Only on Vashon – The Weekly Rundown 04/15/2022

I’m back from vacation and ready to catch up on two weeks’ worth of posts. The common thread for April has been that we miss the Old Vashon. We start with this post: 

“I wish Vashon had a little country bar with dance floor 🎶

Some think Sound Foods would be a good location for this. We could just push all the antiques from the estate sales out of the way and throw down some sawdust. 

It turns out that in the 60s, Sound Foods was called the Gambit. It had a Beatnik theme with pillows on the floor. I’d say we could bring that back, but it’d be hard to square dance on pillows. 

One islander suggests that the new Dig Deep space could host a “contra dance night.”  Obviously this was a typo, but we’re rolling with it. Look out for what an isalnder describes as  “country line-dancing with RPGs and hardline extremist views.”

There are rumors that a barn is being built specifically for this purpose (country dancing, not contra dancing). It will be so well known that people will call it The Barn. (Not to be confused with The Jesus Barn) (Or The Old Jesus Barn)

Speaking of venues, we’re still commenting on a post from June about the Red Bike. 

The gist is that we miss all the things that are gone, like the Portage Store, the Dockton Store, the Alibi, the Tahlequah Store, the bowling alley, and the exercise bikes. Businesses have consolidated and are now owned by fewer people, and a lot of the community feel of the isalnd is gone. 

One isalnder explains it this way: “The difference (impo) is we were raised to be a part of the “community”. Nobody is connected to the community anymore. At least not like we were.”

Maybe we can solve the crisis of community dissolution with the right type of food? We have this suggestion:  “what this pretentious cowpie needs is gizzards. Deep-fried In a basket, with grease dripping onto some nice crunchy chips or maybe jojos!”

Some people don’t like how people are talking about the Red Bike. The grandchild of the original bartender of the place chimes in to say that their grandfather was the kindest, gentlest person to ever walk the Earth, and they kindly and gently offer to fight anyone who insults the place. 

Another new and unwelcome island phenomenon is road rage.

We have this vaguepost “So.. apparently some old lady thinks it’s totally fine to cuss out teenagers for doing legal, totally appropriate things. #getalife” 

We take pity on the angry old lady. Sometimes you’re just mad and need to yell at the closest vulnerable target. And who better to yell at than a bunch of teen girls? 

The situation is later clarified: “The girls passed someone (going 30) at like 42mph, on a legal stretch of road. They were flipped off, followed (tail gated) to the bank, & screamed and cussed at. Best part was the lady said they “must not be from the island, because we don’t drive like that here.” 💩

Little does she know, the most time-honored Vashon tradition is passing someone on the highway.

You know what would make the driver chill out? Deep-fried gizzards. 

Speaking of the good old times when the businesses had different names and no one drove poorly, we have this painting of people sitting outside Bob’s Bakery (now Vashon Baking Company.) It’s being given to someone who used to work there and could make a ham croissant the way they used to be made (presumably with trans-fats.) 

Hey, I recognize that bench!

Finally, we miss our old dogs. An isalnder asks, “Have you ever come across a painting or sketch of a white dog (a lab), with three legs, resting in front of the Burton Store? This was done sometime in the early 80s. I have only heard of its existence, but never seen it. The dog was mine. His name was Jake. He used to walk me to the school bus stop every morning and wait there with Sandy until the bus brought me back in the afternoon. I would LOVE to find this. I would greatly appreciate any tips or suggestions. I don’t have a clue how to find it.”

Even though no one has come forward with a picture, many remember the dog findly. As one islander says, “Some people still give directions such as, “turn left at the four-way where the dog used to sleep in the road.”

I’m sure with effort and kindness, we can go back to the way things were, when Vashon was a tight-knit community and you could make a living as a quirky artist or by running a mom-and-pop shop. Now I’ll just take a big sip of coffee and open my property tax bill. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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