Letters | Jan. 6 edition

Proof that Santa Claus exists

This morning we were backing out of my driveway when I noticed a wrapped present on our roof. So, of course, I said, “Stop, there’s a present on the roof!” After my dad set up the ladder, I climbed up to have a look. As I walked over to the present, I suddenly noticed about seven completely chewed up carrots – just the ends. I told one of my parents to get a plastic bag to put the carrot stubs in. After they were picked up, I suddenly realized that they were the carrots I had put in Santa’s snack for the reindeer the previous night. Then I noticed some sparkly, glittery stuff on the ground. It looked like glitter, but it was almost too thick. I told my mom to get some tweezers, and I picked up some of the strange “Santa dust.” It is currently in my possession. This is possibly proof of Santa Claus.

Joe Reigel

Age 9

Thank you to the Carpenters

A big thank you to the Carpenter family and Deer Harbor Inn for once again serving free turkey dinners with all the trimmings on Christmas day. Lots and lots of people came and enjoyed the delicious food,

Christmas carols being played on the piano, and the general warmth and good cheer of the inn. The Carpenter family has provided free holiday dinners as a gift to the community for many years. All they

ask in return is that diners make a donation to the Orcas Island Food Bank if they are able. It is my hope the community will show their appreciation for the Carpenter family’s generosity by patronizing the Deer Harbor Inn throughout the year.

Sheila Gaquin

Deer Harbor

Wonderful season of entertainment

Even in the depression, Orcas had entertainment. We had minstrel shows (oh my goodness!), variety shows, and an operetta “Tulip Time” directed by Papa, in which Uncle John played Hans in cardboard wooden shoes. Ansel Eckmann, a bush pilot who won Buckhorn Lodge in a dice game, played jazz piano. Bob Kelton, Sr. had a bass voice that was like drum rolls. The large Hiskey family, who all played instruments, provided live music at the Saturday night dances and then sang in the choir the next morning at the not-quite-free Methodist church.

This season’s Choral Society concert was spectacular with such a huge choir, so many instruments, and a large repertoire. It was so beautiful!

“A Christmas Carol” was imaginative and innovative. The management of the movement of so many on stage, the beautiful costumes, stunning music, great detail – even a hurdy-gurdy – were very impressive. The lighting was unusual. My very favorite part was Marley’s ghost’s costume, because it was both scary and looked as though it might dissolve into the fog.

I feel so lucky to have been at the concert and the play. What can they possibly do next year that will be as good?

Mary Gibson Hatten

Orcas Island

Heartbroken on Orcas

I have lived on this beautiful island for 23 years. Not long, compared to others, but most of my life. When I moved here at age 14, I fell in love. High school was hard at first because I was new in a very small town, but it didn’t take long for the island to take me under its wing. I learned over the years that islanders took care of each other and I quickly learned to love my new “family.” Business owners supported each other and respected that everyone here works hard to be able to live and survive here.

Lately I have been very disheartened by the fact that it seems businesses and people are attacking and backstabbing each other rather than coming together in support. We have all been through rough times, but does that justify sabotage? We at Vern’s Bayside have actually had our “OPEN” sign turned to “CLOSED.” Lights outside have been unscrewed to make the place look dark and unopened.

I respect that all businesses are having a hard time, but does it mean that it is okay to turn to immature, petty harassment? Employees badmouthing other establishments while on duty at their current place of employment? Come on people, what happened to the island way?

This is actually the first time in more than 20 years that I have thought to myself that maybe hard honest work doesn’t pay off, and maybe, just maybe, I should walk away and start over. I cannot be the only person noticing these changes. But it’s not too late to pull the family back together, or is it?

Marion Rathbone

Vern’s Bayside

Healthcare jobs are not recession-proof

I was amused to see the column in the paper about the Orcas economy that implied health care jobs were recession-proof. Yes, it’s probably true, those who work at clinics where bills are paid by insurance companies or Medicare are probably not seeing a huge reduction in customers. But when someone loses a job, that person also loses his or her insurance. I’m guessing here, but surely this impacts the numbers of customers one sees sitting in the doctor’s office lobby?

And it is true, the Medicaid-funded public mental health clinic where I work part-time is doing a booming business with perhaps even a doubling of the number of people seeking services. Bad economic times create difficult circumstances and overwhelming emotions, so folks are coming through our doors requesting counseling in droves.

However, those healthcare practitioners in independent practice who previously served those who do not have insurance or who are in the line of work that some insurances do not cover have been severely impacted by the recession if my situation is an indicator.

My private psychotherapy practice has seen a 75 percent reduction in numbers over the last year from the previous one. And those clients who I am seeing are those who are able to take advantage of my sliding fee scale because their income has been reduced but hasn’t entirely disappeared. I am counseling very few full-fee clients at my normal $90 per hour rate – most are those who qualify for the $30 per hour rate by earning less than $15K per year or pay $60 by earning less than $25K.

So as you can deduce, the combination of reduced numbers of clients and reduced rates combines to create a reduction in my independent practice income of over 90 percent. Since I also closed my little bookstore due to declining numbers of customers below the level of net income that paid the rent, the additional decline in psychotherapy clients has certainly impacted this healthcare worker’s personal economy.

The only person I’ve personally spoken to who says her business is recession proof is the pet supply store owner, a fact which I find wonderfully heart warming. Puppies and kittens for everyone, I say!

P. Morgan Randall MA LMHC

Orcas Island