Only on Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 09/16/2022

We start with a philosophical question. Why is Cemetery Road spelled correctly on some signs, but on others it’s spelled “cemetary?” 

An astute islander points out that “cemetery reads like “cemeterie” like a cute little shop that sells little cement yard sculptures and candle holders made out of artisanal cement and glitter.”

Whoever wrote that comment has an amazing mind and I will never view the endless oblivion of death the same again. 

A linguistic descriptivist lets us know that language is always in flux with this bit of info: “I did some googling. The official spelling is indeed cemetery. Its Latin and Greek roots mean a resting place and validate the three e spelling. However, it is spelled with an a often enough that some scholars accept the “a” as an acceptable variant ie Stephen King’s Pet Cematary.”

So now that we know there are multiple ways to spell Cemetary, why did they spell it differently on the same road? 

Perhaps because variety is the spice of life. 

One islander wonders if the street signs were written by the same crew who put “25 MHP” in Burton some years back. 

Maybe that wasn’t a mistake, so much as artistic license. They’re scolding you, saying “25 miles an hour, punk.” 

Or maybe 25 is the maximum horsepower in that area, meaning anything more than a 1935 Rolls Royce would be over the limit. 

And speaking of language arts skills, someone is concerned about the literacy rate on Vashon. They posted a picture of a sign from Island Center Forest with a lot of text on it that I didn’t bother reading because it was too long. But then they also posted a picture  with the caption “Canine companions are welcome if they are leashed.” So I’m guessing the poster thinks we can’t understand that sentence and that’s why we let our dogs go off leash. 

In all fairness, it’s a complicated sentence. Just say, “dogs must be leashed.” Otherwise, I could argue that my dog isn’t so much my companion as my pet, and thus the rule doesn’t apply to him. 

Fall is in the air, which means it’s spider season. One islander says, “I do not handle Vashon spiders well! I swear they are out big time this year.”

Fun fact about me: I’m scared of basically everything except spiders. If a spoon falls on the ground I startle at the noise, but I can pick up a giant wolf spider and place it lovingly outside. 

Apparently, I’m not the only one. One commenter says, “I love the big wolf spiders. Pick them up out of my tub almost every day this time of year❤️” That person is then lauded as having rescued one from a shower just the day before. 

Another person says, “OMG they’re out in force as of today!! I got two facefuls today!! 😬🕷” I’m so jealous! There’s nothing like stepping outside and being graced by the angelic touch of spider silk in your hair and face and in your mouth. 

We also learn about this cool craft that kids did back in the day.  “When I was a kid we would spray the webs with spray paint then put a paper through it. It made very pretty art”

In other local animal news, you can vote for Juno the legless rooster to be America’s Favorite Pet 2022. 

Here are some fun facts about Juno from the America’s Favorite Pet website: 

The chicken who eats a healthier diet than I do and then poops up the house is definitely a winner in my book. I think he may even have unofficial mayor potential. 


Finally, we have a  post overflowing with big dreams and emojis about what could be done with the Portage Store. Some ideas: 

  1. Open up the channel and possibly discover bones. 
  2. Demolish the store.
  3. Build a bridge to the adjacent lot.
  4. Build a new store with a fish n’ chips window.
  5. Failing that, build a floating store that sells fish n’ chips to people on the dock.
  6. Then the store could sell art, jewelry, tackle, and have a cat to pet (I’m not sure if this is a land-bound store or the floating store.)
  7. Whatever land is left could be used for a small park

We’re generally enthusiastic about her plan, and suggest she start a GofundMe.

But there’s one hitch some people bring up:  Where would we park our cars to enjoy the store and the beautifully restored natural area? 

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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