Blogs by Harry Anderson

Rock Bottom Line || Visiting and Eating – How We Spend Our Summers on Whidbey

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Food

Mid-summer is the best time to live on Whidbey Island — but often also the busiest. My spouse and I have now completed the first two of four visits by out-of-state friends fleeing hot weather and seeking cool experiences on our Rock. I do love catching up and sharing time with these dear friends and being their tour guide, even if it sometimes cuts short my afternoon nap and patio reading time.

Of course, our half dozen friends make up less than a tiny fraction of the huge number of visitors expected on Whidbey this summer. By one estimate, we may see as many as a million folks from April through October — including the growing number of day-trippers from nearby “America” looking for a brief escape from rush-rush life and gridlock.

Rock Bottom Line | Penn Cove Water Festival: Celebrating What’s Here and What No Longer Is

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Festivals, History

I arrived just as a young woman was singing the opening blessing in the language of the Salish peoples. Then Water Festival President Vicky Reyes offered a welcome in English to the gathered tourists and locals outside the Island County Historical Museum.

“Today is a celebration of the many cultures that are here today; we are from many backgrounds and cultures,” she said. “But most of all it’s a celebration of the original cultures of Penn Cove and Whidbey Island.”

I thought that was a great way to describe the Water Festival. I stood next to a man in a Buddhist robe with two small children. Not far away was an African-American family from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. And in the back was a priest wearing a clergy collar talking with an Asian-American family.

Rock Bottom Line || Taxed by Taxes: Who Pays How Much on Whidbey?

by Harry Anderson in Blogs

I’m not one to complain about the cost of our county government here on the Rock. In fact, I think it’s just short of amazing how much our government does for the relatively small amount of tax dollars it receives.

Island County is the second-smallest county in the state of Washington. Latest population estimate: about 80,500. Approved county budget for 2017: $85.7 million. Do the math. That’s about $1,065 for every person who lives here, and it has to cover public safety and law enforcement, roads and bridges, county courts, public health, parks and recreation, and a host of other services we all take for granted.

Rock Bottom Line || Election Result Gives ‘Cocooning’ a Deeper Meaning

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, History

Is there a soul here on the Rock who isn’t whining about last month’s election results? The “End of the World” wails of despondent Hillary supporters on the South End can be heard all the way to Deception Pass. And the “Shut Up, You Elitist Sore Losers” carping of Trump supporters on the North End disturbs the peace at Scatchet Head. It’s enough to make you afraid to catch the Clinton ferry for fear of bumping into somebody who’ll give you heartburn.

I wanted to understand this phenomenon better, so I decided to apply some basic data-mining techniques, which I learned a long time ago as an economics writer, to the presidential election results on Whidbey Island.

Rock Bottom Line || Kathy Baxter’s Vision Becomes Historic Reality

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community, History, Literary

My friend Kathy Baxter is a very spiritual person. In fact, she made her living until recently as a spiritual coach, helping people overcome physical and emotional issues to find their own wisdom and truth with a variety of healing modalities.

Rock Bottom Line || Time to Break Out the Whidbey Fall Uniform

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Celebrate Writing, Community, Humor

My loving spouse and I ventured out to The Clyde Theatre on a recent Monday evening to enjoy Meryl Streep as she magnificently mangled some classical music in “Florence Foster Jenkins.” It’s a fabulous film* and The Clyde was packed.

Rock Bottom Line || Handbasket to Heaven: Bell’s strawberries Take You There

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Culinary

The handbasket into which the world is rapidly going to hell seems to grow more dangerous by the minute.

Rock Bottom Line || A Modest Proposal to Disarm a Dangerous Moment

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community

So I wonder. The Orlando massacre. Could four-dozen people be mowed down in five minutes by a deranged, hate-inspired individual with a military assault rifle on Whidbey? Here, on this peaceful, blissful, beautiful, slow-paced, placid, agreeable, mild-mannered Rock where arguments are usually resolved over a cup of coffee?

Rock Bottom Line || Apples, Pears, Crabapples and John Deere—A Reverie

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Feature

My seventh anniversary of living on Whidbey Island is coming up soon.

Oak Harbor’s Playhouse, an Ensemble Effort

by Harry Anderson in Feature, More Stories, Theater and Dance

It’s a warm evening in the dog days of summer, but things are jumping and sweat is glistening on enthusiastic bodies inside the 93-year-old Whidbey Playhouse building on Midway Boulevard in Oak Harbor.

Rock Bottom Line || WAY More Than 50 Shades of Gray on our Rock

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Feature

OK, I admit it. I’m old. Even by Whidbey Island standards. I’m not a millennial, or a Gen Y’er or a Gen X’er, or even a Baby Boomer.

She’s Retired as Mayor, but this Native Daughter is Still ‘Queen of Coupeville’

by Harry Anderson in Community, Feature, More Stories

Nancy Conard first came to Coupeville when she was a year and a half old; her dad was in the Navy.

Rock Bottom Line || Hope springs eternal for a Whidbey gardener

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Gardens

It was dark and dank outside, one of those January days on our Rock when I wish we really had bought that condo in Palm Springs, locked up and flown south, like most birds have the good sense to do.

Rock Bottom Line || Time to Re-Separate Church and State

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community

This is the time of year we hear a lot about religion. Mostly about Christianity because of Christmas, but also about Judaism because of Hanukkah.

Rock Bottom Line || What could be more frightening than Falling Back?

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community, Travel

Halloween’s come and gone, but I’m still scared half out of my wits. It was bad enough to be confronted by all manner of vampires, goblins, witches and Caitlyn Jenner look-alikes at those parties on Oct. 31. But the real horror began after midnight—at 2 a.m. on Nov. 1, to be exact.

Rock Bottom Line || Adopting the ‘What Me Worry?’ Approach to the Really Big One

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community, Humor

Are you spending sleepless nights fretting about the Really Big One? Not me. I prefer to enjoy this beautiful, sunny summer in blissful and purposeful denial.

Rock Bottom Line || Proudly, Anxiously, Increasingly Non-Urban

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community, Music

For most of my life, I lived in big cities and drove crowded freeways with aplomb. In Los Angeles, I could maneuver my sensible, four-cylinder Volvo sedan on the insanely congested
I-405 with the skill of a Maserati owner. I stuck to the inside lane of the I-10 and made it from my Santa Monica apartment to my job in downtown El Lay in half an hour.

Rock Bottom Line || Happily Living as My Grandpa on Whidbey

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community, Gardens

Since I moved to Whidbey Island six years ago, a strange but wonderful phenomenon has overtaken me. I am becoming my grandpa.

To some extent, it’s understandable. I recently celebrated a birthday with a zero in it. The one they call “the new 50.” Hear me chuckle about that, as my knees hurt and my shoulders ache and I fall asleep in my chair at 9 p.m.

Rock Bottom Line || How we look by the numbers

by Harry Anderson in Blogs, Community

When a Whidbey tourist sweetly asks me what kind of people live here, I usually give a standard “Kumbaya” answer I hear others spout. “…Lovely, caring, environmentally conscious, giving, artsy folk…devoted to our island’s sustainable, natural, local life style.”

OK, if pressed, I will go beyond what’s in the glossy tri-fold on the ferry…