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.
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!”
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.