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Once upon a time in the mid-1990s, when I got back from vacation in West Virginia, back in the mid '90s, I got a call from the city manager, Pat Thompson, about what had happened when I was out of town.

A young man from L.A., who for some reason felt wronged by Ed Keith, had driven up to Napa, apparently seeking revenge. He headed down First Street, into the wilds of Browns Valley. His face was painted black, commando-style.

Painting oneself black is not a way to go unnoticed in Browns Valley.

Sure enough, an off-duty cop, Tom Lipsey, saw him, turned around, and followed the youthful avenger to Ed's house. When he got to Ed's place on Forest Drive, the kid was stuffing Ed into the trunk of his car.

Ed was saved, and maybe a little embarrassed, because the story did make the Register. Tom Lipsey told Pat, "Thank goodness Councilmember Watter is on vacation, or she would try to have me fired for saving Ed Keith."

This was what we had to deal with in the old days,before the big hotels with their Transient Occupancy Tax beckoned. It was a very small town. Everyone knew Ed was weird, but he was just part of the local landscape (as I learned). Plus, he was obviously, outrageously, rich.

Cindy Watter