'F' as in Frank

'S' as in safe

Despite having a nagging cold and cough, I enjoyed a couple of days away with Joni this past week. We were in a town north of Seattle on the waterfront.

Joni and I got up there Sunday afternoon after a Mother's Day visit with Joni's mom.

We were greeted at the bed and breakfast with a note inviting us to come on in and make ourselves at home because the innkeepers were away running errands.

So we walked in through the unlocked door, found our room and unloaded our stuff.

Our experience is that it's not unusual for one of the innkeepers to temporarily be away to run a chore, especially on typically slow Sundays. But it seemed unusual to us for the house to be totally empty of help and unlocked.

Realizing we didn't have a key to our unlocked room, Joni and I waited for a bit because we didn't feel comfortable leaving our baggage in an unlocked house, with an unlocked room, no less.

After a short while we got antsy to explore the downtown waterfront and quaint shops. So, heeding the trusting spirit of the innkeepers, we left our bags unguarded and headed down to find a town packed to the gills with visitors.

We were greeted by a waterfront that was packed stern to rudder with people in town for a festival.

The crowd eventually thinned out as we finished a leisurely dinner, soaking in the sunset and scenes of passing boats.

We returned to the B&B and found everything safe and sound. Not long after we got back the innkeepers appeared. After a brief visit and exchange of greetings, I asked about a key for our room.

"Oh we don't worry about keys," smiled Cindy, one of the innkeepers. "We leave everything unlocked during the day. This is a very safe town."

After I picked my jaw up off the floor all I could do was smile...and try to remember the last time I safely and sanely felt that I could leave anything unlocked.

In contrast to the apparent oasis of security we were visiting, I thought about our house in the Lower Valley, where we had everything locked up tight.

I thought about how safe, or unsafe, I had felt at times when joining the throng of crowds in town here recently for a weekend festival.

I thought about the litter underfoot that I had to dodge and the under-reported crimes that took place during that weekend.

All of this is why I don't mention the name of our weekend getaway city in this column...I don't want to give enough details so one of our hooligans here would want to check it out for all the wrong reasons.

After all, it's nice to know there are places in this world Joni and I can go where community trust and unlocked doors aren't just a distant memory from my childhood...but an actual reality today.


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