The pussy willows are all fluffed up at the ends of the willow branches in my yard; the daffodils planted by Bonnie Lou Cozby and the Village Club of Ocean Park have opened their lovely golden eyes; and just this morning I saw a small “V” of Canada geese flying north. Perhaps spring has sprung?
Though friends in Seattle and Portland are reporting occasional snow flurries, and my sis in Yakima is still digging out, our glorious, though chilly, Peninsula days have provided many opportunities for beach walks and reddening cheeks. Now we even have a couple more clamming days scheduled — so get your shovels warmed up. (I’m not a fan of clam guns; I want a fair fight.) And the Ides of March approaching.
Though Shakespeare wrote the line “Beware the Ides of March” in 1599, back in 753 B.C. March 15th was the time for a festival by the river with food, wine, and music. It was a time to mark the community’s hope for a happy and prosperous new year. So that’s the meaning I’m going to secure in my mind. (And for those interested: dates in the Late Roman Republic were expressed in relation to the lunar phases of the moon: the new moon was called Kalends and signified the first day of the month; the first quarter moon was Nones, it fell on either the fifth or seventh day of the month; and the full moon fell on either the 13th or 15th day of the month and was called Ides.)
Women of note
So now that we’ve got the moons sorted out, what else is going on around the ‘hood?
Because we just celebrated International Women’s Day, I want to give a shout out to a few of the amazing women who keep me on the rails. First, Sydney Stevens just celebrated a birthday — we don’t have to mention which number but let’s just say she gets younger every year — really! Son Charlie arrived from Southern Cal for the occasion bringing city vibes and styles. Dinner with Patty and Noel Thomas at the Bridgewater Bistro was a delight. Noel always has his sketch book with him and while the rest of us were eating he presented Charlie with a portrait of close verisimilitude. As Charlie said, “He’s definitely got the hair right!”
Another community doyen, Nanci Main — though having passed on her café to owners of the Crown Alley Irish Pub — is still making molasses cookies for her friends and the grateful firemen of Ocean Park. The aforementioned often help her mother Margaret Main (94) up Nanci’s stairs for special meals and gatherings of the tribe. (I won’t look a gift cookie in the eye, but how we miss Nanci and Jimella’s Café — the ambience and that luscious food!)
Ann Gaddy, my neighbor across Sandridge, and I have handed back and forth the same container with my oxtail soup for her and her vegetable chili for me. What a neighborly, old-fashioned tradition. Every once in awhile, I go over in the morning to watch Willapa Bay from Ann’s living room — she makes the best coffee — where I can’t help but remember that in past years her mother Martha and father Pete Hanner (our long-time community warbler) also kept an eye on the bay and its goings-on.
Another Peninsula treasure, Mary Garvey, was honored in a retirement party this past weekend along with Kim Patten — both are leaving their WSU extension office posts. Mary ably commandeered the office from the front desk where despite piles of papers and reports she knew where everything was. Sometimes after work I’d arrive with my guitar to sing a few tunes with her. (Mary’s performance at the recent Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria brought out the handkerchiefs and brought down the house when she sang the song she wrote for Kevin Soule and his too sudden departure on the bay.) I’ll miss our musical rendezvous amidst the crannies.
What women in your life are you grateful for? It’s not too late to tell them how you feel. (And Kim is pretty great too — not only did he provide help for both “crans and clams,” he spent 20 years on the school board: he’s a singular fellow.)
ICE and ACLU
Just for a moment let me also send kudos to Ann Reeves and the other members of our local ACLU and the Pacific County Immigrant Support (PCIS) subgroup for their work assisting our neighbors whose lives have been disrupted by ICE. We have good news and bad news. The bad news first. Ann writes, “I’m sorry to report that ICE is still very active in the area and two more people were arrested in Astoria last week.”
We’re still not sure why the Peninsula and environs have been so disproportionately hit with ICE arrests, but the passionate members of the ACLU were energized immediately (and catalyzed by Sydney Steven’s great reporting in the Chinook Observer) to formulate a response.
Now some good news. One small but important victory came with the passage of Keep Washington Working, Senate Bill 5497, which restricts state agencies and local police from aiding federal immigration enforcement. It protects people from unwarranted immigration checks and allows local police to focus on our community’s public safety priorities — which is, after all, what we are paying them to do.
Another aspect of the ACLU effort has included raising money to support arrested individuals, their families, and children. When a family’s bread-winner is taken into custody, the whole family suffers, even those who are American citizens.
Last November the PCIS fund raising committee set a goal of bringing in $10,000 by February. Sandy Nielson reports that they hit the mark and have now increased their goal to $12,000 by the end of March. Congratulations to all who have contributed to help. Plans are also underway for a Summer Salsa II fundraiser to be held June 2nd at the Shelburne Hotel. PCIS welcomes volunteers to help gather auction items and to assist on the day of the event. (If you’re interested, contact in Sigrine Vally, firstname.lastname@example.org, South County, or Rev Dale Larson, email@example.com, North County,) The next meeting of the Pacific County ACLU is March 17, 2:00 P.M. at the Adrift Hotel, 409 SW Sid Snyder Drive, Long Beach.
OK, so we’re probably not going to have an Ides of March community festival by the river to celebrate with food, wine, and music; but Kim’s retirement party was darn near the closest thing. There was food galore, a chance to reconnect with community friends we don’t see often enough, libations, and fiddle and guitar music by Janet and Bill. Then Kim’s “bride” Andi even interjected some class into the event — singing one song in French and one in German — followed by the lovely couple waltzing with spring in their steps.