Home Vashon Living The Kindness of Strangers 101

The Kindness of Strangers 101

The Kindness of Strangers 101

Point Robinson Lighthouse Vashon IslandMt Rainier and Point Robinson Lighthouse on a clear day.

Have I mentioned I live on an island? Make no mistake, the little marker in the middle of Puget Sound where I live is very special to me, and I feel the journey to make it here was half the gift. Sometimes I gush enthusiastically about Vashon, others times I merely savor the moment with my mouth shut like I’m enjoying a rich creamy caramel all to myself.

Not everyone swoons over “The Rock,” a less than complimentary term I suspect a bored teen coined one day when his or her parents wouldn’t let them attend a party or concert in Seattle.  A place can be a prison for some, and a sanctuary for others. Peering over the fence at geezer-dom, I fall in the second camp. Seattle was a fine fling in my twenties, thirties and even forties; the city lavished me with fine entertainment, amazing restaurants and vibrant city living, but now I get my jollies from keeping bees, planting pumpkins, chopping wood, making pickles, shooting the breeze and bothering bulldogs. As my friend Leslie says, “Edgy is just not sustainable.”

David Austin rose Janet

I like where I live, I like the folks I call my friends and neighbors. I enjoy the kindness of strangers and tellers of tales, so I thought I’d share a note from a friend who had her day brighten by stranger and in turn she brightened mine. Hopefully this sweet little story Rondi shared will do the same for yours.

In Rondi’s words…

One of life’s little sunshine moments: I’m doing my usual 3-mile walk back from Vashon town, busy Friday afternoon, lots of traffic on the highway. Ahead of me in the distance, shuffling along on the edge of the tarmac, is an elderly man with a walker. This seems unusual, as if he is determined to exercise, no matter what. It seems like a long hard way for someone like him to get anywhere. I come up next to him and ask if he needs anything, if all is well. He doesn’t seem very strong or particularly well off, financially speaking. Soul-wise, he’s in great shape–because he immediately gives me a big smile, fumbles inside his old vest and pulls out a crumpled packet of chamomile tea. Because, he says, someone like me just needs a present “for being so pretty.

I’m drinking that cup of tea now and spreading the love!

And on a side note, Rondi is a wonderful photographer, writer and greeting card creator.  In fact, Boz, Gracie and my truck grace one of her original cards: Bullish for Biscuits! 

Boz and Gracie Bulldogs Bullish on Biscuits

Check out more of Rondi Lightmark’s cards.


  1. What a great tale. Sounds like the old fella was doing more fine than one could realize.
    It’s true about getting older. I’m not into “flash” or the latest/greatest anything. Give me a fine morning in the garden listening to the birds wake up while I sip a cup of coffee. Heaven on earth!

  2. I have also seen that elderly gentleman trudging up and down the highway with his walker. The walker does have a seat so he can sit down and rest but he seems very determined to make his walk to Vashon town. More power to him!

  3. I fell in love with the Puget Sound area several years ago when I visited Whidbey Island, and have dreamed of returning to live somewhere there. I’d love to visit your island – it sounds wonderful.

    Heartwarming story. Thanks, Tom and Rondi and gentle Tea Man.

  4. That’s so sweet…it’s a good thing to be happy where you are…I already dream of a day when I have a small house with a big porch on an even bigger acreage 🙂

  5. Truly a lovely story. Aren’t small towns great? You really know you belong when you go the grocery store and run into a half a dozen people you know, and spend a few minutes chatting with each while your ice cream melts. I too lived in Seattle back when I was a student, loved it, but couldn’t handle it now. (Old Fogey Alert!) For one thing, the traffic! It ain’t what it used to be. I’m happier enjoying smaller town life now. (Beautiful picture of the rose, btw. What roses do you grow? Would love to hear about them)

    • Hi Lucy, I so agree with you. Sometimes I feel like a little hayseed heading into Seattle, and not recognizing my old stomping grounds, surprised by the traffic, congestion and really bad looking apartment buildings going up. The rose btw is Janet, from David Austin. She’s a bit fussy in our wet climate, kind of hit or miss. I’ll post more pics later about roses I grow. Take care, Tom

  6. As usual Tom, you have eloquently described both the charm and the goodness of living on our lovely little island. Thank you for sharing Rondi’s story! I too have been one of the fortunate benefactor’s of this lovely man’s generous nature, who I will now refer to as” Vashon’s Tea Angel”. I’ve also heard one other similar story about this man. It’s such a great example of the gems that we have in our community … just like you too! You bring an easy, relaxed, goodness to life here on Vashon. We’re lucky to have *YOU*.

  7. What a beautiful picture of the lighthouse! So, is the island called Vashon? How interesting! Does the climate vary given its an island? I will have to look it up, next time I am in Seattle.

    • Hi Hafiz, yep the island is called Vashon as is our main little town. The climate is slightly warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, based on my anecdotal observations and having lived in both Seattle and Vashon. The ferry goes out of West Seattle to Vashon. Cheers!

    • Thanks for the kind words and visit Stephen. Kurt of “Growing a Farmer” is my neighbor and has created quite a paradise from his land. Mine is still a work in progress, but it is also a most inviting place if I don’t say so myself. Yep I do love this island, and consider myself fortunate to live here, though some may call it “The Rock” and can’t wait to leave. Ah perspective is a funny thing 😉


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