Summer solstice celebrations complete, the longest day of the year in 2018 is behind us. Enter July––a season ushered in by Dr. Roes and his old-time Down Home Marching Band followed by scores of merry followers in antique cars, on floats, bicycles, tricycles, wagons and rollerblades. The beloved unofficial “Home Colony Fourth of July Parade” begins Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. and by nightfall the skies over Key Peninsula will light up in a profusion of colorful fireworks as far as the eye can see.
While summer unofficially begins for most of our nation with Memorial Day weekend, a KP old-timer once told me, “It was always hard to count on her arrival until after the Fourth of July around here.”
All this sunshine comes along with lakeside swims, beach parties, barbecues, picnics and family reunions. Your summer guests wonder aloud, “What on Earth do you do for entertainment all the way out here?”
There are free opportunities to enjoy nature or plan your own outdoor adventures all over the KP, thanks in no small part to our own park district, but that’s another visionary fairytale of a story that deserves a book all its own. Key Peninsula residents have hundreds and hundreds of acres to explore, from quaint wooded trails meandering toward saltwater’s edge, to mountain bike courses and horseback riding trails.
Penrose and Joemma Beach State Parks require a Discover Pass or daily fee, but both parks are Washington state jewels worth visiting year-round.
We haven’t even touched on the topic of boating. Surrounded by the waters of Puget Sound, with multiple public boat launches, guest moorage at both state parks, the Lakebay Marina and the Longbranch Marina, there are plenty of options to choose from. The kayaking is divine, provided you watch those tides.
July also marks the unofficial beginning of campaign season, filled with hopeful glad-handing newcomers and seasoned incumbents alike. The upcoming midterm elections in November promise to be every bit as contentious as ever. If you feel as if the campaigning never stopped, you are not alone. If you ever donated money to a campaign online, you might regret it now. Inboxes are overflowing with calls to action, dire predictions, pollsters and rallying cries to support or defend.
The news today is wrapped around national identity politics and, with a radical shift in course at nearly every level of government, it feels impossible to keep up with the national scene much less find time to digest it.
The KP News feels some pain too following an increase in our printing costs as the result of tariffs placed on newsprint from neighboring Canada, which previously supplied about 60 percent of the newsprint used by newspapers across the county.
Washington’s state primary election is set for Aug. 7 and the Pierce County Auditor reports that local pamphlets will be mailed out July 12 with local ballots going out on or before July 20. In the 26th legislative district, we will choose two representatives for the House and we will elect a new state senator as well. Another race of key importance to unincorporated Key Peninsula voters includes the election of District 7’s representative to the Pierce County Council.
With divisive politics never far away, toning things down a notch seems like a great idea. We could take a lesson by following the lead of Vaughn Elementary’s Ballroom Dance team. As a community, we have far more to learn from those dancers than dance steps. Those fifth-grade students, as horrified as they all were at the thought of dancing with another gender and as awkward as they all felt at first, put aside their fear of “the other.” They each discovered that their dance partner is a person too, not exactly like themselves, but a human being with thoughts and feelings that deserve some basic ground rules.
These students learned ballroom dancing beginning with the powers of etiquette and courtesy.
As they danced, they learned to value dedication, respect, leadership, inclusiveness and teamwork, and to always strive for excellence. They won their competition, but the real gold they brought home was first place in civility.
Maybe those are lessons we could all learn from. What better place to practice civility than right here at home on the Key Peninsula. And what a better time than during the beautiful warm and long days of summer.