A modest proposal
Now that we have our Peninsula back from the hordes, I’ve been breathing easier. Since that long, loud and insane Fourth of July weekend, I’ve relaxed into the glorious summer days that finally graced our land. But I’m still left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Looking back, I can’t help but think, “Now remind us, please… who wants this fireworks insanity?” Let’s look at the out-of-balance equation. Our businesses reap the benefits of the masses of humanity that descend upon us. But for us lowly locals — who by the way support our businesses 365 days a year — what do we get in return? I mean besides long lines at the grocery stores, no places to park, fireworks in the streets, mass chaos on the beach, tons of leftover trash and outrageous debris, fires in the dumpsters, endangerment to our Vet friends, our pets, our wildlife (I had two baby fawns in my yard completely terrorized), and the feeling that our home has been overrun by hooligans.
Sharing the fireworks windfall
If our local businesses keep pushing for the continuation of fireworks, and our officials remain ham-handed, I have a modest proposal. The business people — who are the main benefactors of this craziness — need to pay us locals back for their windfall. I say some generous percentage of the money they make on the “Weekend from Hell” should come back to the community. I have several suggestions for how to make this work.
First, let’s say 10% of this fireworks windfall — from both fireworks stands and all local businesses — should be paid into the South Pacific County Community Foundation (spccf.org) to benefit the various worthwhile non-profits serving our county. (I note that SPCCF hasn’t asked for this; so don’t give them a hard time for my idea.) Or — a second idea would be for all local businesses that benefit from fireworks to pay into a pool and give us locals $50 gift cards (is this enough?) to be used at gas stations, grocery stores, or local restaurants. Or — these cash cards could be deposited directly into our various bank accounts. It would simply be a blood money payment for the outrageousity demanded of us by our businesses.
I’ve been told that we can’t “Just Say No!” — as Cannon Beach did — because these poor Brobdingnagian Bubbas with their monster trucks loaded with thousands of dollars of Big Booms would just go off the rails and, in confusion, start firing off ballistics in the forests, in the parks, on back roads, in front of our houses, wherever. One reveler told our fire department that he’d bought four hours of fireworks! (He probably spent enough money for a down payment on a small house.)
Enough is enough. There have been so many people spending so many hours for so long trying to get rid of fireworks… so I say, either just say no, or pay us locals for the hellishness.
Music in the Gardens
OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest — at least temporarily — let me talk about these incredibly gorgeous summer days. We, who thought summer would never come, can now glory in blue skies, beach walks, roses blooming, the sounds of lawn mowers, and delicious gatherings with friends around a grill or campfire.
This past weekend was a summer bounty of Peninsula events, nearly too many to take advantage of. First was Music in the Gardens, honchoed yet again by the administratively amazing Nancy Allen. I took in four remarkable gardens of the seven offered and discovered — as happens every year of this event — a range of styles, a wealth of information, and a largess of beauty and goodwill.
Perhaps most remarkable and least expected was the “Un-garden” of Kelly Rupp and Bev Arnold. In 2013 these two began a restoration project on a property that has a long Peninsula history: the oystering site established by Herman and Berta Eberhardt.
Herman was a Renaissance man of multiple talents: a world traveler, author, oysterman, and nationally known scout master who guided upwards of 30 local boys to Eagle Scout status. Herman, with his equally astounding and hard-working wife Berta, established an oyster cannery and shucking station just south of Moby Dick, bulldozing bay access to a Quonset hut so that oystering scows could be off-loaded by skiffs and their oysters brought in to be opened and canned. (See the Chinook Observer archives for more of the story: tinyurl.com/3hj62vsd)
The property, for sale around 2004, tempted several buyers with the prospect of creating a home on the shores of Willapa Bay. But another option developed. Kelly was on hand to explain to garden visitors that with the scuba diving help of Kathleen Sayce, he and Bev are transitioning the property. “Eberhardt made this cut in the ridge in 1947. Now we’re trying to change ‘Lake Kelly and the Isle of Bev’ from an industrial site back into tidelands. We’ve been working with the Corps of Engineers on the transformation.”
What’s remarkable is how much can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time in the gardening world. The trail to the ridge overlooking the bay includes multiple native plantings. “We’re still learning what Nature can teach us about a coastal forest,” said Kelly. “Our plants have come from Scott and Dixie Edwards at Watershed Garden Works in Longview. They’ve been a valuable resource.” (www.watershedgardenworks.com/nursery). Nootka reed grass, red alder, western red cedar, salal, hooker’s willow, big leaf maple, huckleberry, Doug fir, spruce and other favorites were planted along bark-lined paths. The whole site is inspirational.
Goats, chickens, rhubarb!
Another standout was Deb Howard’s nine-acre Willapa Heritage Farm. OMG, Deb must have a crew of minions watering, weeding, and tenderly tending to all the flora and fauna on her property. Scads of “happy chickens” puffed, preened, fluffed up and dusted themselves. Cute black and white goats gamboled and poked their noses through the fence.
Fred Carter entertained at the farm for five hours straight — whadda guy! He even had a magical tech thingy that allowed him to sing harmony with hiself. David Campiche had a table of stunning ceramics and pottery. Cookies were served.
Just next door was Steve McCormick and John Stevens’ “national park of rhodies” where luscious goodies were served on the lanai; George Coleman strummed tunes in the greenery; and Jacob Moore displayed his beautiful forged and hammered jewelry and welded gates.
I’m only scratching the surface here. I heard tell that 179 people rode the hay wagon at Ardell and Malcolm McPhail’s CranMac Farms, assisted by a sun-baked Steve Kovach. Mike and Kathy Freeman showed off their 1906 Chandler & Price letterset press, as well as flowers and fountains. And folks were oogling and ogling the amazing array of clever birdhouses in Gail and Bill Delfosse’s backyard. Needless to say, the remarkable and usually hidden gardening wonders on the Peninsula continue to delight.
Music at Cape D
A day of veritable riches continued when friends and I ventured to Cape D for the lively music of En Canto, a female-led sextet playing Brazilian dance music (www.encantobrazil.com/about.html). The evening was perfect: cool breezes wafted in from Waikiki Beach where, before the show, a large family was playing baseball (home run retrieval involved wading).
It was impossible to sit still when En Canto revved up. Lead singer Adriana Giordana was especially adept at getting us on our feet. She wielded her triangle with verve and led a dancing train all around the benches and camp chairs. Kids bounced, danced, and ran everywhere. And, of course, the place was rife with dogs — from two-pound Chihuahua, Kiko, to gentle giant, Saylor, an Airedale terrier weighing in at 88 pounds. Cape D concerts are free and family-friendly: more info here tinyurl.com/2nvwkdam.
In sum, aren’t we lucky to live at the beach in the midst of our spectacular “summer daze?”
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