Time of year for unsolicited thanks and best wishes | Rockin’ a Hard Place

January’s a good month to be thankful and wishful. After all, there’s not much else to do; it gets dark too early, the tides are too high for beach walking, and it’s too cold outside.

So draw up a chair and join me as I sip a warm latte and consider a few things I’m thankful for right here and now, and some things I wish would occur as we begin this second half of the second decade of the first century of the third millennium.

First, I’m continually thankful to this Rock for giving me such a great quality and pace of life. My spouse and I spent a week in San Francisco during Christmas to see friends and family, and I had almost forgotten how frantic urban life has become.

Like the White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland,” folks there have no time to say hello-goodbye; they’re late, they’re late, they’re late! Time is money and money is everything. Hurry up, wait in line, demand immediate gratification, and complain. Ah, modern city life!

But here on Whidbey we’ve got the time to admire Mount Baker on a frosty morning, to take a leisurely stroll across the prairie or to spend a morning having coffee with friends. No need to rush. Where would we go?

Second, I am thankful that the Rock is an affordable place to hang my hat and live a good life. An unremarkable breakfast “buffet” at the hotel in San Francisco cost $29; a first-run movie ticket cost $12.50; a ride on the famous cable cars cost $7. At the Knead & Feed in Coupeville, I can order coffee and a gigantic, delicious cinnamon roll big enough to share for less than a third of that; at the Clyde in Langley, I can see a good movie for five bucks; I can ride the Island Transit bus for free (and let’s hope it stays that way – are you listening, IT board?).

And third, I am thankful for how affable most folks are on Whidbey Island – at least person-to-person. There’s a real civility and gentility here that has disappeared in most big cities. Granted, some Rock dwellers get a bit cranky on Facebook and some send snarky letters to our local papers. But all that’s easy enough to unfriend, delete or ignore.

Now for the wishful part. First, I wish that the Navy and the community around the Outlying Field would actually talk to each other. A new commander is arriving at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island very soon. That’s a great opportunity to reboot and start acting like neighbors sharing concerns, not enemies casting aspersions about each other. Jet noise is a real problem, especially “touch and go.” But so are the threats that our brave Navy pilots are training to defend us against. Can’t we all just get along? Please?

Second, I wish all the parties on this island who are profiting from the huge increase in tourism we’ve seen over the past few years would sit down and work together to ease some of the issues that our success has brought us. We’ve been discovered by the world, and that’s good news. But who’s putting their shoulder to wheel about the lack of parking, increased highway and ferry congestion, insufficient visitor “experience” and guidance, and the need for more hiking and biking trails – among a dozen other things?

Third, I wish that the newly elected Port of Coupeville commissioners would begin a truly open and transparent process to find the way forward at the Greenbank Farm.

This gem in the middle of our island has never quite figured out what it is. We all know what we don’t want to it to be. So, please, dear commissioners, lead us through a positive process and let’s decide what the farm can and should be.

So, as we begin 2016, here’s wishing that our Rock stays affable and affordable and gentile.

Harry Anderson can be reached at writeone44@gmail.com