An old-hand local librarian, Dory Myers, once told me she hadn’t crossed the Purdy bridge in years. “You must be joking,” I said. Dory answered, “What for? Everything I love is here.” The longer I live on the KP, the more I understand her wisdom.
Generations of families born and raised here understand Dory’s view. While many have left for school, work or travel, when it comes time to settle down, they return to their KP roots and come home.
What makes the Key Peninsula unique? Perhaps it’s that, for the most part, we’ve been left alone. From our relatively isolated geography, we’ve grown a fiercely independent and vibrant community. Not a virtual community where we play at being stars of a digital show, but a functioning, living, caring and breathing community where we know our neighbors, identify problems and come together to seek solutions.
The peninsula appealed to pioneering settlers for many of the same reasons it does today. We consciously choose to live off the beaten path, enjoy scenic beauty, appreciate winding country roads, delight at our shorelines, forests and fields teeming with wildlife. Life here feels far more like living on an island (without the cost and hassle of a ferry).
We’re a place where people dress up in wild costumes to play croquet for a good cause or pick up trash from the highway. Potlucks and pig roasts, salmon bakes and crab feeds add to the celebration. We throw Spring Flings, barn dances, even our dogs have their own parties. Surrounded by water, we swim, kayak, clam and line up for lighted boat parades and fireworks. We gather together to build parks, sew quilts, sell cookies and attend countless charity auctions.
As we’ve perhaps become more politically polarized, especially over the last 12 months, we are still united in our “peninsula-ness” that is built on common courtesy, sharing and a sense of taking care of everyone at the end of the road with us. From Facebook groups to churches, PTAs to foundations, everyone here seems ready to help, to change or at least to talk to each other.
When a clear need for improvement is seen, we band together and find ways to fill the need, solve the problem and make life better for all of us on the KP. The cover story this month is the state budget allocation of nearly $8 million for projects right here on the Key; that is evidence of our ability to work together. Every month, we share more success stories of people and groups who work to improve where and how we live.
A local reader ordered a KP News subscription as a gift for her son who works in the military on the East Coast. He enjoys keeping in touch with what’s happening in his old home town. When he finishes reading the paper, he takes it to work and leaves it in the staffroom for lunchtime reading. He’s happy to tell his co-workers about living on the KP when they ask, “Does this place really exist? Where is it?”
It sure does exist. And we are happy to be a part of it. We’re happy to participate, to contribute, to volunteer. We overlook political differences, we accommodate other points of view, and we join together to make what we love better.
As your editor, it’s my goal to keep the Key Peninsula News at the center of all this. This newspaper can, and should, be your guide to what makes the Key Peninsula the place we all love.