COMMENTARY: A Goodbye Love Letter to Vashon

Restaurateur Melinda Powers is moving to Arizona. In this love letter, she says au revoir to Vashon.

Thank you to The Beachcomber for allowing me to publicly say a final goodbye to an amazing place I have called home for 22 years and to the spectacular community I’ve come to know and love.

A poem by Rachel Lyman Field was given to me as a gift when I first moved to Vashon in 1998 and it has been true every day of my life since then. This excerpt says it all:

“Oh! You won’t know why, and you can’t say how such a change upon you came, but once you have slept on an island, you’ll never be quite the same…”

Our island holds mystic cords of humanity and nature. Any island that is only ferry-served is a unique and amazing place to live. It takes courage to move to such a place. But life begins where fear ends and once I braved the intrepid move to a rock in the heart of Puget Sound, it was easy to put down roots – deep roots. And then I went to work soaking up the beauty.

Ah, the beauty … the people, the trees, the water, the soil, and the views are all pure joy. I felt like I stumbled into heaven when I moved here. Vashonites, you are true titans of humanity and it was an honor to commingle souls with you all these years. Your talent is never-ending – great artists, musicians, business leaders, performing artists, farmers, vintners, writers, civil servants, and fierce non-profiters. Great people from all walks of life.

I was also honored to be part of the business community. There is an added layer of challenge that comes with running a business on an island (I have so many stories!). To my fellow business owners, hard work and courage got us through each year and I salute you as you continue to serve our community with your amazing businesses. It is a beautiful symbiotic relationship at its best. People in the community (as well as off-islanders) support our businesses and then the businesses turn around and support the needs of the community.

My greatest wish is that the legacy of The Hardware Store Restaurant continues and our descendants are eating there 100 years from now. The magic that happens in coming together around a table of good food and dear friends to celebrate the ups and downs of life is so important to the health of any community. A great gathering place in any town adds to the wellness of that community. Thank you, Vashon, for the support, friendship and camaraderie for 17 years at The Hardware Store.

Our non-profit community sets an amazing standard for giving – and not just money. Abundant time, money, energy and purpose are the hallmarks of Vashon non-profits. The most meaningful relationships I made were from working with volunteers for a common cause.

As I prepare to move to Arizona this month to be closer to my son, I must finally say, au revoir, Vashon. You restoreth my soul and this I know for sure, “today’s special…so is tomorrow.” Simple and true.

With love and gratitude to ALL,