I wrote this column a year ago, but never submitted it for publication. For me, the Thanksgiving holiday each year is a reminder to engage more deeply with the gratitude I feel for so much in my life. I hold this Edmonds experience close to my heart even now, as we have not visited since. Happy Thanksgiving, Edmonds!
My husband and I snuck into Edmonds last month. It was just for a few days to take care of some business. It became so much more.
We are very fortunate to have multiple invitations to stay with friends when we come to town. We chose instead for this short trip to book a vacation rental very near downtown Edmonds. I was excited to be a tourist in my own town!
I always want to see everyone when I visit, but it’s physically impossible, and it can be stressful. The intention was to stay under the radar on this trip, incognito in fact, telling almost no one we were here. If it’s even possible to be incognito in our little town!
Of course, we immediately ran into dear friends, literally two minutes after we left our vacation rental to walk downtown for dinner. Strangely enough, we hadn’t seen these folks in years, and I was just thinking about them when they came driving down the street. You can imagine the looks on their faces when their vehicle came to a halt in the middle of the road and down came that window! When I hit QFC early the next morning for half-and-half, I was thinking of Heidi, the former manager at that Starbucks location, who was so instrumental in supporting me after my husband Dan died. I had not seen her in five years and when I reached the dairy section, I looked to the left and there she was, coming my way. It was a glorious reunion indeed!
Every morning I happily took a walk in the unseasonably warm and sunny weather, and then headed over to Walnut Café, where I sat in the same spot outside every day and made friends with Otis and Cuckoo and where at least one person (hi Jordan!) working there still knows me. I realized when I lived in Edmonds, I never seemed to have time to just sit and enjoy my coffee with my fellow locals. On this trip I did. I may have even pretended in casual chit chat that I still lived in Edmonds, but can you blame me?
I still see my “hair whisperer“ Geri when I come to town, and I was lucky to get in with her due to a cancellation. Strolling down the street with my new haircut, I saw Todd, owner of Bountiful Home, out front pruning his trees. I had not seen him in many years. I will not have that chance again to visit his shop, as he informed me that after almost 16 years in business he had decided to retire and close it all down. I feel so fortunate I ran into him. We visited our favorite server Tosh, now doing her thing at one of Edmonds’ newest restaurants, Charcoal. I can’t believe how much of a destination the former “Deadmonds” has transformed into! We loved meandering around, popping into old favorite shops and new ones as well, and revisiting the beach and marina. On our last night in town, we treated ourselves to Salt & Iron, miraculously scoring two seats at the always packed bar. Naturally we found ourselves engaged in earnest conversation with yet another local because that’s how it is here, right?
Even while I attempted to remain incognito, Edmonds seems determined to ensure I stay connected to this community.
I have a lot going on right now, but I needed this trip. I needed to feel the love, and the connection, and the familiarity, and the vibrancy, and feel like I am still a part of something special. It’s good to walk in multiple places and have someone know your name and greet you as a regular.
I’m thinking that perhaps you can leave a community, but it won’t leave you. And I am deeply and profoundly grateful for that. Thanks for being there for me, Edmonds, not just when I come back to town, but in how you all read and comment on this column every month. My connection to Edmonds endures in many ways.
I don’t think I need to remind you or myself that nothing ever stays the same. But in this case, I’ll take it for as long as I can get.
— By Pritam Potts
Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.mrsathlete.net and www.advancedathlete.com.