Whidbey News-Times


Friday nights are better when shared with friends | Harbor Highlights

By JOAN BAY KLOPE Whidbey News-Times Columnist
June 28, 2014 · Updated 4:04 PM

Who doesn’t love Friday night?

During the first five years of our marriage, my husband and I both worked full time, hauled our golden retriever everywhere because we assumed everyone loved him as much as we did and remodeled our first house — a 1,100-square-foot track home located on a street lined in motor homes and boats.

Built in the early 1960s before anyone imagined home computers or PlayStations, we had to run a long extension chord down the hall from the office in the back of the house into the kitchen to reach the only available three-pronged outlet. It was kinda tacky, but it did the trick when a friend loaned us a computer so I could work as a free-lance book editor on the weekends.

Back then, we met with friends for drinks and dinner nearly every Friday night. With no Facebook or texting, we hurried to find a table so we could catch up on a week’s worth of trials and tribulations. There was no pile of cellphones decorating the middle of the table. We did it the old fashioned way and dialogued face-to-face.

Our Friday nights have evolved over the years. There was the “stay home because the little ones need to get to bed or they will completely lose it” season.

There was the “meet at the stadium for football games” season. Nowadays, Friday night is transforming into date night and this week my husband and I made our way to Hot Rock Pizza, owned and operated by Reid and Christy Schwartz.

They’ve opened their first brick and mortar location in downtown Oak Harbor on Pioneer Way and promise good times and great memories made with good friends and great food.

One of the best gifts of living on Whidbey Island is the opportunity to stay connected with people and watch them build their lives. We met the Schwartzes years ago when their son, RD, ran through the woods with great gusto and quickly made friends with the Klope kids.

They had moved into a home on the parcel behind ours and the ready smiles you will see when you walk into their new restaurant are the same ones we met all those years ago.

Before Reid was enthralled by homemade dough and all things pizza, he loved the Internet and it was his computer on which we first watched a website upload. Slowly...slowly...

Those days we used our phone lines, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Reid and Christy welcomed us and we think the world of them today.

It’s gratifying to watch their dream become a reality and we wish them great success. Hot Rock Pizza is open for lunch and dinner and if you are staying away from bread try their prime rib salad.

In recent months our Friday nights have also included friends and fiddles. That’s because there is a significant contingency of home-spun musicians who regularly gather at Dr. Peter Keating’s Oak Harbor residence to celebrate all things Bluegrass.

While Dr. Keating is known to many for his skillful work as an area audiologist out of his office on Midway Boulevard, he is also a distance runner and passionate musician. Not only does he play an assortment of instruments and sing, but he gently gathers those who secretly want to be part of a band.

From all over Whidbey’s north end come an assortment of people and their instruments including banjos, guitars, harmonicas, bases, fiddles, and more. When the music winds down after a couple of hours the storytelling begins.

I say a whole lot of Whidbey residents have it right: with great food and good friends, you create great memories.

If you have a story, upcoming event or think someone needs to be recognized here in “Harbor Highlights,” please email your suggestions to me at harborhighlights@gmail.com. I welcome all of your ideas.


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