People Out Loud: A salute to ‘Captain A’ – Plus the hum of a rebounding community

May 2021 Posted in Columnists & Opinion, Community, People

I remember meeting Arland Anderson as a lowly freshman in high school in 1966. He was a junior and one imposing figure – larger than life. Standing about 6’4″ and not “diminutive”, he had a booming voice, and huge and infectious smile, and seemed to get along with everyone.

We both played basketball and got to scrimmage a bit together. He was the captain of the varsity basketball team and I was a lowly freshman who came off the freshman bench with splinters when the game was a runaway.

What I recall most is he was always nice to the scrub, funny as all get out, and just a big, strong presence in the key and in the hallway by my locker. He was not unobtrusive.

There was a time in the 1960s when many of us from Silverton would go see live bands at the Salem Armory. Paul Revere and the Raiders were frequent entertainers. And nearly every time my friends and I went, there was Arland. I always greeted him with a loud, “Captain A!” He started answering, “Dancin’ Dixon!” It became our thing.

Nearly 50 years later, we ran into each other and instinctively picked up right where we left off. Captain A and Dancin’ Dixon. He was a big, kind, gentle man with a huge heart. One of my best memories, still bringing a chuckle as

I write, was seeing Captain A tooling around in his little convertible sports car. He looked like a giraffe in it as his head would seem to stick out far above the windshield. He was in his element.

He loved fishing and playing Blue Grass music with friends and became quite accomplished on the mandolin. It gave him joy, as did his daughters and

grandkids. Larger than life, heart of gold, slick wit and a quick, easy smile that simply demonstrated his love for people. They loved him right back. He was a character in the true sense of the word. We lost Arland just a few short months ago. He was truly one of the good guys.

Mother’s Day was so uplifting. So many people posting things about their mothers on social media. Positive things. Lessons taught. Lessons learned. Love throughout.

Magnolia Grill is now in downtown Silverton. What a great meal – prime rib, salmon, awesome salad. Glen Damewood has the deck at Mac’s and crafter’s mall running on all eight cylinders with wonderful music (who doesn’t like the Judds covered on a sunny day and a cold beer swaying to the music?). Raw Blend Juice Bar was packing them in on Oak Street, and the new Curbside Kitchen
is opening its doors with paninis, and scrumptious rice bowls.

Lunaria was entertaining art lovers from around the state. Tourists were touristing and spending money. Graytstone Tiki Bar and Gallon House were hot spots. What I heard was the sound of Silverton coming back to life. It was music to my ears. The streets came alive, and so did Silverton’s soul. I am not saying we are fully back, but the signs are good.

Along those lines, please suffer your masks a little longer, and get your vaccinations. We are THIS close. There are a whole lot of brilliant people who state, unequivocally, that masks do help, and the vaccines are safe and very effective. To those who

say God will take care of them, my first thought is, “I agree”, and my first question is, “Didn’t HE make all the brilliant doctors and scientists?”

If you don’t wear a mask or get vaccinated it is your choice. But then please stay home, so the rest of us who do care about the greater good can go dining, dancing, and congregating. Mother’s Day was a taste of life returning slowly to normal

in our beautiful little town. People were smiling and cash registers were singing, and it will get better. If we do our part.

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