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Everyone's entitled to be remembered for something dignified
Walking the dog involves a multitude of plastic bags stuffed inelegantly in my pocket until they are full. (I don’t want to paint you a picture of me carrying dog poo in my pocket.)
No, I carry enough of it in small plastic bags.
I’m pretty militant about picking up all the dog drops. Not because the stuff is unsanitary and unsightly. Nor because I don’t want to step in it later.
Although those are all good reasons, they are not my primary reasons.
No, I pick up my dog’s poo religiously, because of a naval officer’s wife and a memory that haunts me.
Did she teach me how to pick up dog poo correctly? Did she set a good example?
Well, not exactly.
When I was younger, living at Subase Bangor, every day as I was working in the yard in the vain hope of one day winning the “Best Yard” award, a young Navy bride would walk along the sidewalk on my street with her large dog.
Every day that dog would choose my lawn to dirty on and every day I would pull myself up that slope and clean up the poo before the judges managed to see it.
Did I ever meet or talk to this young bride?
Did I learn her name?
No, she died before I ever could.
It happened while her husband was out to sea, on a trip she took to see her in-laws in Arizona.
Her father-in-law didn’t see the car bear down on his motorcycle.
He was killed instantly. She died a week or two later from a blood clot in the lungs.
Even though that tragedy happened 18 years ago, I think about her often as I walk my dog and collect his poo. Sadly, the only memory I have of this young bride is of dog poo.
And frankly, that seems so unfair.
I had been bugging the South Kitsap Parks & Recreation commissioners for years and now am bugging the Kitsap County Park’s Department to give us the space for a Peace Memorial Garden at the South Kitsap Regional Park.
I was more than a little concerned when Martha Droge with the department told me that they already have a mandate with WSU Cooperative Extension and the Port Orchard Rotary to create a memorial garden in honor of a Rotary founder. The county was gifted $15,000 from the Rotary club to do so.
They had to move this “mandated” garden from the Howe Farm, which apparently lacks sufficient water to plant the previously approved gardens.
While I don’t have a problem with a club, especially this one, honoring an important member, I believe a memorial garden at the park, especially that park, should be all-inclusive.
In other words, I think if and when we start dividing that park up into its various uses and designs, a memorial garden needs to be open to all. No offense to the Port Orchard Rotary Club that wishes to honor one of their own, but I would ask that they broaden their vision and scope.
Let this memorial garden honor venerable community fathers and mothers, as well as everyone and anyone who holds a place in the hearts of someone in South Kitsap.
Because frankly, everyone deserves to be remembered by something that’s more honorable, more dignified, more loving, more relative and relevant to his or her life, and more long lasting than dog poo.
Everyone deserves to have it said of them that what they did, or were, mattered.
I would love it if you would advocate for an all inclusive memorial garden at the park.
You can do so by contacting Martha Droge and/or Chip Faver at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or (360) 337-5361.
Mary Colborn is a Port Orchard resident.