The Little Mellow

An Idyll amid Mint Fields and Ticking Sprinklers

By Dave Goins

Photos Courtesy of Dave Goins

Greenleaf in the mid-1970s was a Quaker version of the sitcom town of Mayberry, except there was no Sheriff Andy Taylor or Deputy Barney Fife.

There was no law enforcement at all in Greenleaf—except for the incidental fact that then-Canyon County Sheriff George Nourse lived just down the street from the Greenleaf Friends Church parsonage where my family and I lived, and that Canyon County deputies occasionally set up speed traps on the Highway 19 portion running through Greenleaf. Maybe they still do, I don’t know.

Dad, who was then pastor at the Friends Church, once told me Sheriff Nourse had left a note on our front door advising us to keep our doors locked at night. Nourse wasn’t a Quaker, to my knowledge, nor was Elton Winslow, whom I’ll mention later.

I don’t know that anyone kept statistics on it, but I think it’s safe to say Greenleaf’s crime rate during that era was extremely low. The only “crime” I remember in Greenleaf happened during my high school days in the mid-70s when rambunctious classmates of mine climbed onto the Greenleaf Friends Academy roof, resulting in a call to the Canyon County Sheriff’s deputies to intervene. I wasn’t actually there to witness it, but that’s my memory of the second-hand story. If I got it wrong almost forty years later, I apologize.

I do clearly remember Greenleaf at that time and even later as a very mellow, even idyllic setting. The aroma from mint fields permeated town in summertime, while sprinklers on crops tick-tick-ticked in a kind of magical country rhythm, and the corn-on-the-cob from Mom’s garden was sweet.

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