Sunday, March 14, 2010
Spring is here.
Spring came early this year, as everyone in the northwest knows. We are talking spring in January. And what happens in spring in Port Gamble? "Spring is warm up to summer" I've been told. True everywhere? Not like here. Summer is FULL of events, FULL of people. This town of maybe 75 people (that includes cousins staying over night) will be host to five thousand for a Civil War Re-enactment in June (I wonder who wins THIS time) It's on Father's Day, $7 will get you in. I live here so I won't have to pay, so I think I'll bet my $7 on the south. And nearly that many for a Renaisance Fair a few weeks earlier. All summer long this town will be crawling wih tourists here for events each weekend, events like car shows, foot races, dog agility competitions, music festivals, red hat days, etc . (To see a bigger list of the events planned, go to http://www.portgamble.com/ and click on "events." Believe me, there really is "something for everyone.")
And do the locals plan to get rich off hordes of visitors? I have yet to hear anyone say they are living in the smallest of small towns for the money, but rather for the challenge of serving so many, for the excitement of activity, for the fun of being a participant rather than leader. "I'm here for the stories I'm going to tell my grandchildren," I overheard one waitress tell the visitors at her table. After seeing the tips she got from some VERY satisfied eaters, that surprises me.
But let me tell you one of those stories. When Kris and I moved here we had our choice of three homes to rent. (ALL homes are for rent. Pope Resources, the owner of the property here OWNS everything, except the people, of course), every building, every street, even the sewer and water departments are owned by Pope. The only reasonable home was right on the 15 mph corner, the busiest spot in town, the last house in "commercial row" and the first house in "residential row." Quite a change for someone who lived on 10 acres of tranquility before coming here.
Anyway, not having listened to a realistic voice which had told me "Lock your door, even when you are home," I had been reading a paper when I heard footsteps on my front porch. I was waiting for a knock when three elderly (I have to watch how I describe their age, given my own) people walked in unannounced. "Where's your rest room?" the only female of the three asked. Assuming some kind of emergency, I pointed to the closest and she headed for it.
She left behind two gentlemen of similar age to herself who looked around the room and discussed ... who knows what, maybe me ... in unusually hushed tones ... until the lady returned. She was clearly in control. "What did you find?" she asked one. "Anything here of interst?" she asked the other. The volume of her speech was matched only by the silence of theirs.
After a confused look around she barked "What do you sell here?" as if to say "What a lousy job of marketing." Now I admit I'm not yet "small town" oriented, at least not this small a town. I've been told my response was a little rude. (And her entrance without knocking was not?) But my response was simply "Nothing. This is a private residence."
I apologize, Madam, whoever you are, for the embarrassment I caused you, but it has been a long time since I have had such a chuckle from someone else's misfortune. The bright red washed over their faces like a summer sunset and I'm not sure but I think they may have left without first opening the door. But the waitress is right. I'm here for the stories to tell my grandchildren, and that will be the first.