EDITOR'S COLUMN | Ready or not, summer is over

Just a few weeks ago, the focus of this column was a tribute to Whidbey Island’s awesome September weather. Thirty days of sunshine, warm temperatures and healthy doses of Northwest fog.

How quickly things can change.

The weather rolled in and summer came to an end just like that, leaving us to scratch our heads and wonder, “Can it really be over already?”

In fact, fall arrived with all the delicacy of an angry rhinoceros, unexpectedly claiming two greatly anticipated South Whidbey events — Children’s Day at Community Park and the Soup Box Derby in Langley. Both are annual affairs and were scrubbed by organizers because of stormy conditions on Saturday.

Both decisions were probably for the best, but that doesn’t make the disappointment any easier to swallow. Being robbed of those summer pastimes was a bitter pill indeed.

Volunteers put in thought, time and energy only to have their visions of a great 2013 event drenched by fall downpours.

Of course the public lost too, especially those intrepid thrill seekers who had planned to race their way into history at the Soup Box Derby. They sweated for months, some perhaps all year, building the perfect hotrod that would wow the crowds and successfully roll across the finish line on First Street.

For a newspaperman, who was looking forward to his first derby ever, news of the cancellation early Saturday morning was met with dismay. Page one had for weeks been planned around an imagined photograph of a fearless racer. He or she would have been wearing bomber goggles, of course, and their eyes would have only just been visible over the rim of a wobbly steering wheel. Perhaps a red sash would have billowed behind them in the wind.

Images of Amelia Earhart come to mind and the ambition would have been to capture a moment that might move readers to smile or, even better, inspire them to build their own Soup Box racer.

But it was not to be.

While one team did refuse to capitulate, shaking their fists at the heavens and making a run down First Street in defiance of the weather — see page 11 for the story — the rest of us will just have to wait for 2014.

In the meantime, volunteers will plan, racers will tinker  and aspiring newspapermen will dream of pictures as enjoyable as the fleeting September sun.

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