Alta Roesch, Ruth Solem & Sharilyn Bates
It all started when Alta and her younger sister, Ruth, both pretty, imaginative and popular, spent a lot of time down by the river; painting, crafting and dreaming. “Our Gnometown needs an identity, something for people to remember us by and what we stand for,” mused Alta one day. “What do you mean?” asked Ruth, “like a combine or a tractor?” “No,” answered Alta, “something that represents how the people in this Dawson community care about each other and volunteer endlessly to help others.” “Oh,” piped Ruth, “something to stand in the park so visitors, who drive by, see it? It could be a gnome like us, helpful and friendly. We settled in Dawson because the people who live here were so nice.” Alta’s face lit up, Ruth had a great idea. “Yes!” Alta jumped in, “I could write a legend which tells how the gnomes came here, why we have a heart on our sleeve and bent hats. We could tell the world how the people of Gnometown treat us and the others that visit and live here. There’s a big council meeting tonight, let’s go and present our idea.”
Shar, a very shy gnomette, lived far in the country and longed to be close to the two sisters because they seemed to be so popular and kind. She would catch glimpses of them but was afraid to get too close. Tonight was the big council meeting and her family was making the trip to the river to vote on the issues before them. As she got closer to the crowd, she saw Alta and Ruth sitting in the front row and motioned for her dad to sit in the 2nd row, close to her want-to-be friends.
It was just dark and Daws started the fire, which signaled all to be quiet. Governor Ted started the meeting and invited others to talk about the current issues. Gnome Phil, gave a report about the hospital and ambulance, Gnome Dick and Gnome Al talked about how the city was running, Gnome Bob went over the activities of the school. The firegnomes told about the new firefighting equipment they had purchased. Things were good in Gnometown. Then, to Shar’s surprise, her mentors, Alta and Ruth stood up, and excitingly told the large crowd of gnomes about their idea. Gnome Gerry stood up, ‘Yes, we need something to show the outside world that Gnometown is a Gem on the Prairie.” Gnome Morris made a motion to fund it from the Gnomefund. The gnomes voted by turning the tips of their hats toward the river. All hats turned, it was carried. “We are so excited that you like this idea,” replied Alta, “but we’re going to need help in getting it started, any volunteers?”
“I’ll help,” Shar screamed excitedly, as she jumped out of her seat. This was her opportunity to get closer to the gals she admired most. “Thank you for volunteering,” replied Ruth, “it will be a lot of work but it will also be fun.”
And so it was, Shar finally got to be friends with the two sisters and through many years was a great help to them in developing their “gnomish” theme. It was Shar who suggested they honor specific people, like Dr. Johnson or Maestro Solie and recognize their contributions to Gnometown. They even started a celebration down by the river, they called Riverfest and used that to unveil the first gnomes, in honor of Daws and Fat, and as the celebration grew, so did the friendship of the three young gnomettes.