Life on Whidbey: Nordic Lodge is anything but stuffy

  • Wednesday, May 16, 2007 5:00am
  • Life

“We want the community to know we can make a difference, regardless of one’s heritage,” said Dick Johnson, president of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge, himself of Swedish ancestry.

Indeed, the roster of lodge members reflects the five major Nordic heritages: Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finlandian and Icelandic, backgrounds that have been touched by the Vikings of the First Century.

Since it began six years ago, the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge has played a key supporting role with Coupeville schools and their History Day competition, an extra curricular activity.

The Lodge has donated more than $3,900 to Coupeville School History Day competitions over the last several years and members volunteer to critique students’ presentations.

“The national organization matches our donations up to $500 a year,” Johnson noted.

Members meet at 10 a.m. on the third Saturday of each month (not July or August) at the Coupeville Recreation Hall. A program at each meeting explores the history, culture, heritage or traditions of Scandinavian countries, such as Julefest in December.

Nordic hospitality is famous. Some time ago I was invited to join, or at least come for dinner. This is the year I will do so. I was surprised to know many of my acquaintances are members, whether they share the culture or just want to learn about other countries.

And I just found out there are camps and vacations sites available in the area for members and where children can learn about the language and culture. There is even an opportunity for scholarships to study in Norway or be an exchange student.

This Friday, May 18, marks Syttende Mai, Norwegian Independence Day. May I suggest you go to Google and learn in just a minute or two how these extraordinary people fought for their liberation. Bord Berg, a professor of history, will speak on the Sami people who live in the very northern part of Norway and Sweden and used to be referred to as Laplanders. If you’d like to attend the celebration, please call Liz Berg at 678-0768.

Meanwhile, the Scandinavians are getting ready to appear in their Trollvagn at the Coupeville Memorial Day parade.

It is part pride and part curiosity that keeps these members from missing a good time with their friends and tasting the latest recipes from a bevy of excellent cooks. Sounds like fun to me.

For membership and other information, call 675-0515 or 678-4889.

Each one has a story …

Coupeville students dressed in period costumes will be stationed at various gravesites at Sunnyside Cemetery to tell visitors that particular pioneer’s story.

The unique benefit takes place on Sunday, May 27, at 1, 1:40, 2:20 and 3 p.m. Tickets are limited to 50 people per tour.

It costs only $10 for adults, those from 11 to 18 pay $5 and those under 11 are free.

Docents will guide you around the historic cemetery that has served the Central Whidbey community since 1865. Learn more about the pioneers who built this land, descendents of the Native Americans who were the island’s first occupants, pioneers who crossed the plains on the Oregon Trail and sea captains from the Eastern Seaboard. Tickets may be purchased at Lind’s Pharmacy in Coupeville and at the Island County Historical Society’s Museum on Alexander in Coupeville. Call 678-4553 or 678-3310 for more information. The event is sponsored by the Daughters of the Pioneers and the Island County Historical Society.

Graduation inflation …

The senior class of 2007 is selling raffle tickets for a fund-raiser to make money so the senior class won’t miss out on flowers for the graduation ceremony, a senior/

parent tea and senior breakfast.

Tickets are $1 (and they hope to sell 5,000).

Five lucky winners will get a “Best of Oak Harbor” basket.

Oak Harbor High School seniors will be selling tickets or they can purchase tickets at the high school from teacher Starlette Casey. Call her at 279-5410.

“There is a core group of about 15 seniors who have really gone all out,” said Casey. To date 4,200 tickets have been sold.

The drawing is on May 23 at the senior/parent tea. No need to be there to win.

GARY THOMAS is offering a $100 reward, hoping public support and some sharp eyes will result in finding his lost parrot named Marty.

“He has been seen at Neil Park,” Thomas said, reminding people to put out wild bird seed and fresh water in case he’s looking for a rest stop. Call Thomas at 679-8413.

Finally, I regret I haven’t had much success in the mushroom department. I’ll try not to be cheeky when I suggest you buy some at your favorite grocery store and avoid loosing your good boots in a marshy field, but I simply couldn’t resist. If anyone can crack the code, please write to or call me at 675-6611.

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