Messing with Ma Nature can bring a big comeuppance

Sometimes one should just keep his or her big mouth shut and his or her fingers off the computer keyboard. Apparently, my writing so smugly about no snow or Eastern cold weather at the beach resulted in last Saturday’s unexpected comeuppance. Ma Nature decided maybe the beachers needed a blast from the Arctic just to honestly appreciate what they live with the majority of the time.

Big blizzard memories

However, the last column brought a response that is interesting now that all of us are freezing our tushes.

Bonnie Johannes added to the folk history of the Harbor fishers and other people as she recalled, “Your description of the 1950 blizzard causes me to write and give you my memories of that week. I had been diagnosed with Type I (called juvenile then) diabetes on January 7, 1950, at 10 years of age. I went from Dr. Kenneth Graham’s office to St. Joseph Hospital on that Saturday and was put into the a children’s ward with about five others, it seems. It included the daughter of Dr. Fuller, Susan, who was a total invalid and had to be fed her meals.

“As the week progressed, the streets and roads became such a problem with the snow and ice that the hospital was short of staff workers that couldn’t get to work. Even the buses could not get up to the hospital. Because I was mobile and able to help, I was paid ten cents each time I would feed Susan her meal!

I really remember the day of the blizzard and was supposed to be able to go home the next day. However, my family lived up the East Hoquiam Road about nine miles and were unable to travel in to get me. I am not sure when I came home, maybe just on the Sunday, but do remember the huge drifts of snow against our house and up and over our fences.

My only photos are in my mind, unfortunately.”

It is odd how the local politicians, area statistics, congressmen, and all the stuff school book history is made from rarely sticks with people; but give them a dose of folk history and it is remembered for years.

Ice with power also nice

Kathy Klee has been documenting the ice in the North Bay. The wind whipping in over the bar has made for some spectacular shots. For those that remember the marina and the canals in Ocean Shores freezing in about 1984, the only ray of sunshine in this present ice box climate is that the power has stayed on thus far and one does not spend five days to a week without power as in that era.

Bird counts and coming festival

Bowerman Basin is quite spectacular with the frost-covered bushes and grasses, rimes of ice are frosting the water of the bay. A turkey buzzard forlornly makes his sweeps across the bay looking for prey. I wonder if it is the same one and only that was spotted during the Grays Harbor Audubon Society’s annual Christmas bird count held last month?

Dianna Moore’s data collection shows an amazing 7,000 surf and white winged scoters were counted. Anyone driving North Beach roads and waterways this fall would not be surprised. The shoreline has been full of darting sanderlings all fall and early winter. Again, an amazing amount — 3,336 sanderlings — were counted, compared to the last count of 373.

For many folks, it is time to clean out the extra room and let the flat-land relatives and friends know the Annual Shorebird Festival will be held April 25-27. While beachers take the birds for granted, the migrating shorebirds of Grays Harbor are a fantastic, nearly unequaled spectacle of nature, right in our back yards.

For more information go online to

Deer denting dilemma

But, don’t tell Jeff Dukes of that fair city where to find more deer because he’s already learned that they come to you. Dukes, driving his shiny, red Ford van, is the usual beach animal lover who drives carefully, slows down when he sees a deer and pays particular attention to the spring fawns who have yet to learn how to avoid cars. Recently, an amorous buck chased a wide-eyed doe through the brush, but Dukes stopped, and ka-bam! The doe smashed into his van, causing close to $3,000 in damages.

She picked herself up, took one look over her shoulder and took off on a dead run. So much for that Lothario’s technique.

Fortunately, Jeff was unhurt by the flying glass.

Discover Pass problems

The re-focus on the Washington State Parks Discovery Pass to supplement the Parks budget is getting some folks riled up, especially the suggestion that it could be “voluntary” for those who do not wish to purchase a pass. The new signage on all of the northern beach approaches that has bloomed like rag weed isn’t setting too well, either. Beachers want to know if those signs mean it will take a pass even to get onto the beaches now?

And the thought that more yurts, camping, etc. are being considered for rental bucks doesn’t set too well either on the beach with its long traditions of small mom and pop, single owner accommodations who feel that their taxes will be supporting government competition.

Longevity love stories

Speaking of such, one beach couple that has been together since about the age of 15 and are still friends and companions of 70 years, Walter and Elone Weed, like many of the long-married beach folks, should be writing their love story for The Daily World contest. My goodness, love isn’t just for the young, folks!

Fireman’s Ball memories

Around 1966, the big, dress-fit-to-kill, romantic event on the beach was the annual Fireman’s Ball, always held in the old Ocean shoes Inn. Bill Marks was instrumental in making it THE event of the year. The donation for the dance was a whole buck and a-half.

The Seahorse Room was all fancied up, there was a buffet supper and live music so you could cuddle close and dance with your sweetie. Every penny of it went to pay for firefighting clothing, ambulance supplies, and other necessities. Sure beat paying taxes and it built up quite a fire department.

Basket weaving winters

A favorite activity in the cold January and February weather occurred at Taholah where beach women went to learn how to weave baskets. The Taholah ladies made a fish stew that was always cleaned up to the last drop.

Gramma Black was quite a task master (or should it be mistress?). She would inspect each one’s efforts at the end of the class and was not averse to saying, “No. No. …. No. No,” and then ripping out any offensive sample of weaving that was not up to her standards.

Although the bragging about beach weather fell afoul of Mother Nature, at least one thing cannot be blamed on a big mouth and fingers on computer keys and that is the flu making everyone so miserable. No more shall be said about that lest that issue is also jinxed. But, just remember, when those ladies were eating fish stew, making baskets and visiting, they were also collecting money for the March of Dimes. Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?


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