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Recalling When Christmas Came to Vashon Island

Recalling When Christmas Came to Vashon Island

country living at ChristmasThe old place bedazzled by swags of C-9s.

I was revisiting some of my past Christmas posts, and stumbled upon the one that follows. While I do hate to repeat myself, I thought, heck I’ve seen A Charlie Brown Christmas a bazillion times and I can recite the entire script of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Reruns are a Christmas tradition. That said, I thought I’d share a fond recollection of a Christmas past, one that I think of with great fondness this time of year.

An angel in last year’s tree inspiring this year’s intentions.

A Recollection: When Christmas Came to Vashon

Living on an island has its challenges, but it also has its rewards, revealing special moments that speak to the kinship of isolation and the camaraderie of everyone being in (and on) the same boat.

While commuting by ferry creates bottlenecks and headaches daily, it also fosters a bond, an unspoken appreciation that someone else shares your daily round-trip odyssey. The smiles and nods to familiar strangers, one day makes them friends. So tonight when I returned to the island from a very long day in a less-welcoming place, I stood on the bow well before we reached Vashon Island. I savored that simple joy of returning home. The wind was bracing, the sky spun with gold, and the Olympic Mountains seized the horizon and my attention.

On the open car deck, Christmas trees topped a number of vehicles.  One Jeep sported a wreath on its grille, the kids behind its steamed-up windows singing spirited renditions of the season’s best (between punches). I smiled, their parents smiled. The choir continued the concert.

With the din of the ferry silenced, we docked and I disembarked, walking more than briskly toward the warm, waiting bus. A stream of cars sped off the ferry and then one honked. I turned in time to see Santa in an SUV giving us a wave. I returned a smile and hearty hat tip.

Christmas had come to Vashon.  I just had no idea we’d share the same ferry.



  1. I read this post last summer when I was catching up on your archives. I have returned to it several times since and enjoy it each time. It is particularly poignant during this time of Advent. Thank You!

  2. Dear Tom,

    I just discovered your site via your comments on 101 Cookbooks about the lima beans 🙂

    I am from the South and I LOVE lima beans!!

    I also love your writing, and reading about your life.

    My husband and I are moving from Tennessee to Barrington IL (hopefully soon) where I plan to have some fruit trees, a big vegetable garden, and some alpacas. Can’t wait!

    You’ve inspired and encouraged me on a dreary, cold Tennessee afternoon.


  3. So YOU’RE the one who put up that groovy madrone fence! I used to live down Beall from you (19314), but now live near the South End and blog on gardens for the Beachcomber. Someday if I ever write up cool Vashon fences, yours is definitely on the list! —Karen, on the Beachcomber website, “Garden On, Vashon!”


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