The Beauty of a Community

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Space Needle from the Ferry

We live across the bay from downtown Seattle. A big city where there is a lot of discord right now but that isn’t what this post is about. Our neighborhood community has grown leaps and bounds in the last 20 years or so, most good and some, maybe, a bit too much and too fast. All in all, we are still a small community that connects through walks on the beach, our neighborhood coffee shops, bakeries, specialty stores, a movie theater, many annual community events and a Sunday Farmer’s Market. What I’m trying to say is while we may disagree on bike lanes and dog poop disposal (!), we look out for each other.

I’ve mentioned before that our youngest son and his wife are co-owners of The Swinery, a Mom and Pop Butcher Shop/Deli/BBQ joint – it’s hard to classify it as just one thing beyond being a fixture in the community. Everything is hand made – from the mayonnaise and aioli’s to the pickles and bbq sauces. The meats are hand cut, the sausages are hand stuffed. The coppa is trussed beautifully for the perfect presentation on any table. The potatoes are hand sliced and the oil they are fried in comes from pig fat they grind and render, it is a very hands on business where nothing goes to waste (even the tomato ends are smoked).

How some are avoiding a $75 ticket for taking the low bridge instead of driving around like you are supposed to (tape over license plate).

I am sure I’ve complained our neighborhood has taken a HUGE hit when the city deemed the bridge to our community unfit to drive on over 500 days ago. They closed the bridge the same week the city/state closed down due to the pandemic. Perhaps you can imagine the impact this has not only on us who work outside of the home to get to and from work, but on local businesses. Customers outside the neighborhood can’t get here to visit and shop and deliveries and repairs are delayed, if they will come here at all. Going to the supply stores can take an hour longer then it did pre bridge closure. The effects to small business from the pandemic is horrible enough, add to it the closing of the bridge and it is an extra punch in the gut.

This past summer Seattle had record breaking heat ( ). Some of the large grocery stores had refrigeration equipment failures and guess what….. so did small restaurants. Seems refrigeration condensers do not like getting over heated in 100+ degree weather! Their meat display case and walk in refrigeration units went down and along with it was a substantial amount of inventory. With all this, The Swinery has stayed open. They adjusted their hours and dates of operation but never closed. We have been so proud of them and helped when we can, whether I go up during the week and do some prep work or we go together on a weekend and assemble poutine or a bahn mi, a cubano sandwich or rib and fries.

After months of struggle and beginning to feel the despair, last week they started a gofundme campaign. It was a difficult decision not taken lightly, no one wants to admit out loud to struggling, but they posted it on their Facebook page. Within 36 hours they had surpassed their goal and while it’s been a week, my eyes are still welling up as I write this because the generosity of our community came through and lifted them, financially and emotionally. We are all humbled by the outpouring of care by long time, and new, customers, family and old friends, the neighbors on our residential block and those from far away. They have received cards and messages from customers who have long moved away but remember them fondly. It even caught the eye of Seattle’s KIRO 7 news channel and they came out to tell the story. It’s been an emotional week and I am beyond grateful – and exhausted!

#ittakesavillage #community #theswinery #westseattle #admiraljunction #smallbusiness #restaurant #bbq #dannysribs #gofundme #grateful #humble #okaytoaskforhelp #cubano #poutine #dangerfries #coppa #peoplearekind

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