Excerpts From “The Heart of Vashon”
August 2023, Literary

Excerpts From “The Heart of Vashon”

The Vashon Way: How to Be Mistaken for a Local
By Gayle Kellner

When you run out of almond milk and have to go purchase more, put on a loose-fitting dress and mismatched sweater, preferably hand-knit. Finish off your outfit with a pair of rubber boots. If they look new, walk through a couple of mud puddles on your way to your Subaru.

Note to the nearest person within earshot you are going “up town.” There is a distinct difference between that and going “in town” which means you’ll be catching a ferry boat.

Run at least 5 minutes late everywhere you go. Be exceedingly polite at the 4-way stop – the likely reason you are late.

Don’t wash your car unless it is to support a local school fundraiser. The scraping of moss once it has taken over 50 percent of the windshield is permissible every few years, as is the removal of small saplings sprouting in the crevices, so long as you replant them.

Regularly recycle; listen to Voice of Vashon radio. Buy local produce, eat kale by the bale, and consider getting your own chickens.

Pronounce Maury with a long “o” sound, and consider a tattoo if you don’t already have one.

Know Who To Trust
By Frank Walls

It was early summer of 1928 when an almost new Model T truck was driven into our front yard followed by a car with two men in it. Dad went out to meet them. Axel Peterson, the Vashon State Bank president, stepped out of the car.

Dad and he warmly shook hands and, after some small talk, Axel asked Dad if it was true that his truck was broken down. Dad said it was, as he didn’t have the money to fix it. Dad was a shipwright, home-builder and cabinet-maker. In berry-growing season, he hauled berries to canneries on and off the Island. He also co-managed the Vashon Cannery. Axel knew all this, as he was at the financial heart of the Island.

Axel told Dad he thought he needed a new truck and that, as he had repossessed the Model T, he thought Dad should have it. Dad responded that we could not afford it.

Axel tossed the truck keys to Dad and said “I’m selling this one to you for $600. Pay me when you can.” He turned his back, leaving Dad speechless, got into his car with the other two men and drove away.

Dad and Mom saved pennies and paid the truck off in a year. It was a prosperous year in part to having that new truck. And thanks to a very knowledgeable small-town banker who knew who to trust and when.

A Vashon Moment
By Carla Pryne

It was a Vashon moment.

Walking in lower Gold Beach, we spotted a mature bald eagle landing on a tree just ahead. It seemed this eagle had an awfully large head, as there was a very large shock of white near the top of the tree.

As we drew closer, we saw why: there were two eagles, side by side, surveying the shore and the sound, motionless except for occasional tilts of those great heads. We were pretty much spellbound. Another woman joined us and looked up to where we pointed. After a few quiet moments, she put into words what my friend and I were feeling: “It’s so beautiful it makes my heart ache.”

Vashon moments happen a lot. This Island is a place where it is not uncommon for people to point at something that breaks their hearts with delight. Sometimes what stops us may be something considered rare. More often though, it’s something commonplace: your neighbor’s goat with its head turned just so; a mare galloping across the pasture, wind and light catching her mane and tail; a young buck strolling across the tide flats at Tramp Harbor.

We share these moments of joy and acclamation. And in so doing, we encourage each other in the wider work of healing the planet, the commons of life we share with all who live on this blue-green pellet, bright in a very large universe.

Golden Rules of Commuting
By Lorna Delano Cunningham

Golden Rules of Commuting:
Commuting is not for the faint of heart.
Patience is a virtue.
Never cut in front of another commuter.

“Back in the day” ferry workers could see you coming down the hill, or if you gave a good long honk, they would hold the ferry and wait for you! I seldom run into folks I know on the ferries anymore, but one thing has never changed: the ride home!

It is my firm belief that “True Vashonites” show up with no time frame in mind. Waiting in line is for being neighborly, napping, singing, hanging over the dock rail watching for sea life as gulls glide on the wind above, calling out the day.

August 7, 2023

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