The old red tavern ends

Today (Monday) we witnessed the passing into history of the “old red tavern.” It has been a figure on state Route 169 for more years than most of us can remember.

Jim Flynn’s parents raised their family living and working in the establishment that was a key feature of early Maple Valley. Jim’s 92-year-old mother, Billie, who once served patrons on roller skates, took the first bite out of the old building. The tears in her eyes told me exactly why Jim had waited to take down what some considered to be an eyesore. Since my own mother is 89 years old, I have a lot of sympathy for Jim, and a lot of respect for Billie.

There are those who will look for negative motives attached to the removal of this building at this time. He was criticized for completing the “Tahoma Road” and then criticized for taking so long to complete it. What a no-win for Jim. Jim Flynn and his family have done more for this community than most of us will ever know. He does it because he sees a need and takes action. He doesn’t do it for the public recognition that seems to be the driving force behind other’s community involvement.

I’m sorry to see a part of Maple Valley’s history gone for all time. I’m happy to see a building that was beyond redemption gone. We all lost something today, we all gained something today. But Billie lost the most, and she did it with grace, dignity and a tear or two. I hope I can live up to the example Billie is setting for those of us who are reaching into the upper echelons of our lives.

Way to go Billie!

Linda Johnson

City Councilwoman

Maple Valley