A heartfelt homage to Hearts & Hammers | ALL ABOARD

Once a year, on the first Saturday of May, an extreme goodness fills the air, an extreme goodness that began 19 years ago when 90 Hearts and Hammers volunteers broke bread, backs and brawn to repair 17 South Whidbey homes.

Once a year, on the first Saturday of May, an extreme goodness fills the air, an extreme goodness that began 19 years ago when 90 Hearts and Hammers volunteers broke bread, backs and brawn to repair 17 South Whidbey homes.

What happens on this day of extreme goodness can only be experienced.

No description, whether in word, song or photograph, can explain the unexplainable.

People helping people.

Neighbors helping neighbors.

Friends helping friends.

It is a day of extreme goodness which connects the goodness that already exists.

With a 500-word limitation on these monthly musings, publisher protocol does not permit thanking the more than 500 Hearts & Hammers volunteers who gathered last May 7 in the wetness and the wind to work wonders for more than 50 homes in our community.

People like Dave Johnson, Rob Hetler, Jim Scullin, Chris Spencer and Richard Epstein, a five-pack of professional perseverers, joined with like-minded community care sharers to, as Dr. Ric Prael often encouraged, “scatter joy.”

To paraphrase the Hometown Hero namesake of the recently dedicated Ric Prael Administrative Center at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley, Hearts & Hammers not only “scatters joy,” it “plants joy.”

In fact, Hearts & Ham-mers not only plants joy, it sows it, layers it and composts it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Over Soul” essay is Hearts & Hammers annual “Over Joy” reality.

This year, for the third time in almost 30 years, Hearts & Hammers gave my loose caboose in Freeland an extreme makeover.

What has always been a non-mowable, ivy-infested slope of guerrilla growth is now a beautiful garden of pansies, nasturtiums, kale, Swiss chard and —  someday down the road — a pumpkin!

What has always been a rained-on, mold-creating shed of sentiment is now free and clear of a lifetime of unpacked memories.

Now I have a clean, and in some places dry, 8-by-12 storage space for my tools.

All five of them.

Room for Ray Gabelein’s rake, Pat Tompkins’ maul, Bill McKinley’s chain saw and two shovels without handles.

What an estate sale it shall some day be!

Where 83-year-old cracked caboose windows leaked liquid sunshine, there is now an unobstructed view of the second largest beautifully blooming cherry tree on South Whidbey.

No longer will unsolicited solicitors slip on steps en route to rot.

Harrison built new steps!

All of my wet, abandoned rounds of next winter’s firewood?

Split and stacked, thanks to Hearts & Hammers.

They got ’er done and get ’er done, rain or shine, hot or cold, wet or wild.

My dedicated Team No. 29, sporting the name tags of Harrison, Erin, Lee, Margaret, Dave, Helen, Christine, Lauren, Chris, Linda and Lucas, spent a full day in the cool wetness completing tasks that I never could have completed by myself.

God bless you, Hearts & Hammers.

You know who you are, even if we don’t.

Thanks for your giving and receiving.

Thanks for your sharing and caring.

Thanks for reinforcing the reality of our incredible community, further connecting and co-creating the goodness that is.

If you care to become involved in this incredible life affirming experience next year, please enjoy their informative and picturesque website, www.heartsandhammers.com, or leave a message at 221-6063.

Come next May, on the first Saturday, you too could be joining hundreds of other like-minded Hearts

& Hammers volunteers, whistling while you work, even if it rains.

More in Life

moon
Pumpkin pie in the sky

A harvest moon loomed in the sky over Whidbey Island this week.

Peaceful Valley
Learning center takes school to the farm

Peaceful Valley Learning Center held its first day of school Sept. 13.

See caption
Need rises for baking group volunteers

A volunteer coordinator is also being sought for North and Central Whidbey.

memorial
They found a beautiful spot for some good friends to rest

When Jim Sherman and Michael Ferri moved to Coupeville, they brought four old friends with them.

Chewbacca is affectionate, playful and full of energy. He is up for adoption at the Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation after being abandoned in a field off Highway 20 near Coupeville. (Photo provided by Shari Bibich)
‘Chewie’ ready for a home

A very good boy is searching for a forever home after being abandoned in a field off Highway 20.

See caption
Photos: Making a splash

Edmonds resident Janine Harles captured photos of orcas swimming along the Clinton shoreline.

From left, Sarah Gallella, Jill Jackson and Erin Tombaugh take a sip of tea during their bows. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Live theater returns to Whidbey Playhouse with three-woman show

The Playhouse’s first show of the long-awaited season will be “Tea for Three.”

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Cadesha Pacquette sets up a pop-up picnic spread similar to one she created for a young girl’s birthday party. Pacquette said her new venture has been popular with military families celebrating a spouse’s return from deployment, anniversaries or just to have fun outdoors.
Pop-up beach picnics are a popular way to celebrate coming home

Navy wife’s new business a big hit for deployments, anniversaries

Season of live entertainment planned for Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

After a year and a half of online events, WICA is planning a season of indoor, in-person events.

Karina Andrew/Whidbey News Group
Oak Harbor's famous chicken dances with the crowds at the Oak Harbor Music Festival Saturday. Ever the trendsetter, it appears a flock of fans have copied his signature pose while he struts about the town during the multi-day music festival.
Free-range fun

Oak Harbor’s famous Chucky Chicken danced with the crowds at the Oak… Continue reading

Photo provided by Ted Mihok
Whidbey Lions clubs provide medical supplies to Mexico

The Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Central Whidbey Lions Clubs’ influence extends far beyond the island.

A virus, a trial, a judgment coming to Whidbey Island Center for the Arts

A one-night reading of “The Trial of Doctor Fuchetti” is coming to the WICA main stage this Saturday.