Town of Enumclaw grows, it’s time to go | Letter

In 1984 I flew out from Illinois for a business meeting in Seattle and visited Mount Rainier while I was here. As I circled the mountain I found myself in a delightful, scenic, little town with a name whose pronunciation I could only guess at. With no street signs to tell me which way to turn to get back to Seattle, I spent a little time here. Who could have guessed that two years later I’d be living here, or that we would stay another 28 years? All of my kids think of the Plateau as their home town. Five were born here. One died here. Two school districts have employed me here. Thousands have befriended me and my family. Thank you.

I have watched the community deal with ups and downs, fairs and celebrations, fires and bad roads. I have seen marvelous administrators (thank you Jay Hambly and Jim Barchek) and read delightful reporting (thank you Marianne Binetti and Dennis Box). (I have also seen the reverse, but we recover and move on.) My daughters fell in love with horses, which I cannot afford, but I guess it is safer than men, and my sons and I hiked miles and miles of Cascade trails.

Several things have impressed me over the years – from the way the businesses in town accept and promulgate bad grammar as if it were standard, to the selfless service that has enriched our community, our cohesiveness and our souls. Particularly the work of the Plateau Outreach Ministries brings a tear to my eye. I am grateful that I was able to help a little from time to time.

Gracias a mis amigos hispanos, por la conversación y la amistad. Thanks to the students in the alternative school who were so kind. Everywhere I have been I have felt appreciated and safe. Where else could I have lived and been on a first-name basis with my mayor (thanks John Wise) or my legislator (thanks Pam Roach)? Where else would an officer of the law have stopped me just to chat (thanks Steve Perry and Chuck Hauswirth). Where else would a store clerk say, “Just pay the difference next time,” knowing I would?

All is not perfect yet. The trail between towns is not finished and riding a bike to work across the bridge is still dangerous. I will miss Ted’s editorials – always provocative, always dead center. I won’t miss the Enumclaw – that wind that removed one third of our roofs some years ago. I have never known another place where everyone, and I do mean every house, is alive with flowers in the spring. And it has been a real boon being able to walk everywhere, even to work when I felt ambitious.

Thank you everyone in Enumclaw, Buckley and environs. It is tough to leave now that the garden and the orchard are producing well and the house and yard are finished. But you may have noticed that you can walk around QFC these days and not recognize everyone. The town is getting too big. So it is time to move on. But you can still stay in touch with me. Pe Ell is not all that far away. God bless Enumclaw.

Joel Black