Change, like everything else, is relative

I went to a friend’s house in Indianola for the Fourth of July. I’ve gone there about every third Fourth for the past 20 years.

Sometime in the night we drove up to Suquamish and watched the fireworks, sort of at the source, since there are probably more fireworks stands in and around that little town than there are rifles for a price available in Baghdad bazaars.

Things have changed very little in the past two decades in the swatch of Kitsap County that contains Indianola and Suquamish.

Indianola does have a security guard on dock duty sometimes now. Being from a decidedly urban background, I found the presence of beach security in that peaceful place almost laughable. But, I thought, maybe things have changed drastically.

So I went over and started talking to the casually uniformed (a T-shirt proclaiming his function and nice navy blue slacks) guy. He was hard-pressed to tell me what he does other than try and rein in teenage alcohol consumption.

Evidently there are some new folks in the area who can’t be too careful. But it still felt more like Mark Twain’s Missouri than a trouble hotspot to me.

Still, in these days of joblessness for the working poor, more power to the guys securing the peace in Indianola. It’s a job.

Still, it’s the seemingly unchanging nature of small places like Indianola that makes them either appealling or stifling, depending on your point of view.

Of course nothing is quite as stagnant, or friendly — again, that point of view thing — as it appears on the surface.

Time keeps altering the landscape and removing folks from the foreground, through death primarily, but the outward appearances aren’t rearranged as fast as they can be in bigger places.

That’s why I’m glad to see downtown Port Orchard’s distinctive marquee look being given another reprieve. I like the covered sidewalks thing a lot — not so much for the style itself but because, to me, it is dinstinctively Port Orchard.

No place else I’ve ever been looks quite like downtown Port Orchard, and there should be no hurry to make the core area look like everyplace else.

Speaking of things not changing, the county commissioners a couple of weeks ago appeared to heading toward giving the SK Parks & Rec. Board another chance to raise money via a levy.

Now, I think it would be nice if this area had a well-maintained, vibrant park. But if the will of the majority had been adhered to years before, none of this would still be being talked to death anyway.

People down this end of the county — the majority anyway — don’t seem very concerned about whether they have a park or not. They’ve certainly never voted to pay anything extra to support it.

The Parks and Rec. Board didn’t seem thrilled with the commissioners’ suggestion that the issue be put before the voters again. They countered with talk about a plan they claimed would retire the organization’s debt by 2007. They also claimed this was a better plan than anything county officials had seen before.

It reminds me of my days in high school, a place where I did not do stellar work. My honor student days came in college, almost a decade later, after I’d served in the Armed Forces and reached a point of enough maturity to know in my bones I wanted to study for my own future, and not because my parents expected it of me.

In high school, I did the bare minimum for those teachers so strict that I had no option.

But for my health teacher, Mr. McGee, a nice little owlish-looking fella who lived with his mom — and must have read some then-new books about befriending the students not disciplining them — I got through my entire junior year drawing up new study plans I wasn’t planning to follow.

Mr. McGee had an endless, misplaced faith in Little Denny.

The folks at SK Park & Rec have been singing a version of this same song for at least the nine years I’ve been following them. New and improved plans are a dime a dozen. Pick up a Seattle paper and read about their on-again, off again monorail if you doubt that last statement.

Give the voters one last chance to speak on the parks issue. Sooner than later.

Evidently, the folks down here would prefer a race track. Trees or NASCAR seems like a no-brainer to me — I’d take the park — but my guess is the will of the majority resides with the noise of screaming tires and the stench of burnt rubber, and I believe government should give the people what they want — even when it might turn out not to be good for them.

I would be remmiss if I didn’t comment belatedly on the senseless death of Alan Kono, 48, a fixture in the South Kitsap small-business community for more than 20 years.

Kono owned and operated P.J.’s Market at the corner of Mile Hill Drive and Woods Road. Kono will be missed by his regulars. He was, by all accounts, a friendly, personable man, who enjoyed seeing his regulars whether they were spending a lot of cash or not.

Kono was allegedly shot to death in plain sight of witnesses by a person he knew.

A regular customer, for God’s sake. It’s a damned shame. 

Dennis Wilken is a former Port Orchard Independent reporter. 

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