attendant.
"Prepare to reap the whirlwind!"
-- Stage-worthy warning issued by ground restaurant's chef as he strode by on bathhouse deck. Involved in a long crazy cold war with management, he was getting even after finally having his contract cancelled and bought out: he'd just reported laundry list of fire code violations to the fire marshal that would have the staff and managers alike hopping to avoid draconian daily fines if failing to get into compliance post haste.
"The most important key to know is this one."
-- 2005 front desk manager pointing out the 'No Sale' key, explaining how to work register as part of inter-job-duty orienting. He was later caught pocketing restaurant receipts and did three years in state prison. I think I figured out his fondness for that key: It enabled putting exact-cash payments in and then lifting them out later when the coast was clear without messing up the receipt tally -- easy to track then, as baths were an even $20, saunas $10.
"I'll be there soon, okay? Dry cycle's almost done."
-- Office worker spacing out in laundry room on a slow day, watching personal laundry tumble in the massive dryer. Writer and movie producer James Twymann, then an occasional visitor, was waiting patiently in an empty office to pay for his selected gift shop items, money in hand.
"I wouldn't like that; I'd be out of a job."
-- Manager after writer enthused about a brainstorm heard of long-ago: a Friends of Stewart Springs group sussing idea on public TV to collectively purchase and operate the springs as a cooperative. I thought anyone who really appreciated the place would at least find this intriguing. Clearly unmoved by such Utopian fantasies -- and apparently feeling his tenure threatened by even broaching the subject -- a defiant icy stare accompanied the reaction.
-- Death rock music blaring out of grounds restaurant stereo ahead of opening doors, shaking the rafters, before the chef, inveterate fan of death rock, switched to...er, more relaxing music. One might've thought something was less than copacetic if happening to stroll by the ostensible healing resort's eatery just then.
"If the sheriff comes by here, you didn't see me."
--2001 nighttime bathhouse attendant at my cabin door. Normally sweet-natured, she could turn poison-mean if crossed. She'd just told off an apparently over-demanding soaker so royally, the woman -- either scared and/or outraged that a lowly paid worker would dare give her such lip and bold dagger stares -- had called the sheriff.
" ........ "
-- Deck juice-bar man taking breaks by sitting on a bench by the cold plunge, dragging on a cigarette while boldly starring at nude coldplungers in the water a few yards away, like he was in a porn theater. Sometimes, perhaps thinking to entertain, he threw a stick in the water for his dog to jump in and retrieve, splashing incredulous bathers trying to focus on their spa regimen.
"I'll take care of it first thing tomorrow."
-- Dismissive groundskeeper, wanting to keep schmoozing with manager in private office despite being alerted that the sauna's wood stove's flue cap screen spark-arrestor was so caked with creosote that smoke was barely escaping, resulting in smothering the fire and dangerously smoking up the sauna room. Visitors were coughing, eyes stinging, and there were hours of operation left in the day. Manager, out to lunch (and slowly dying), didn't seem at all concerned either. It was an easy ten-minute fix.
“We're a mineral springs, not a hot springs.”
-- Pointedly said by manager (and various office workers after, following his lead), ostensibly thinking to explain to newcomers how the place was different from other spring resorts. Say what? Obviously, the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive: a mineral springs' waters can be cold or hot and a hot springs' waters can be fresh or mineral. The statement was essentially meaningless. Though maybe said to try distinguishing the place from the wider region's hot springs resorts for having limited heated mineral water and private soaking tubs, rather than communal geothermal pools, often clothing-optional, it mostly served only to bewilder, especially when said in tje authoritarian tone.
"I mean, it was only six thousand dollars, but still..."
-- Another manager, from affluent background, downplaying the significance of the amount of cash stolen from the office safe sometime during closed hours. (Thief was never caught.)
"If people are stupid enough to trip over it,
they get what they deserve."
-- yet another manager (clearly having a bad day) to the suggestion of putting some bright caution tape down on the step up in sauna wing, where people, not seeing it, would often stumble, sometimes even fall.
"I don't work here anymore."
-- Still another manager, implying having stepped down, ostensibly hoping to placate writer, as we'd seldom gotten along. But it was spoken with wily intent: while perhaps no longer working AT the Springs, she would still serve as general manager by remote from a distant Chico home for two more years. She'd relay strict marching orders from the even more distant 'owners' to the rubber-stamping staff charged with holding down the fort.
"You're telling people they can drink that stuff?"
-- and, yes, yet another manager, on overhearing writer doing stint as bathhouse attendant and telling bathers that drinking the water was beneficial as well as soaking in it if they could get past the mild sulfur taste.
Short by visitor
" I lived here 38 years ago. I delivered a baby here and got married here at the Springs."
-- attribution deleted due to program glitch; apologies
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