Musings – on the editor's mind
December 29, 2021
First printed Feb. 13, 2019.
Here is a true fact: the Washington Street hill down to Whatcom Street has had more sleds than cars on it in the 10 days since the first snow of Feb. 4. Did everybody but me know about the street closing for sledding? I learned about this from seeing photos in the Weekly News. Town public works staff put road closed signs and orange cones at Second and Whatcom streets that Monday, opened the street midweek and closed it again Friday for the weekend.
Then, wow: fresh snow Sunday night, Another snow day Feb. 11 and more sledding. If the cold and sledding conditions persist, I won’t be surprised to see a fire ring and a warming hut. There is a space in the lee of the hill at the top across from Katy’s Inn. A close-by neighbor can store these, or, if stored at a distance, the fire ring and hut can be brought to the hill by a pickup truck.
I wrote that Sunday night. Walking to the office Monday, I got into a conversation with Richard Widdop, shoveling the walk at the Garfield Masonic Lodge ahead of the Sunrise Food Bank’s Monday opening, His reminiscence went to his kids sledding down Washington Street decades ago and the times parents brought hot chocolate and coffee. He remembered music playing, too.
At the end of the afternoon Barbara and Jacque Brunisholz were pulling their grandkids on sleds down Whatcom Street. Jacques stopped south of Washington Street to note that the Town closes the road because of snow on the hill. Nowhere does a sign condone sledding, he said. Other steep streets, such as South 4th Street at the Catholic church, are closed, too, he noted. They are too steep and with snow are not safe for cars. This is the longest streets have been closed that he can remember. Decades ago, also, his kids sledded those streets. Like Richard, he called it a tradition. A town tradition.
This column won’t veer off into a tirade on the perils of climate change. Instead it is a celebration of a special, and rare, small community culture that so values its children and is so close knit that it puts the Town staff into the service of its families and the sixth busiest thoroughfare becomes the neighborhood sledding hill.
I won’t live long enough and cannot bank enough years here to become a local. But now, as I slide into finishing my second year here, I not only have photos, I have seen with my own eyes the qualities that make La Conner a prize. It is.
Reprinted from the Feb. 13, 2019 Weekly News. Maybe there will be a February snowstorm and snow days, also.