Oysterville? Or Oahu?

Dec 24, 2018 | 0 comments

Photo by Tucker (Lina’s Dad)

It’s not every day – actually, up to now it has been never – that we drive into Oysterville and see a couple in wetsuits off-loading their paddleboards and stepping from the road directly into the bay!  Wow!  The sky was sunny blue and rainy gray “intermittently” as they say, there was no wind at all and the only way we really knew that we weren’t in Hawaii was… no surf.  Not even a ripple.

We had been out doing errands and just happened to come back into the village when our neighbors Lina and Dave had decided to take their boards down to the meadow and go out for a spin.  Or whatever you call a short jaunt on a water-filled meadow adjacent to and, for a half hour or so, a part of Willapa Bay.  The unusual part wasn’t so much the high tide – those happen every winter about this time.  It was seeing ‘locals’ with paddleboards stepping into the water like it was an everyday event!

Yesterday on Willapa Bay – Tucker Wachsmuth Photo

December in my mother’s day, a hundred years ago now, often meant bundling up and heading for Skating Lake just west and south of the cemetery.  In those days, the lake was really large – it went south almost as far as Ocean Park, or so I’ve been told.  It wasn’t until the 1960s that they messed around with drainage for the Surfside Golf Course that the lake shrunk to its current size – or so I’ve been told.

Anyway, in Mom’s girlhood – and even in my own childhood (occasionally) – the winters were cold enough that the lake froze and everyone grabbed their skates (if they had them) and went up to the lake.  Parents and other non-skaters built bonfires around the edges and kept the hot chocolate warm for frost-bitten ‘Hans Brinkers’ – most of whom were simply slipping and sliding on their shoes with grand exuberance.

Meadow or Bay? Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

And now?  Paddle-boarding in Oysterville in December?  My forebears would be sore amazed!  You’d almost think we were living in the banana belt – right here on the banks of Willapa Bay!  I doubt that you’d find many climate-change skeptics among the old-timers here.  Not yesterday, anyway.

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