Only on vashon – the weekly rundown 05/07/21

Rhubarb is growing, and we’ve been sharing rhubarb recipes. We’ve got a chutney to pour over ice cream and rhubarb soaked in gin for two weeks. We’re putting it in soups, sorbets, and chili. My recipe is to give rhubarb to my neighbors and then it magically turns into pie. 

We’ve had an intense discussion about leaving stuff by the side of the road. I got my dishwasher, my nightstand, and half my wardrobe by the side of the road, so I’m all in favor of putting free stuff on the curb. That said, people should only leave stuff in front of their own houses and not dump broken lamps on someone else’s property. (That’s littering.) And if something’s been hanging around on the curb for a few days, then it may be time to toss it or take it to Granny’s. This seems pretty simple, but we got heated about it, accusing people of not being from here and demanding to see people’s residency papers and getting mad at people for being legitimately mad about something.

Who gets to decide how we do things around here? Only people who’ve lived here for a generation? Should everyone have a say in how their community runs, regardless of how long they’ve  lived there? Or does that perpetuate gentrification, causing cultural loss? The world population has doubled since 1970, and we all have to live somewhere. How do we make room for all the new people who live here without losing the unique local qualities? How much change should we accept as a natural part of time progressing, and how much of our culture should we work to conserve? I think this is what we’re really talking about when we argue about whether leaving a lamp by the side of the road is how we do things here. 

Some suggested that free road stuff is a way around participating in capitalism, whereas donating to Granny’s is perpetuating a money-obsessed culture. A store that sells used goods (so no new material extraction or manufacture), then uses their proceeds to fund community grants, doesn’t sound quite like capitalism to me.

The discussion got so out of hand that people wondered if I have created alias accounts to cause drama so that I have something to write about. I’m not clever or hard-working enough to do that, but I’ll keep that plan on the back burner just in case. 

Speaking of stuff by the side of the road, be sure to remove yard sale signs after the sale is over, or we’ll be showing up at your house every Saturday trying to buy the lawn flamingos out of your garden.

We’re reminded that there is no poop fairy, so we need to pick up our dog’s poo. Though a poop fairy would be nice. Imagine if I got a quarter for every steamer Woofy dropped. 

He could make me a millionaire

Jehovah’s witnesses have been sending letters quoting scripture and inviting us to find salvation by visiting their website.

We discussed what we do when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come by. We can swear at them and shake our brooms, or slowly close the door while saying, “sorry, no time, pot’s boiling on the stove.”

Although young evangelizers set out to convert people, they mostly face repeated rejection. This can cause Jehovah’s Witnesses to learn that the outside world is harsh, cruel, and unaccepting. I suggest being kind when they come by, so they know that if they ever choose to leave the church, there is a world that will accept them. Maybe offer them some rhubarb.

A Chinese rocket is falling out of the sky, and we’re trying to figure out where to see it before it burns and crashes. Hopefully it will land in the ocean, though the whales may disagree with me here. If it lands by the side of the road, I call dibs.

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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