Rockin’ a Hard Place: Making the most of the short end of the drumstick

So here we are, having given thanks for all our blessings on Thanksgiving 2020. But wasn’t the main thing we’re thankful for simply that 2020 is almost over? No need for a show of hands. I think I know the answer. Be gone, most cursed annus horribilis!

Even here on our Rock, with all its gorgeous beauty, open space, tall trees, friendly folks and fresh air, the world has encroached on us. Stores have closed because of the poor economy, uncivilized politics have spilled their vile bile even in the letters to our dear editor, COVID-19 has spread among young Rock dwellers including more sailors at NAS Whidbey and even a kindergartner in Coupeville, and we’re told not to invite anybody to turkey dinner in our homes or dare to go off-island to eat at somebody else’s home. Let’s just hope the power doesn’t go out again and make the Rock even darker than it feels right now.

We were all stuck with the short end of the drumstick this Thanksgiving. Let’s strap on our masks and make the most it.

Over Thanksgiving 2019 – and doesn’t that seem like a long time ago! – my spouse and I flew to Oakland, Calif., and enjoyed a wonderful holiday celebrating with more than 30 relatives in a restored 1905 mansion near Lake Merritt.

We haven’t been on an airplane or visited with any of those loved ones in person since. That weekend, we saw “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a great movie about Mr. Rogers starring Tom Hanks at the Grand Lake Theater, a classic movie palace. We haven’t seen a movie

in a real theater with buttered popcorn since.

This year, it was just the two of us with our two dogs and our view of Penn Cove. We had a Zoom call with various locked-down loved ones in the morning to make sure they’re safe and well, if bored. Then, in the afternoon, I picked up our delicious take-out Thanksgiving dinner with its many extravagant trimmings from Oystercatcher, Coupeville’s gourmet restaurant. That evening, we watched a couple episodes of “The Crown” on Netflix and went to bed.

Such is life in 2020.

Recently I took a gander at the Thanksgiving column I wrote for this newspaper in 2017. The headline was, “Thanks, Whidbey, for Everything You Have Every Day.” Wasn’t I the optimistic soul back then! Here are a few things I was thankful for:

The silent symphony of golden leaves falling from willows and alders drifting by my window in the chilly fall breeze. Millennial young people moving to the Rock, starting creative new business and enhancing our community.

Rockwell beans, a red-and-white species grown only in Central Whidbey by a few precious farmers and by far the best baked beans I have ever eaten.

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, created by some stubborn, devoted, passionate Rock dwellers in 1978 to prevent apartments and bluff-side mansions from destroying a magnificent natural prairie that has grown food for at least 5,000 years.

And last thing I mentioned in my list of things to be thankful for on the Rock those three long years ago was this: the growing foodie culture on Whidbey Island that has given us some of the best chef-owned restaurants anywhere. And that most definitely includes Oystercatcher in Coupeville, now operated by Tyler and Sara Hansen, a millennial couple who moved here a few years ago.

I am thankful that 2020 is almost over. But on Thanksgiving Day, I was much more thankful that Tyler, Sara and their crew prepared our delicious Thanksgiving take-out dinner in this otherwise not very tasty year.

Harry Anderson is a retired journalist with the Los Angeles Times living on Central Whidbey

More in Life

Photo provided
Melany Alanis was one of around 500 All American cheerleaders and dancers chosen to march in the Thanksgiving parade at Disney World.
Oak Harbor cheerleader selected to participate in Disney World parade

Senior Melany Alanis was selected to join an elite group of All American dancers and cheerleaders.

Oak Harbor nativity features live animals

Oak Harbor Christian School is bringing the spirit of Christmas with a biblical re-enactment.

See caption
Santa by the Sea

Photos: Santa Claus handed out candy canes to children Saturday evening in Langley.

See caption
A Whale of a Tale

Orca Network celebrates 20th anniversary

Photo provided
Boaters line up at the beginning of the 2009 Deception Pass Dash.
Paddlers to brave cold in Deception Pass Dash

The Deception Pass Dash returns Dec. 11 after being cancelled last year because of COVID-19.

See caption
Picker finds a toolbox full of Pacific Northwest history

John Norris found custom-made tools that were hand-forged during the first half of the 20th century.

Michael Stadler/Stadler Studio
Melyssa Smith plays the Nutcracker.
Whidbey Island Dance Theatre is back live on stage with ‘The Nutcracker’ at WICA

Tickets are on sale now for the show which opens Friday, Dec. 10 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Lunch at The Braeburn is worth the wait

By RJ Benner Last Saturday, my family and I decided to… Continue reading

Jared Bessett is the first program manager
New program manager’s family has long history with Deception Pass Park

The Deception Pass Park Foundation’s board of directors decided to hire its first full-time employee.

Most Read