One day in the slow lane doesn’t counteract the power players or powerhouse activities on the Peninsula. I could barely catch my breath between events last weekend.

First Nanci Main had a birthday bouillabaisse — “boo” — celebration with 30-some folks who, though they know each other, rarely get together in the same room at the same time. Even before a quorum was reached, the din of gabbing and laughter was uproarious. Ann Gaddy and Veronica Williams talked mushrooms (or who knows what?) for two hours straight. Shelly Pollock looks gorgeous dahlink! Community king-pin, Rita Nicely, passed the cowboy hat.

Sydney and Nyel Stevens, just back from Quebec, sat across from Cyndy Hayward, who’s just finished the 2017 cohort selection for Willapa Bay AIR. John and Kathy Vale sneaked over from the spaghetti fund-raiser for Community Table at the Senior Center — “I’m not missing my boo,” John said. Rosanne McPhail talked about her upcoming mother-daughter trip to Yale.

Nanci’s 92-year-old mother, Margaret Main, rolled over from Golden Sands. Rosemary Hallin, DJ Bogue and Ed Strange kept Mother Main smiling. Artist Bette Lu Krause, fresh from her successful open studio, was on the team rolling Margaret back to “Shady Pines” when the crowd got too rambunctious.

And after a four- or five-course meal — but who was counting? — chef Katie Witherbee with Joanna Ewald, Marianne Mott, Patti Johnstone, and others brought out — suddenly we were counting! — three birthday cakes, quickly consumed after the candles were blown out.

Then despite our first winter storm, a record number of folks brought their beloved animals to the South Pacific County Humane Shelter for a blessing delivered by Pastor Luke of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach. Four-year shelter volunteer Joyce Lang — “I started out cleaning the cat rooms and worked my way up to the reception desk” — said, “We have so many more animals this year than we usually have, and two horses!”

Yes, Katherine Justh was riding one: 14-year old Cash-for-Game. “Just call him Bob for short,” she said. “On his mom’s side he’s got Man-of-War and on his dad’s Son of Bully Bullion, a famous barrel racer. Yup, he’s high steppin’ all right and he’s totally spoiled. I grind up pumpkin and flax seeds for him. He gets carrots. He’s really well trained — he pees on command!”

Dale Shoemaker, with help from Stacey Weber, brought in his two dogs: a tiny Yorkie named Queenie and a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, a hunting breed. There were all sizes of poodles, lots of rescue mixes, and even a cat or two.

Pastor Luke began the ceremonies in the parking lot just as another rain squall settled in. Even so, it was moving to be amidst the animals as his prayer began: “O God, as you take care of us, so let us take care of the animals who trust us. Help us to protect earth’s creatures and to make the necessary changes in our impact on the world that they may continue to thrive.” Pastor Luke then went to each individual animal and caregiver, blessing them both.

Having bombed back from Anacortes to catch the bouillabaisse party and the animal blessing, I continued in the fast-lane, meeting Water Music Society (WMS) director and board vice chair Diane Marshall and publicity chair Rosemary Andrews to talk about the upcoming Water Music Festival, Oct. 14 and 15.

WMS, another of our remarkable Peninsula organizations, is celebrating its 32nd year. In 1984, a group of pioneering residents decided to bring chamber music to the Peninsula. Dennis Crabb, a musician and teacher in the Naselle and Ocean Beach School Districts in the 1970s and ‘80s, convinced Pat Thomas to become the president of the fledgling group. Other founding members included Anne Hauser, Carlos Welsh, Ann Saari, Doug Goelz, Kathleen Sayce, Pat Welling, Joel Penoyar, Dennis and Kathie Crabb, Mike and Amanda Robinson, and Ann Kischner. They were known for “leaving no pun unturned” with food options like the “Bach lunch,” and a rallying cry, “Go for Baroque.”

So, in that spirit, I ask you, “Water you doing for entertainment this month?” I suggest you run not walk to the nearest computer and see if you can still get tickets (online here: Note that the range of music has broadened over the years. Pearl Django, a gypsy-jazz-rhythmic-swing combo with Django Reinhardt-style accordion and some fantastic fiddling is one of three featured acts this year. For an added treat, they’ll be joined by 2010 vocalist of the year, soulful Gail Pettis. (Check out their recent Jazz Alley gig in Seattle:

If your taste runs more to the classical, you’ll adore the world-class musicality of Cavatina Duo: the husband and wife team of Eugenia Moliner, flute, and Denis Azabagic, guitar. Their recent CD “Cavatina at the Opera” received the American Record Guide’s Critic’s Choice, Best of 2015. (Snatch a quick listen here on their interpretation of “Primavera,” by Astor Piazzolla. Their technical brilliance will wow you: )

Unfortunately the performance of premier pianist, Tien Hsieh, playing at the Leadbetter Farms, is already sold out. (You see why I say run not walk.) The venues this year — Inn at Harbor Village, Oysterville Church and Leadbetter — are acoustically stellar, and, of course, the audiences are so appreciative. Many people come from other states, and have for years, planning their vacations around Water Music performances. So when these top-flight musicians consider coming to the Peninsula, they often ask, “Now where are you again?” But, as we hear from Diane, they end by saying, “How soon can we come back?”

Though Hsieh’s performance is sold-out, she’ll be giving a student concert on the Ilwaco high school 1964 Steinway, repaired and restored by the WMS in 1987. WMS has always supported school music programs. Funds are donated every year to the music departments for special projects; visiting musicians conduct workshops in the schools; and comp tickets are made available to our students.

If you want to do more than purchase tickets for these great performances, there are other ways you can ensure WMS continues for another 32 years. “We’ll be needing a few new board members as some of our long-standing volunteers step-down,” said Rosemary. “And of course other donations are warmly appreciated. Endowed funds are especially helpful for us.” So if you’d like to discuss more sustainable support for the Water Music Society, board president Suzy Ackerman would love to talk to you about membership, sponsorship, or endowments. (Contact her at

We may live at the end of the road, or even the end of the world as the Beach Barons tell us, but I think our pace of activities can rival just about anywhere, especially if our spirit and ingenuity are measured per capita. Whether it’s blessing the horses or tickling the ivories, our community takes my breath away.

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