A Bright-Blue-Sky-Night in Oysterville

Jan 31, 2012 | 3 comments

Food for Thought

     Last night was a Reading Night at Hal and Diane’s – the first in many months.  It was good to see familiar faces and to welcome Gregg (or Craig?), a newly arrived resident who spoke with the soft drawl of Georgia.
     As usual, the selections people had brought to read ran the gamut – from Coleridge’s “Xanadu” to the poetry of Mary Oliver and Wallace Stegner’s Mormon Country.  It was Clay who read the Stegner selection, prefacing it with admiration for “lyrical writers” like our own neighbor Sue.  “I’m just a technical writer,” he said.  But I wondered if he realizes how lyrically he speaks.
     My own offering was more mundane.  It was a chapter called “The Horse” from Daniel Pool’s delightful descriptions and explanations of nineteenth century England, What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew.  A change of pace from the poetic and lyrical, but well received just the same.
     Also, as usual, the discussion was lively and I wished afterwards that I had taken notes on the books and authors that were mentioned.   There were familiar and well-loved names but oh so many that I had not heard of.  There were enough words of glowing recommendation to carry me through several winters of reading.
     Afterwards, while we were enjoyed Diane’s delicious pie (her signature dish!) – I should have called it Reading and Pie Night – someone asked our newcomer how he happened to settle here.  “I came looking for blue sky,” he said.  He had been living in Texas in places that once had nothing but blue sky, but emissions from coal factories have provided a seemingly endless layer of smudge.
     “I think I’ve come about as far as I can,” he said laughingly, but then lamented the huge ships that may soon be transporting coal down the Columbia and over to Japan “so it can be carried back to us on the air currents and blot out our blue skies.”  Which, of course, led to thoughts of the on-going LNG controversies and other environmental issues.
     Other local topics came up, too, like the probability that “Shoalwater Shenanigans” will be reprised this summer and the fact that the Ocean Park Methodist Church will be celebrating its centennial year in 2014.  For a Monday night in mid-winter, it was a wonderfully thought-provoking and enjoyable few hours.  When I walked out the door, I fully expected the night sky to have turned bright blue…


  1. Jo

    When you wrote about your “reading and Pie Night, it reminded me of a wonderful book, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows. It is a delightful book, just as your Reading Night seems to have been. The book you chose a chapter from has such an intriguing title! I may just have to look it up.

    I’m looking forward to your music evening in February. Enjoy your day.

    • sydney

      I love that book, Jo! How nice that what I wrote reminded you of it!

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Jo introduced me to” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” and it was the impetus of our attempt to have tea and read aloud here in Gig Harbor. It never really got off the ground, but when I become a fulltime resident on the Peninsula I hope I can be considered an honorary Oystervillite and attend yours!


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