Gateway: Living

Slater: Bluegrass Barbeque Festival highlights July events on the Key Peninsula

The calendar fills up fast in summertime, especially on weekends.

This Saturday (July 30) is the fifth annual Bluegrass Barbeque Festival at the Longbranch Improvement Club, presented by the Longbranch Community Church. The event runs from 2 to 6 p.m., and admission is free. For $10, a complete meal can be purchased, including Chef Oliver Coldeen’s barbecue sandwiches. A silent auction is also available. Proceeds support the church ministries.

The Old Glencove Hotel hosts the Key Peninsula Historical Society fundraiser from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 6, with beer/wine tasting, hotel tours and appearance by Teddy Roosevelt, aka local teacher Jim Greetham. Limited to 100 guests, $35 advance tickets only are available at the Blend Wine Shop and Sunnycrest Nursery & Floral, both in Key Center, the museum in Vaughn on Saturday and Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m., or call 253-888-3246.

We attended the annual band concert at Camp Stand By Me early this month, a special event where some of the campers are encouraged to participate with the band — fun for all. An interesting note for me was meeting counselors from England, Ireland and Scotland. About 30 young people from Britain are here this year, and a couple of them said they’d love to stay right here on Vaughn Bay!

I was invited to join the Soderquist family gathered at Penrose Park recently. Helen Soderquist, whose father, Carl, owned the Longbranch Mercantile for many years, was a schoolmate of mine at Vaughn grade school and Peninsula High School. It was fun to see her again after more than 60 years and catch up a bit.

The family welcomed us as friends, and it was easy to talk to them. The Soderquist family was only briefly mentioned in my books on Key Peninsula history as, to my knowledge, none of the family resided in the area. Now I know some do.

Several people have recently asked if I plan to do another KP history book, and some have urged it, as so many family histories weren’t included. A list of such has begun, and we’ll see where it leads, but no guarantees at this time.

Summer is also a busy season in our garden. The vegetable garden is smaller than usual this year and started later, but the harvests to date are abundant, with peas still in high production, green beans starting and our first zucchini and tomatoes picked.

Especially fascinating this year, apparently due to our unusual weather pattern, were a few rhododendron blooms still opening in mid-July, and many Himalayan blackberries ready to eat before the last of the precious little Evergreens were picked.

This spring we bought a whole flat of bright blue lobelia, gave some away, but filled in spaces in boxes and pots with the rest. The result is a marvelous medley of color on our deck — fuchsias, pink geraniums, dianthus, campanula, mini-roses, scarlet flax, alyssum and more, with the lovely blue lobelia. Perhaps we’ll invest in another whole flat next spring.

Next week we vote, although many have already sent in their ballots. I don’t recall such a huge number of candidates, but it tells me that people are interested in some changes at all levels. Do vote, even if you think it’s a choice between poor candidates. It’s our right, and I think obligation as citizens to be involved in this process. It’s a privilege many people in some other countries never had and may never have. There are instances where one vote has made a difference in who was elected. Maybe that’s your vote.

As my hubby says, “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about the situation.”