Zero Degrees of Separation

You know how it goes. You meet someone you’ve never met before and while chatting, you realize you have a mutual friend or aquaintance.

Let me tell you a story….

So, on Tuesday, while I was Norwegianing (I swear it’s a real word, Spellcheck) my brains out at the annual Syttende Mai celebration down in Ballard, I noticed a guy chatting with my wife, and it seemed like he was referring to me. I was in the middle of a conversion with someone else, so I continued chatting until we wrapped up. Within seconds, this fellow came over and introduced himself.

“Hi, my name is Alex and you used to work with my mom!”

Well, if this was a movie, this could have gone all kinds of ways. But to answer the first question you had–and I had thought of it, too–no, he wasn’t my son.

It turns out that Alex’s mom was Heather Muphy, a woman I worked with years ago when I was at Destination Marketing, when we were making TV commercials. Heather was a production director or something like that, just great people and over the years, we stayed in touch the way most people do–watching each other’s Facebook posts.

But that’s just where my connection to Alex began.

Besides working with his mom, Alex said he had known my brother-in-law Kris for years. Then, I found out that he also knew Bruce Johnson, the Rowland Studio photographer, who was the official photo guy for Syttende Mai. Alex had gotten to know Bruce and my late radio buddy, Larry Nelson, back in their Chandler’s Crabhouse days.

It keeps going.

I was then introduced to his wife, Barbara. Not only had she worked at KING-5 for a while, but these days, she was at a company called Tri-Films. More connections. I had interned years ago at KING on the radio side, (although, I did chauffeur around the owner, Dorothy Bullitt for a week once while her regular driver was on vacation) but for a time, I was also a contributing writer to some of the projects Mark Dickison and the team did at Tri-Films.

They informed me that Mark had passed away years ago from pancreatic cancer. One of those cases where, here one day, diagnosed the next and gone within months. So sad. Mark once gave me the opportunity to write some jokes for the 75th birthday party that Bill Gates was putting on for Warren Buffett. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done, writing one-liners for the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diane Sawyer and others, back in 2005. I always wanted to get a copy of that gig, but never did.

Oh, yeah, back to Alex. Apparently, he followed his mom’s footsteps into the entertainment industry and besides being a stuntman, he has a stuntman agency here in Seattle that he operates with Barbara, called Seattle Stunt Company. Check out his IMDB, and you’ll see he did stunts on a lot of the movies you’ve seen.

And may I add, all this, and a really nice guy.

So, how did Alex discover this connection between his mom and yours truly? Apparently, he’s a member of the Leif Erikson Lodge in Ballard–just like me–and while showing his mom photos of a recent lodge event, she saw a picture of me and said, “Hey, that’s Tim Hunter!”

Such a small friggin’ world!

Tim Hunter

No Guarantees

Life is tricky stuff. You don’t want to obsess about what can go wrong, but you also don’t want to take it for granted, be oblivious to what’s going on around you and have life just blur by.

It’s precious stuff, folks.

Several things have triggered this week’s round of self-therapy. One is the recent flurry of bad health news surrounding some of the famous broadcast folks in our area.

You know how you think, “Oh, that was a couple of years ago, maybe five at the most.” Then, I look to see when radio icon Bob Rivers retired from broadcasting and it was 2014. Seriously? 8 years ago? My wife and I were lucky enough to grab an in-studio spot to witness the last broadcast up close, as Bob and his wife Lisa sold their estate out in North Bend and headed to the northeast, where they came from. They settled down on a pretty cool place in Vermont and Bob, among other things, took up the hobby of making maple syrup. Damn fine, maple syrup, I might add, as I bought a couple of jugs of this year’s harvest following some Facebook posts about the process. You can order some right here.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Bob dropped this bomb on his blog. He’s in a fight for his life, so that means he’s going to be taking some time off from his blog and podcast, to put up the good fight. In his words, “It’s serious. And there are three forks this journey can take. One may be brief, nuff said. The middle fork, and most likely, as I’m an excellent candidate for surgery, brings me back to a good quality of life for at least a few years. The third fork in this path has led me to two patients from the same medical team as me, alive and kicking in their 80’s.”

It’s just not fair.

Another Seattle radio guy who came from a famous role on a 70s TV series, Danny Bonaduce, has also taken leave from his morning show at KZOK. After his “Partridge Family” days, Danny went to into radio and had settled down in Seattle for the past 11 years. However, a couple of Fridays back, he announced he was going to be taking a medical leave for an undisclosed illness. His sister described it as a “mystery illness.”

And it was just last October that Channel 13 Meteorologist M.J. McDermott handed off the reigns of her weather duties to a friend of mine, Brian MacMillan. I chatted with M.J. about her future plans and she was so excited to be able to retire and pursue some of her other dreams. You can hear my interview with her here.

But a mere six months after hanging up her thermometer, M.J. got her bad medical news. She was diagnosed with Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma, Stage 1, and has started undergoing treatments. Not in her retirement game plan.

Now, all of the above folks and yours truly are part of fast-growing 60+ club and I’ve been encouraging people to pass along their prayers and positive thoughts as their beliefs dictate. When you get into this age category, it’s amazing how many friends and family you start hearing about and the unfortunate health woes that stalk them.

It goes back to my original thought–life is tricky. Hearing about all three of these brothers and sisters in broadcasting experiencing these health problems is just one more reminder of our frailty; but we just don’t want to think about that all the time. I mean, why spend what time you do have left worrying about how it will someday be gone?

I’ve known about their health news for a while. What I didn’t know about until this morning was the diagnosis this young student I don’t even know received this past week that just grabbed my heart. We were all in her position at one time–excited to head out into the working world, starting a life, raising a family….all those regular life challenges that are tough enough. But then you get slapped with a thing like this.

Life shouldn’t be a battle, but for far too many of us, it becomes one, when we least expect it. And it’s even more cruel when it happens to someone in their 20s, just starting out.

I’d say the bulk of us all that drive to get that next promotion, upgrade to a nicer car or home, go on the vacation that we’ve always dreamed of taking. These days, I find that what I’m trying to do in my own world is take it all one day on a time, treat every day as the precious gift it is, and be grateful for what I don’t have.

If you need examples of those things, go back to the top of the page.

Keep fighting, Maddie. Godspeed to everyone having to alter their life plan to deal with bad health news.

And if that doesn’t include you, there’s the first thing you should be grateful for every time you wake up.

Tim Hunter

This Just In….

You’ve lost me.

Oh, sure, I probably should have put something in the title that let people know this was intended for our news providers to read–especially radio and TV–but they wouldn’t bother anyway. They know better.

For starters, you’re reading something right now that was written by a news junkie. A guy consumed with what’s going on in the city, the nation and the world. I need to know everything that’s happening, especially for my hobby of writing jokes. For the longest time, I had my DVR to catch a 5 o’clock local news, and then a 5:30pm National News broadcast. My choice for quite a while was the #1 most watched newscast, ABC News with David Muir.

But that has now been deprogrammed from my VCR.

If you care for my opinion and maybe even be open to hearing my reasons for being done with that daily routine, here we go:

  1. It’s old news. For starters, the evening news used to be a nice collection of everything that happened in the day, for those of us who were too busy with life or work or family to try to catch one of the newscasts on the radio or TV. We’re no longer dependent on that. If you care, you receive a constant stream of information 24 hours a day on your phone, tablet or computer. By the time 5pm rolls around, the local news may contain a new story or two, but it’s usually a rehash of what we heard the day before.
  2. It’s bad news. I gotta say, locally, FOX 13 does a nice job of telling me things I didn’t know. Oh, they include the bad stuff, but the “bad stuff/new stuff” ratio is much better there. The rest of the locals all showcase the latest shootings or the continuing COVID saga. Add to that having a spouse that has hit the wall on negative news coverage and, if I am going to try and watch a newscast, I do it later in the evening after she’s gone to bed. And of course, by then, its old news.
  3. It’s repetitive news. I know its a tricky balance between telling people actual news, and repeating something they may have missed, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the same b-roll from the day before as I’m being told this is ‘breaking news’.
  4. Crying Wolf and not Blitzer. As much as I enjoy ABC’s coverage, the hype has worn thing. Watch the opening of “World News Tonight” and you’ll, “Breaking as we just come on the air”, “Breaking news” or “This just happened….” Rarely true. And again, unless its a seriously new breaking story, west coast viewers are getting a newscast 3 hours old.
  5. Now there’s News on Demand. For breaking news about major stories, I keep an eye on the Drudge Report and CNN. If I’m sitting at my computer, I can just say to my Amazon Echo, “Alexa, play ABC headline news” and if the missiles have actually been launched, they’ll tell me. Anytime I want.

So, what’s the answer? I truly don’t know and wonder if the “Evening News” is just an outdated model that will eventually go the way of the local daily newspaper?

Now, I know I’m about the farthest you can get from a ‘typical’ viewer. I get up at 4:45am every morning to write for Radio-Online, a radio show prep service for disc jockeys. Yes, I’m writing up stories about news items that won’t be used on the air for another 24 hours, but that’s why I write up a salad of stories and news items that, when you hear them, you’d say, “Dang, I didn’t know that!” Plus, that makes the radio listener think more highly of the voice passing along these stories, like, “Boy, they sure know everything that’s going on!”

So, when I’ve fed my last Radio-Online tidbit of information, it’s around 9am. When things happen during the day, I’ll add them to the feed, so that tomorrow morning, there’s as current a collection of information as possible.

Perhaps the TV evening news is hanging on thanks to a dwindling population. If you watch who the advertisers are during the newscast, you can see they skew older and disease-ridden. Really, how many medical disclaimers can you take in a 30-minute period?

Legends have occupied that space in American homes over the years: Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters, Huntley/Brinkley, Peter Jennings, oh, and Frank Reynolds. The technology was different back then. A nightly newscast was the only place you could get a roundup of what happened during the day. These days, the evening news best serves the graveyard shift worker who slept until 4 and wakes up to watch while eating a bowl of cereal.

I used to watch for nostalgia’s sake, but I’ve reached the point where I’m willing to let it go.

Plus, it allows me to get caught up on “Barry.”

It’s all about getting the most out of your available time.

Tim Hunter

Before The Parade Passes Me By

So, for years, I’ve been the voice of a couple of parades–the Bothell Freedom Festival Parade and the 17th of May Norwegian Constitution Day Parade in Ballard.

That includes at least 15 years in Bothell and another 10 in Ballard. So, I’ve got a combined 25 years’ worth of farting around and making smart-Alec remarks about what goes on before me as the parade passes me by.

In Bothell, my co-hosts over the years have included Joyce Goedeke, Joy Johnston, Judge Michelle Gehlsen, Dr. Eric Murray, and Bothell Civic Leader Mike Rue. While behind the mike in Ballard, I’ve hung out with Dori Monson, M.J. McDermott, Karen Pauley and Bjorn Nalum. Yeah, you can tell by the rotating names, I’m hard to get along with.

However, several weeks ago, I got the email that Bothell no longer needed my services and after a decade of doing the play-by-play for the city cable channel, I was officially retired. That’s fine. Time moves on and because of COVID, it’s been three years since the last time I had done a parade. I get it.

Now, normally, the place where I broadcast in Ballard over the loudspeakers to the crowd is where the judges make their decisions on who wins which awards, and it is THE place to be at the Syttende Mai Parade. But this year, things took a turn.

I was informed that my co-host of the past couple of years for the 17th of May parade was not going to be able to make it this year. Then, I was told the judges would no longer be based at my broadcast location, but rather an earlier stop along the parade route. So, it would be just me, on my own, from a new location in Ballard known as Bergen Place Park–I was still honored to be able to do it, but needless to say, my enthusiasm was dampened.

Then, I got an idea. A real Norwegian that I have a great rapport with, Ozzie Kvithammer, could be my new co-host. Slip him a couple of Aquavits and God knows what could come out of his mouth. He agreed, so brace yourself.

If you are planning to head down to Ballard for the big parade on the 17th of May, by all means, get within earshot of our broadcast to the crowd at 20th & Market and I promise, we’ll be at least entertaining. If nothing else, you’ll want to say you were there when we actually said THAT over the loudspeakers. The streets start packing in there around 4pm, the parade steps off at 6pm.

I’m down to just one parade, but I’m looking very forward to making this one really count.

Tim Hunter

Is That The Retirement Bug Coming On?

For the bulk of my life, I have been running a marathon with no finish line.
If we were to sit down together and try to figure out what makes me tick, what keeps me going, I would probably point out that I have already (I think) determined that during a session with myself.

For the majority of my life, I have felt like the clock is ticking. None of us know how much time we get, but I just want to make sure I get in everything I want to do before the timer goes off. The problem with that is that as I check things off the top of the list, I keep adding more items to the bottom. You see how this works.

The result is a constant need to keep going, to push, to drive myself. Having a hand-written list to the right of this keyboard so that when I get another thing done, I cross it off. When I get too many things crossed off, I start a new list, importing the tasks still left to do from the old list. It’s the only way I keep it all straight.

But what I’ve noticed happening is that some of the things that make up my work week are seriously losing their importance to me. Things I feel I have to do, or really should keep doing, I’m getting dangerously close to pulling the plug.

It must be part of that mental adjustment that occurs in your brain when days of playing with grandkids or going wine tasting or sneaking away for the weekend have a much greater importance in your life. You realize that those are the things that make you happy, that reduce the stress in your life and thus, help extend that precious life of yours.

I remember when my broadcast buddy Larry Nelson was forcibly retired from KOMO radio. It was basically a surprise going away party–“Surprise! You’re going away.” In the months and years that followed, as I continued to feel that radio addiction, I would talk about him coming back to another station, returning to Seattle morning radio and showing the bastards at KOMO and, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t that he was defeated, he was just content with those things that retirement offer–lunches with friends, golf, trips to Mexico, grandkids. I just couldn’t understand how he could let radio go.

Lar, I get it now. I really, really get it.

For the time being, I’m going to continue doing my little morning show on KRKO because it helps keep my toe in radio, but I can feel it coming on. This September, it will have been four years that I went back on the air. I’m hoping to make it that far. But I was reminded once again over the weekend with some Easter Egg hunts and just watching a new generation learn and realize all those things I went through years ago, that’s the real-life stuff we should be taking in and enjoying.

I’m pretty sure in my final moments on earth, I won’t be thinking about that one more morning show I could have done. It’ll be the voice of a young granddaughter looking at me and calling me ‘Grandpa Tim’ and remembering back when she was that young. That was just one of the great moments from this past weekend.

In the meantime, I start to slide into the landing pattern, with a goal of touching down into retirement in three short years. Time flies by as it is, so I know that will be there before you know it. And, again, my retirement is definitely going to be a hybrid of things, with some of the stuff I’m doing now, but also thinning out the herd of responsibilities to only include the fun stuff. The things that I would do whether I was getting paid or not.
I’m not there yet, but man, I feel it coming on!

Tim Hunter

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND IT CAME OUT A DRAW

Yeah, it won’t be a song title.

Besides being therapeutic and cathartic, one of the driving purposes for me sitting down each week for the past couple of decades and sharing something that passed through my brain is to share an experience that might benefit you in the future.

So recently, I was invited to attend a meeting of the new Ballard FC soccer club at Skäl Beer Hall, to talk about an upcoming “Nordic Night” at one of their home games.

I arrived on Ballard Avenue in front of the restaurant, grabbed a spot and went to pay for an hour with the city’s wonderful Pay by Phone app. I’ve used it often and it really does make it really easy to pay for parking. And their rates aren’t that bad. 75-cents here, 50-cents there.

But when I tried to pay, I got this note of rejection.

 

 

And, of course, fearing I might need proof of this, I took a picture of it.

I tried again. Again. And again. Same message.

Well, by this time, the meeting was about to begin, so since they weren’t willing to take my money, i went into Skäl.

When I emerged 45 minutes later, there it was. Tucked under my windshield wiper, a parking ticket.

 

 

Yes, you read right. $44 worth of parking ticket. Pretty much $1 a minute while I was in there.

On the back side of the ticket, was a place to let them know you wanted to contest it and where to mail it. Oh, absolutely. I put together an explanation letter, said I wanted to fight it in court and off in the mail it went.

Several days later, I received a note back from them that I could set up a court date or write up a one-page letter contesting the citation which would mean I’d accept whatever the magistrate decided.

I chose option B and popped that in the mail and awaited my fate.

Here’s what the magistrate sent back to me:

 

 

As you can see, I am “responsible for the above committed charge.”  Even though their app wasn’t working, I was supposed to “move the vehicle to another spot.”  It wasn’t the spot that was the problem, it was the app.

So, guilty…but no fine and it doesn’t appear on my driving record. Still, it was the cost of about an hour of my time and two stamps to get to the zero fine. However, to me, it was well worth it.

To summarize the life lessons here:

  • If you’re paying by app, and the app won’t accept your payment, move to another spot. Maybe it will work there.
  • Or, you can go my route and hope to get that first-time pass. If you’ve got the time and ambition.
  • Or, just stay at home. Stop being involved in so many things and open a beer.

I think from now on, I’m going with option C.

Tim Hunter

I Was Almost At The Bus Station When My Ship Came In

So, for years, I’ve been using an Alaska Airlines card to rack up mile so that, whenever we travel, we can get some ridiculously cheap airfares.

And it’s worked great–until a pandemic came along. Then we stopped traveling. So, with almost 100,000 miles waiting to be used, I thought I’d take advantage of Costco’s offer of switching to their VISA card, which would give me rewards cash back.

Oh, I’ve been using this for everything. Xfinity bill? Pay it with the Costco Citi card, then immediately pay the card off. Basically, use it like a debit card, but just make sure to pay it off right away.

I figured my rewards would come to me like the previous Executive Member Rewards and last year, I received a check for $177-ish, which was a kick back on my in-store purchases at Costco. I even lost that check at the store and had to ask for a replacement, which they sent in the mail a couple of weeks later.

I thought that was the end of it.

But then at the end of last year, I got this email that looked about as spammy as they get.

Oh, sure. Who do you think you’re dealing with here, pal? I already got my rebate check, fools. And I’ve never received anything in the $400 club. And what’s with the info4.citi.com address? Oh, I’m not falling for that one.

A week later, the aforementioned rebate check appeared in my inbox:

Uh, well, it looks real. But I don’t have time to deal with this right now. So, I devised a plan: print it out, take it to Costco at some point and see what they have to say about it.

Well, that was in early January. As readers of this blog know, that’s when my world got turned upside down and our downstairs flooded, wiping it all out. I had printed out the coupon and it sat behind my laptop until this past week, when I was heading north to visit a friend. I thought, this is the perfect occasion to just hop into customer service, ask if it’s real and be on my way.

I walked into the Shoreline location, the guy asked me to step forward and I told him the story of this spam-looking coupon. He playfully said, “Oh, one of these,” took it from my out-stretched hand and tucked it underneath the cash in his open till. He continued his dry delivery with someone like, “Yeah, I’d just forget about it, if I were you. I’ll take care of it.”

He then handed me a quarter.

As I stood there wondering what was going on, he grabbed a chunk of bills from his till and started counting out: “20, 40, 60, 80, 100…..” and so on, until he had counted out $438 to go with my new quarter.

“It’s real?” I asked. He replied, “Yup!” I told him, “If I could get through this glass, I’d hug you.”

The spam-looking coupon was authentic. The measly 3% kickback grew to quite the size by using the card to pay for almost everything over the year.

But I couldn’t help but wonder how many other people saw that email come in, viewed it as spam, and never collected their bonus? I wonder if CITI Bank is counting on that happening?

It’s why I felt compelled to tell you about it. I mean, seriously, I almost threw the darn thing out because it wouldn’t have been worth the hassle or embarrassment to take it into Costco and ask.

Search your inbox in late December and early January for CITI, Rewards or Costco and see what shows up. I can’t believe I almost tossed away $400 because of how weary I am about receiving spam. I was this close to being at the bus station when my ship came in.

Tim Hunter

But, What About….?

Well, good news and bad news for the Academy Awards this year.

Ratings were up by 5-million people compared to last year. I haven’t heard people talking about what happened at the Oscars like this in years.

Of course, back in my day, they were more civil about it. The year Marlon Brando refused to accept his Oscar, he sent a Native American woman in his place, Sacheen Littlefeather, to refuse to accept his award for “The Godfather.”

George C. Scott also refused one for his work in “Patton” and while producer Frank McCarthy accepted the award the night of the show, he returned it to the Academy the next day, per Scott’s request.

And no one was assaulted.

It’s been amazing to see the split of opinions of what happened Sunday night. You’d think, a guy walks up on stage, strikes someone and walks away shouting profanities to him on international television. Should be pretty one-sided. Not in this day and age. There are two distinct sides to every friggin’ issue that comes along and this was no exception.

There are those who feel that kind of response was completely wrong, sets a bad precedent, was uncalled for, degraded the institution and should be dealt with harshly.

Then there are those who say he stood up for his wife and chivalry is still alive.

I believe when you get to the upper echelon of Hollywood like those involved, you lose all kinds of common sense. Just ask Will Smith’s gardener’s personal masseuse’s executive chef.

OK, so the whole thing taught me a new word: alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that can result in hair loss. Oh, I knew she had something that had caused hair loss. Hey, we’ve all got our problems and Jada had embraced her condition many times before in the private confines of social media. Among the quotes in a recent post on TikTok: “I don’t give two craps about what people think about this bald head of mine. Cuz guess what? I love it.”

So, Chris Rock ad-libbed the line (it wasn’t in rehearsals), Will Smith laughed and then turned to his wife, who wasn’t amused and the rest is history.

OK, now that’s the review of the main story. Others were upset about the “In Memoriam” collection and the fact that it didn’t include Ed Asner and Bob Saget. Others got bent about a bit where Amy Schumer referred to Kristen Dunst as “a seat filler.” As if she didn’t recognize her, or was disrespecting her. (Kristen was in the gag)

There was something to upset everyone.

However, one of the bits puzzled me more than upset me. We’ve just come through a recent purge of tearing apart actors and careers because they had been closet letches. The creators of the “Casting Couch” finally got their comeuppance, and a spotlight was cast on the weasels and low-life’s that had preyed on women over the years.

I could have sworn that the lesson was received well, there was a new morality in town and we would no longer degrade people, of either gender, ever again.

And then this happened.

Funny? I’d give it mildly humorous. Love Regina Hall. Nice of everyone (except Will Smith) to play along. These days, when I watch older TV shows and movies, I cringe when I see some of the things that we laughed at back then. There are countless incidents of “Oh, they’d never get away with that today.”

While everyone knew Regina wasn’t going to take them backstage and give one of them “a deep PCR test” and she felt up a couple of them, imagine that bit being played out with the genders reversed? It would have been Will Smith’s dream. Everyone would have been talking about that bit, and maybe by the time he slapped Chris, we would have been more focused on the outrageous, sexist bit they dared to put on the Oscars.

In the skit, in case you haven’t watch the video, among the things Regina said was going to happen when she went backstage with them:

  • Just ake off your mask…and your clothes….
  • Then I’m going to swab the back of your mouth with my tongue….
  • And we’ll do some other freaky stuff which I’ll record for Academy protocol.

Oh, I’m not mad about this in the least. I was just frankly, a bit in shock. It’s just illogical in the aftermath of #metoo.

Or, maybe I’m over-reacting and should just imagine the laughs Harvey Weinstein could have had with that bit.

Equal means equal. Just sayin’….

Tim Hunter

A Valley Full of Ghosts

With a wife out of the country, I decided to do some things I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Last Wednesday, I went up on a school night to Whidbey Island to have dinner with some longtime friends I just hadn’t seen in a while.

On Friday, I tried out the new Amazon Fresh store that opened near our home.

And over the weekend, I semi-spontaneously decided to head over to Walla Walla and do some wine-tasting. You can never go wrong there and it had been at least a decade since my last visit. As far as the tasting went, I made some amazing discoveries and brought back quite a collection.

But surrounding the delicious tastings was a trip down and back through the Yakima Valley. Since you have nothing to do but think as you drive along the highway, I started reflecting on that area and the many memories associated with the valley.

Some good, some bad.

Yakima is where this guy landed after graduating from the University of Washington with a Communications degree, wanting to put it to work in radio. I had looked in the Washington State Association of Broadcaster want ads, saw there was opening in Yakima at a station called KQOT and set up an interview.

It was a long, nervous drive as I hoped they would see the good in me and hire me for my first professional radio job. After chatting with the business manager and the owner for a while, they said, “Let’s hear how you sound.” We walked into the control room, he tapped the disc jockey on the air on the shoulder, told him to get up and I was instructed to do a show. Apparently, it was their practice when auditioning talent, they would set them down in front of the microphone and then go out and drive around, listening to them on the radio.

I was hired. $350 a month to start, bumped up to $375 if I “worked out.”

I spent a total of less than three years in the Yakima radio market, but those were three very life-eventful years..

I reconnected with an aunt, uncle and some cousins that I hadn’t seen in years down in Wapato, just to the south. They had a mobile home for rent on their peach orchard for $175 a month. OK, there was half my paycheck. Shortly after moving over, my college sweetheart came over for a visit. She missed me. But I had decided it was just too early to settle down with someone, that we needed to break up. I was a jerk to her all weekend and she left knowing that we were over. Of all the things I carry with me through this life, how I handled that still haunts me.

So, let’s see. I got to be a disc jockey, do high school dances, do a ton of radio production and copywriting. Did some serial dating, had a stalker. (that’s a whole blog in itself) On the personal side, I eventually met someone, fell in love and got married immediately prior to getting a call from Larry Nelson at KOMO radio in Seattle to come ever there and be his producer.

Yeah, in less than three years, a whole hell of a lot happened.

On my way down to the Walla Walla wine-tasting trip, I arranged to meet up with Brady Layman, who was the seasoned veteran of KQOT when I first went to work there. He was now living in the Tri-Cities and reminded me that, as a child, he had polio. It had come back to bite him again as he was now wheelchair bound. We reminisced about those KQOT days: the people, the crazy promotions, the River Floats, etc. I asked about a couple of the old gang that we used to hang around with. One had a heart transplant and was now living in Spokane. The other had a tragic end with a messy divorce that drove him to take his own life. But even though that was 45 years ago, we both remembered details that triggered the other to remember something else, and it was just a wonderful stroll down memory lane.

After posting some pictures of day 1 of wine tasting, one of my kids’ former teachers from Bothell High School reached out and said, “You’re here? Let’s wine-taste tomorrow!” So, an extra stop was added to my eastern Washington tour and Shelly Crump & I managed to sip and reminisce in the early hours of that Sunday.

Then it was on the road again, this time to Terrace Heights, east of Yakima. Gary Myhre and I had a blast together during my time at both KQOT and KMWX. He was supposed to buy KQOT and we were going to rule the valley but the deal went south, he went across town and I went with him. If you search these blogs, he’s come up before so I won’t repeat stories, but we had so much fun at those stations. He’s always been so complimentary of what I do, so it was always nice to have a fan. And here we are, 40+ years removed from those days and when we get together, it seems like it was just yesterday.

By the way, weird coincidence—both Gary and Brady married women named Peggy.

My next stop was with the one remaining relative in the area, Bonnie, who was on that peach orchard with my aunt & uncle all those years ago. Another person I’ve previously blogged about with a fascinating story, but this was just a check-in to see how she was doing since losing her partner two years ago. It obviously still hurt. We had a great catchup and then I headed home.

I wanted to drive by that peach orchard and see if that mobile home was still there, but just ran out of time. To me, I’m just amazed when I actually think of how many life-shaping events took place during my 34 months in the Yakima Valley. I’m sure if we ever get together and you start me on that stretch of time, several dozen wild stories will come to mind.

Just like with Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, not all ghosts are bad and some are there to help us understand our lives even more. I guess if I’m ever feeling like I’ve got everything figured out, all I need to do is head east of the mountains and return to the Valley of the Ghosts.

Yeah, there are a LOT of stories that didn’t come to mind during this time through.

I’ll just save those for the next time.

Tim Hunter

Life Hack #189–Go To Arizona

We’re all on this journey together and whenever I come across a life hack that is life changing, I feel compelled to pass it along.

My latest discovery occurred during the much-dreaded “Spring Ahead” weekend, which occurs during the shortest weekend of the year. Once again, we were forced to move our clocks ahead an hour to please the ghost of Ben Franklin and appease farmers who lived over 100 years ago.

This year, the time change was scheduled for the same weekend that I was invited to the wedding of a good friend, Corey Newton. He was marrying the love of his life and I was not going to miss it, so on Saturday morning, we flew down to Arizona, caught the wedding and reception, saw a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in a while, went to bed, woke up and flew back home to Seattle.

Besides being an incredible wedding, It was the most painless time-switch ever.

You see, when we left Seattle on Saturday, we were still on Standard time. When we landed in Arizona shortly before noon, we had arrived in a state that ditched the time change years ago. They are in the Mountain Standard Time Zone, or Seattle’s version of “Daylight Saving Time” year ’round.

Technically, we “lost an hour” during the flight. But who knew? On paper, it was a 4-hour flight but in fact, was actually a 3-hour flight. Think about it–when you’re on an airline, you really can’t be a good judge of time. I’ve been on 2-hour flights that seem like 5 hours, and 8-hour flights that seemed like 4. Airline flights are a lot like movies: when you check your watch, they’ve gone on too long.

In this case, I spent the three hours in flight doing some work on my laptop and then catching a short movie. The next thing we know, we’re landing in Arizona. From that point, until the time we flew home, there was no time change. We woke up Sunday morning in the same time zone in which we landed, and Seattle adjusted their clocks while we were gone.

Even my wife, who is one of the time change’s biggest critics, barely talked about it. I figure if it makes her life easier, it may just justify going on an Arizona trip every second weekend of March.

As for what we’re going to do in the fall when we return to standard time, I’m sure if there’s an easier way to do that. I guess I could try to talk her into a trip to Alaska, but that could be tricky. I’ll work on that angle.

But in the meantime, next year for “Spring Ahead” weekend, may I offer up Life Hack #189: When it’s time to “Spring Ahead”, Go to Arizona.

Tim Hunter