Utah Phillips Speaks From the Other Side

Rita Lovely of Nevada City with Utah looking over her shoulder
Rita Lovely of Nevada City with Utah looking over her shoulder

Nevada City, CA Rita Lovely was shocked when she opened Monday’s Union newspaper to page A3 and saw a photo of her hero, Utah Phillips, relaxing “in the study of his Nevada City home Sunday afternoon.” Shocked because Mr. Phillips had died in 2008.

U. Utah Phillips was an American labor organizer, folk singer, storyteller, poet and the “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”. He described the struggles of labor unions and the power of direct action, and considered himself an anarchist. Ms. Lovely, who works as a Nevada City meter reader, was and still is a huge fan of his music and his politics.

“He was always fighting for the little guy” she said from her living room sofa. “And I admired him for that. And such a sweet man.”

“On Monday afternoon I was shopping at Grocery Outlet. I was just getting into line when I swear I saw Utah leaving the store with a bag full of groceries” she continued. “He was tall with a big white beard, and he was wearing that hat he always wore. A shiver ran down my spine!” she concluded.

Photo from The Union newspaper
Photo from The Union newspaper

Things only got stranger the next day when Ms. Lovely made her usual toast and coffee for breakfast.  “I usually eat the toast plain cause I’m watching my weight, but I decided that morning to splurge and have it with strawberry preserves” she explained. “I picked up the toast and placed it onto the plate when, bam! I see a face staring back at me. And its Utah’s face!”

Toast with Image of Man’s Face

Ms. Lovely was clearly excited at this point, and even this reporter was getting chills. She brought out the piece of toast from the freezer and carefully unwrapped it. I have to admit it does look a lot like an older man with a beard if I squint my eyes, and it could be Utah Phillips.

“I am sure he is attempting to send me a message from the other side,” she declared.

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Harry Balserhaught
Harry Balserhaught joins Gish Gallop from a prosperous career in Industrial Landscape painting and design. He also moonlights as a writer for several investigative publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and Cat Fancy. Mr. Balserhaught is semi-retired and a neighbor of Nevada County Gish Gallop President and fellow North San Juan resident Louis “Lou” LaPlante, however he has no interest in alpacas. Despite this, Mr. LaPlante asked Mr. Balserhaught to join Gish Gallop staff due to his uncanny ability to “get along” with other North San Juan citizens. Mr. Balserhaught is married to his second wife Faye, after his first died in a suspicious laundromat accident in Berkeley, CA. He has 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 3 mouthy children who never call.
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I recall Utah was a good cook as well. No one refused his ” Moose turd” pie.