ALL ABOARD | Whidbey’s own ‘Ben Franklin’ rightfully gets his due

Array

If you are like me, you will not be reading this page of our paper until Monday morning.

Today is Saturday.

It is Island County Fair week.

Where else would you be today, assuming you are in town, but the Island County Fair?

Easy now, this is a family paper. This morning, Saturday, Aug. 21, the 86th Annual Island County Fair Parade will commence in the streets of Langley, our Village by the Sea.

This year’s grand marshal, Jim Larsen, is the always venerable, seldom vivacious and never voluminous editor of the Whidbey News-Times, the mother ship of the Sound Publishing Group, which also owns the daddy ship, NW Navigator, and the mother-in-law ship, the South Whidbey Record.

Jim was my first ever editor when I began in the professional newspaper biz a couple of decades ago.

Jim taught me the most important part of community newspaper writing when he advised, “If you want folks to read you, put their name in it.”

My first column was easy — the three columns of the South Whidbey phone book that listed all the Andersons.

Jim decided not to print it because it was already too long, plus I had not mentioned the two columns of Andersens.

What did I know about Scandihoovian spelling?

Today’s venerable grand marshal reminds me of the 1971 Rose Bowl Parade when Reverend Billy Graham was the venerable grand marshal.

Ohio State was playing in the game that year against Stanford.

Fortunately, we had end zone seats so we could leave early without being seen on TV while Stanford’s QB Jim Plunkett humiliated Woody Hayes and his over-confident Buckeyes. I was in the Marines at the time, almost as bald as I am now, but back then baldness was part of the uniform.

Nixon was our Commander-in-Chief.

So when I saw Billy and his wife Ruth seated on the back of their approaching parade convertible, I yelled, “Hey, Billy!” and flashed him the peace sign.

In return, the Reverend flashed me a double peace sign.

Both hands.

Four fingers.

And a big ol’ Billy grin.

I took a picture. I had it. The shot.

In my excitement during a horrible fourth quarter of the game later that day,

I decided to rewind the film in my 35 millimeter, take out the roll, and put it in a safe place.

But I opened the camera before I rewound the film.

Which reminds me of our Grand Marshal Jim Larsen.

Since Jim is most likely the only person in Sound Publishing who still knows how to use typesetting, do you suppose he, like me, ever took a picture that he never saw?

I sure bet I’ll find out at today’s parade if my first editor is still reading my sarcasm.

Who do you think taught me?

Speaking of naming names, if you get my attention tomorrow afternoon between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. while I am jumping on and off the Eva Mae Gabelein Midway Stage, you may have a chance to say your name on the microphone.

For details, show up, but you’ll have to know the two secret words — Jim Larsen.

Still with us, grand marshal?

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.