What A Vacation Feels Like

Oh, it’s been a while.

I’ve kiddingly labeled a recent 2-day stay in Leavenworth as a vacation, because it’s really been the only time in the past 17 months that we got away from the usual routine and even though it was less than 48 hours away from home, I took it.

But last week, we flew out of Seattle and hit Santa Barbara for a few days, then went off to my hometown of Torrance, California, to hang with mom as she approaches her 93rd birthday. A total of 9 days away from home and I loved every minute of it.

Oh, I still got up early every morning to write for Radio Online. But just a couple of hours writing compared to my usual 5am-5pm days just felt like a vacation.

In Santa Barbara, Victoria’s cousin Judy and her husband Bill treated us to four days of seeing the town and experiencing walks on the beach, some fun restaurants and even an event called Viva La Fiesta.

Now, I’m not going to recap the entire trip, but I did want to share some photographic memories of our time there.

We also visited a woman named Terry who had lived in her home on a hill for 30 some years and had turned it into a showcase dessert garden. Here are just a few of the visual treats we enjoyed.

We then headed south to the place and the house where I grew up. My folks bought it a year before I arrived and mom still takes care of it. While we did a lot of hanging at home, helping mom with some of her projects around the house, we also snuck in a Dodger game while we were there. And, did an early celebration for mom’s upcoming birthday.

I’m telling you, I honestly haven’t shut down and relaxed like that since I don’t know when. I highly recommend it. As I sit here looking at those pictures and fondly remember those 9 special days, I can’t help but think, “So, THAT’S what a vacation feels like.”

This concept could catch on!

Tim Hunter

Hate in America

I’m down in Southern California and currently staying outside the Los Angeles area, enjoying the cool ocean air, a high of 72-ish, and just a perfect, beautiful, relaxing setting.

The calm before the dark cloud

This morning, my wife and her cousin were sitting out on the cousin’s front porch, sipping on coffee and enjoying the quiet of the morning. The cousin and her husband recently returned to living in their house after doing something really adventurous–renting out their home for the school year as they traveled and enjoyed the world.

Now they’re back living at their beautifully remodeled home. Returning to that scene at the front porch, one of their neighbors walked by on this gorgeous, sun-drenched morning as the two women chatted and yelled out, “You should put your flag back up!”

The cousin explained that they had been out of the country for a while and that the woman may have been confused with the neighbor next door, who flies an American flag.

“Oh, not the American flag. The TRUMP flag!”

The cousin responded, “Oh, that wasn’t us. But we can still be friends!”

As the woman walked away, she yelled back, “Not really. I don’t speak Chinese.”

Who knew that sheep could be so hateful? Wait a minute–I guess we already knew that! And I suppose we also now know she probably wasn’t vaccinated.

Another reminder that hate in America is alive & well. How sad is that?

Tim Hunter

Here I Go Again

I’m on the prowl. I’m boat shopping again.

Growing up, I had occasional brushes with them. In home movies, you can see a 4-year-old version of me (hmm, I don’t recall a life jacket) on a rowboat during vacation up in Washington State.

The big story around that visit is that a cousin of mine put a brand-new engine on that boat, went out in the water and it fell off, sinking in the mud below and was never seen again. Apparently, he hadn’t attached it very well and it was the reason someone had to row.

A rare photo of the boat with an engine

A year or so later, I went up to Big Bear Lake and went out on a boat fishing with my uncle Chuck and cousin Charlie. I don’t remember catching fish, but I do remember them thinking it was hilarious when I decided to try eating some salmon eggs.

One time during a South Dakota family trek, my late uncle James, my dad and I went out on the Missouri River, with me latching on to a huge Northern Pike. It’s trips like that one that makes one a fisherman for life.

However, I never really owned a boat until I was married, a couple of kids in and had cracked 40. One Father’s Day I went to look at an ’88 Bayliner Capri and fell in love. I had something to play with during the Lake Chelan vacations and even came home from work one day, grabbed the kids, got us lunches from Boston Market and then went out on Lake Washington to have the Blue Angels fly over our heads. Now, that’s how you do it here in the northwest.

A quick side-story about that. Five days after purchasing the boat, a brand-new Hooters Restaurant opened up in Lynnwood, north of Seattle, and the Murdock, Hunter & Alice show paid a visit to settle the dispute about it being “a family restaurant.” As we walked in the door of this brand-new restaurant with all the Hooters Girls greeting us, one yelled out, “Tim!” It was the girlfriend of the guy who I had bought the boat from. Small world.

I had that boat for around five years, but while my love continued, the rest of the family became a bit bored with it, resulting in me going out by myself more often. That just made it too much work. Add in the time I took the kids to Lake Wenatchee and bent the shaft by going over some rocks and it was a sign that it was time to sell.

In recent years, for a time, we had a boat to borrow up at Lake McMurray, where Victoria’s family cabin is, but that went away. So now, I feel I’ve got this life thing under control, I could afford a small boat payment every month and I know I would use it. I just want to make sure I don’t buy something that lives in the repair shop.

That being said, I came close to pulling the trigger on a ’91 Bayliner yesterday. I really wanted that boat. It was $4500, which is the same price I paid for my Bayliner back in the day, and it looked pretty good. Just on the dirty side, as I was told that it had been in storage for a year.

Where it broke down:

  1. I was told it had been sitting around for a year. The last time it had been licensed was 2012. Hmmmm…
  2. The seller said that he had all kinds of work done to it. I called the shipyard where it was being stored and was told that they didn’t do the work. I wonder who did?
  3. I asked the yard if they could do a mechanical check, and they said they could–at $175 an hour.
  4. I checked with BECU about doing a boat loan with them. They don’t loan money on boats older than 25 years.

For those reasons, it just got too complicated. I had a check with me, ready to fill out, but the inner voice said this wasn’t the one. So, my quest continues.

I know, I know: “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”

And now, the shipyard where I visited yesterday said they had a similar boat to the one I was looking at, and they had done all the maintenance on it. I’m going to see that at noon today. We’ll see what my inner voice has to say about this one. Wish me luck.

Here I go again.

Tim Hunter

The Sad Truth

Every morning, the alarm goes off at 4:45am (yeah, later than it used to be–I’m slackin’) and after burning off 300 calories on the rowing machine, I begin writing my daily contribution to Radio Online, a show prep service for disc jockeys around the world.

Part of each day’s submission are one-liners or jokes I think up. I started doing this back in the Murdock, Hunter & Alice days and when that went away, Radio Online hired me to be a staff writer. That was almost 20 years ago.

I’m pulling back the curtain a bit to share with you something that happened last week. A joke occurred to me, I wrote it out as a comedy contribution, but the more I thought about it, while I’ll humbly suggest it was clever, it also felt like a sad commentary on our country’s current situation. Seriously sad, but very true.

And I’m pretty sure some people would have felt it was over the line, so rather than have hate mail pour into Ron & Lisa who operate Radio Online, I thought it would stick it in here.

See what you think:

So, let me walk through this. Our country is very divided. One side got vaccinated, the other side called the pandemic a hoax and insisted on not getting the vaccine, carry around a proof-of-vaccination card or wear a mask because it violates their rights. Yet, the unvaccinated ones are 99% of the Americans being hospitalized and dying. Doesn’t this seem like it will just all work out?

Seriously, if you’re putting your health at risk just so the other side can’t “win”, how in the hell does that make sense?

Think it through. Are you willing to risk getting the virus (cases of which have doubled in the U.S. in the past week, again, among the unvaccinated) just so that one day, you can point and laugh at people and say, “You were so stupid. Wearing a mask. Washing your hands all the time. Having ’em inject an unproven drug into you. Ha! I’m smarter than you.”

I’m not a betting man, but I’d wager against that happening.

I can’t help but think of the person saying that they refuse to get the vaccine because they don’t know what’s in there…as they’re eating a hog dog.

Sorry, but you were seriously misled during a massive void of leadership in our country. But that’s the sad truth.

And it’s not the first time. Amazing how history can repeat itself.

Tim Hunter

What My Hair and My Patience Have in Common

You’ve probably already guessed correctly–they’re both thinning.

While I can’t do anything about my hair, I can actively try to remove most of the negativity in my life. Spot a negative comment on social media–just ignore it. But what if it really ticks me off? Use that handy feature where you get to block all futures posts from that source. What if the irritating comment is made by the actual “friend”? Snooze ’em for 30 days. Three snoozes on the same friend? Just unfriend them.

I’m touching on this topic because I violated my own rule the other day by commenting on someone’s complaint.

No need to get into names, but let’s just say this friend was a former high school classmate. After one of the reunions, we became Facebook friends and it’s been fun to see some of our other classmates show up in her feed over the years. Really, I don’t remember much about her other than what she looked like back in those days, and that embarrassing moment at our 20th reunion when we bumped into each other in an elevator. She smiled and said, “Tim!” and I said, “Karen!” and that wasn’t her name.

One of the few things I did know about her is that she is a die-hard Dodger fan, the team I have returned to as “my club” with the legacy of disappointment that has become Seattle Major League Baseball.

Last week, she made a post that I understood was a “shame on Dave Stewart”, the former Dodger pitcher who was part of the team during their 1981 season. Apparently there’s a reunion coming up to celebrate that team, but Stewart was refusing to take part of it because of how the team was handling the Trevor Bauer situation.

Her post made it sound like Dave Stewart was wrong about shaming the Dodgers organization. I made a “consider the source” comment and put the link to the story of that time Stewart was arrested for trying to pick up a prostitute.

I never should have done that.

She went straight to, “Oh, Tim Hunter (and included my name so it would go everywhere), picking up a prostitute and beating up a woman are not the same.”

What? Where did this go south? Was she saying I was defending Bauer’s actions? Huh? So, now I’m defending myself. So I had to respond.

I commented, “Your words, not mine. I wasn’t making that comparison.”

I don’t need to relive the conversation because I’m not letting it take up any more of my energy or time, but after a couple of rounds of pointing out to her that the Dodger organization had already suspended him–twice—pulled his merchandise from the store and canceled his bobblehead night, but were awaiting a final legal ruling before doing anything permanent, I realized that she was on a vendetta and nothing I could say would make the issue right in her brain.

As I mentioned, I just don’t need that in my life. I ended up spending 15 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back and once you steal time from me, all I can do is to make sure you don’t do it again.

This morning, there was an awesome post of a dog snuggling with a fawn. I just stared at it and then watched it play again. I felt good. It was positive. That’s where I want to live. This isn’t the same one, but see how something like this makes you feel.

My youngest sister and I had a chat about this very thing last night. She’s trying to do the same thing in her life–shut out all the negative influences and simply enjoy what’s good out there…and you can. The negative will always be out there, but it’s up to each of us individually to block out as much as possible. I’ve mildly pursued doing this in my life over the years, but now it’s become a passion and I’m loving the results.

Positive inspires positive. Negativity can take over your life. Just ask that former Facebook friend, whatever her name is.

Tim Hunter

Apparently, It Ends At 65

I’ve had a lifelong love affair with fireworks. But after 65 years, I’ve decided to call the whole thing off.

Growing up in Southern California, I was there when “Safe & Sane” fireworks were all the rage. Every year when those firework stands opened up with names like Red Devil and TNT (I mean, how family-friendly sounding can you get?) we would all pile into the car, park in front of that firework stand and dream of getting the biggest pack of fireworks they would sell us. Well, that was the kids’ view. As far as mom and dad were concerned, they’d usually pop for a $15-$20 assortment pack that we’d fight over as to who could hold on to it in the car on the way home.

But all three of us–my two sisters and moi–knew the second we hit the car, dad just had to blurt out his traditional phrase, “I don’t know why we just don’t light a $20 bill on fire!”

I think dad secretly enjoyed lighting off those sparkling fountains and log cabins that smoked. There were the Piccolo Pete’s that would explode if you clamped down on the ‘t’, but of course, we didn’t find that out until we were older. Oh, and Smoky Joe.

You’d put something that resembled a cigar into his mouth and it would actually smoke. Very anti-climatic, especially since during those days, most parents were doing that all the time.

But still in the eyes of kids, it was awesome. We’d enjoy a whole half hour of black or rainbow snakes, a couple of fountains, some sparklers with at least one of us burning our hands and then it was time to pile into the ’59 Ford Fairlane or the ’66 Chevy Impala to go find a parking spot down by Redondo Beach, to watch the bigtime fireworks they would launch off the barge.

There was one summer when we made a family pilgrimage to my mom’s home state of South Dakota during the 4th of July. The reason I remember it is because they actually sold firecrackers. I had never seen any close up. A cousin quickly fixed that by lighting one and throwing it up by my ear. Gee. Great.

The years passed. I became more interested in girls, I went to college, took a radio job in Yakima, got married and then moved back to Seattle to play radio here. There was a stretch where, due to my chosen career, I found myself at those big public displays. There was the Cellular One Fireworks Show at Gasworks Park one year, where we laid back on the lawn and looked up to an incredible show. Same for the 4th of Julivar’s a couple of times along Seattle’s waterfront. However, the drawback of those shows is that by the time they’re over and you walk back to the car and fight traffic, you’re getting home at midnight or even later. I had a couple of those in me, but then we made the switch to the neighborhood displays.

There I was, married, in my 20s and living in a neighborhood full of 20 and 30-somethings, and boy, they knew fireworks. The annual tradition became gathering in the cul-de-sac and watching each other launch all the not-safe-and-sane fireworks we had purchased at Boom City, up in Marysville. Looking back, it’s a miracle none of us were ever seriously injured. Including that now famous moment when my son lit a mortar that tipped over and shot exploding bombs at the crowd as they dove behind lawn chairs. You may have read that an NHL goalie was killed by one of those this past weekend when he took a direct hit in his chest. He was only 10 feet away and never stood a chance. He was just 24.

There’s something about the 30-to-40-year-old American male that attaches celebrating our freedom by blowing things up.  As kids got older, lifestyles changed and we successfully dodged house fires by bottle rockets landing on our cedar shake roof, you just hit a point where, “OK, that’s enough.”

As a sneak peek at the future for my younger readers, there comes a time when the 10 o’clock TV fireworks satisfy your fireworks Jones. You watch, you turn off the TV and by 10:30, you’re asleep. Well, until the 30 and 40 somethings in the neighborhood get out their illegal reservation fireworks and try to out-do each other.

Our current 4th of July routine is to watch the Macy’s or Seattle fireworks, call it a night and then try to sleep through what the surrounding neighbors have planned. One of the jokes I wrote about this weekend is that 1:30am on July 5th is my favorite part of the 4th of July weekend, because that’s usually when my neighbors run out of things to blow up.

Every year, my wife swears it’s worst than last year. To me, they’re all the same. Geeze, one of them this year actually set off a car alarm in the neighborhood. It was that big of an explosion.

And then, if you have a pet who just doesn’t understand, I’m sure you have learned to hate the holiday even more.

It could be maturity. It might be burnout. Whatever it is and the reasons behind it, the whole fireworks thing ended for me when I hit the age of 65. Nothing sad at all about it, I had my fun, but those days are now behind me. I’d continue to ramble on about the topic, but I’ve got to go chase some kids off my lawn.

Tim Hunter

I’m Tired Of Being Historical

Things happen, they get written down into the history books and we move on.

When I think of all the things that happened in my early years–the turbulence of the 1960s, the loss of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr., the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall–that’s a pretty impressive list.

But I gotta say, the last couple of years have really gotten out of hand.

First, the pandemic. COVID-19 started slowly, with nobody thinking it could really be that bad, or that it was just like a bad flu bug. Some still believe that. But basically, it was a once in a century event, often compared with the Spanish Flu outbreak of the early 1900s.

OK, so it happens every 100 years and I just happened to hit the life lotto. Great.

But then, barely a year later, we’re now going through what has been described as a “once-in-every-1,000-years” event, with Seattle hitting all-time high temperatures–hotter than ever recorded–and three days in a row of triple-degree heat! Something that’s never happened before.

So, in 2020 we had a once-in-100 years occurrence. Now, in 2021, we’re experiencing a once-in-1,000-years event. My theory is that next year, 2022, we’ll be on tap for a once-every-10,000-years occurrence. I don’t want to come off as overly pessimistic, but give it a little bit of thought: what could next year’s “bet you never thought THIS would happen in your lifetime” event be?

I may have to reconsider that comet insurance policy I recently turned down.

Whatever. We’re all in this together. But I am getting a little tired of being historical.

Tim Hunter

Welcome to Seattle: Part 1

OK, I’m going to embrace it. More and more people just keep moving to Seattle, making real estate prices skyrocket, the roads even more crowded and giving us all growing pains in every direction possible.

I can’t change that, but the least I can do is make it easier for our newer residents to know how things work around here. So, this is the first in a series I call, “Welcome to Seattle”, to give our new neighbors an idea on how we think and do things.

In this inaugural segment, I’m going to talk about the seasons. Seattle has four of them, so as you spend time settling in your new home, you’ll find yourself developing these beliefs and eventually, say them out loud yourself. Feel free to print this out and put it up on your refrigerator for easy reference.

Let’s start with our current season:

SUMMER

This is when you’ll hear multiple complaints about various topics. The most notable, when we shift from complaining about how cold it is to complaining about how hot it is. The season always begins with the Summer Solstice, which is the longest day of the year. If it naturally occurred to you that you should be complaining that the days are now getting shorter, you have potential.

Among the phrases you might hear:

  • “God I hate mowing my lawn.”
  • “It’s too hot! Man, I can’t wait until fall. Football, the leaves turn colors….it’s beautiful in the fall around here.”
  • “Well, I guess this won’t be the year for the Mariners…”
  • “Oh-oh, here comes fire season again.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the heat in!”

FALL

Absolutely my favorite season because of football and cooler weather. Throw in fun holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and the countdown to Christmas (most of which takes place in fall) and you can see there’s a lot to like about fall.

But this time of year comes with it’s own seasonal collection of complaints:

  • “Oh, my God, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier!
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Crap. look at all those leaves in the yard. And most are from the neighbor’s tree!”
  • “Well, at least there are some former Mariners on some of the playoff teams.”
  • Well, winter’s almost here. I hope it snows this year.”
  • “Don’t open that window! The rain will blow in!”

WINTER

This is peak complaining season in the Northwest. I’m pretty sure its when S.C.D. (seasonal complaining disorder) was invented. I mean, what’s not to complain about? The briefest amount of sunlight daily, when the clouds actually allow the sun to sneak though. “50 Shades of Gray?” Oh, that title had to have been invented up here. By the time the Winter Solstice arrives, it’s iffy if the Seahawks will make the playoffs, the Huskies and Cougars have their fingers crossed to make it to a modestly respectable bowl game and we start hearing about how good the Seattle Mariners are going to be next season. I leave out the Sounders, because they’ve actually given us less to complain about.

So its a very gray period featuring rain, occasionally snow, a make-good windstorm should it fail to show up in November, and the fact that everything you do has to be inside because of the weather that rules the outdoors.

The classic winter complaints you can practice ahead of time:

  • “God, this weather is SO depressing.”
  • “We really need to plan a mid-winter vacation to someplace sunny next year.”
  • “I can’t wait for spring! The flowers, the buds on the trees, the lawns turning green again!”
  • “I’m ready for some baseball. I hope the Mariners do well this year!”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the cold air in!”

SPRING

And now, we complete the cycle and prepare to start all over again with summer complaining right around the corner. As Mother Earth wakes up again, we enjoy flowers and blossoms, along with pollen, hay fever, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

This season’s typical complaints:

  • “It’s too cool!”
  • My God, will it ever stop raining? I can’t wait for summer to get here.”
  • “The Mariners are going great in spring training. Maybe this is the year!”
  • “Time change weekend? Again? I hate that! I thought we approved getting rid of it. It takes me days to recover.”
  • “Don’t open that window! You’ll let the pollen in!”

That’s all you need to get started. Practice daily and in no time at all, people will think you’re a native.

Welcome to Seattle.

Tim Hunter

It’s That Week Again

Over the years, traditions come and go. Some stick, others you do for a couple of years and then they just don’t seem as important anymore.

A relatively new one for me is “Midsummer.” Oh, I’ve long known that summer officially arrives that third week in June and that people feel the need to celebrate it. In the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, it usually means a Summer Solstice parade, complete with naked bicycle riders. Yeah, it’s kind of our statement to Portland that we can be weird, too.

Since becoming involved with the Norwegian community when I met my wife, it’s big deal in the Scandinavian world to celebrate MidSummer. (oh, there are a million ways to spell that. I’m just going with the easy one) There are those who dance around a pole and celebrate. But I’m told that’s more Swedish than Norwegian.

In fact, we’ll be heading north to Lake McMurray and Norway Park on Saturday, where the residents will be celebrating down in the waterfront park. However, the only pole I’ll have anything to do with will be for some quick fishing.

Oh, and a quick side note–avoid the movie, “Midsommar.” Very, very disturbing. And they dance around a pole.

So here comes summer and we’re ready to celebrate–but wait—what about dad?

Oh, sure, mom gets her own weekend in May (we celebrate her first) and things shut down. You wouldn’t dare plan anything for Mom’s Day weekend unless it involved mom. Heck, back when Little League used to play (and I’m sure it will return again some day), games on Mother’s Day Sunday were always canceled. The day had to be all about mom.
But speaking for absolutely no fathers out there other than myself, I don’t mind sharing the weekend. I love summer as much as the next person and I’m anxious for its arrival. To me, this coming weekend isn’t about me being a dad–which I am, and an extremely proud one–but it’s about my dad, who left us six years ago.

I really need to write down all the dad stories circling around in my head when I think of that man. They’re like little treasures stuffed into a scrapbook of events that help me see those moments as if they were yesterday.


As I recently said at the memorial for my father-in-law, Ernie Templin, I can hear the sound of my dad’s voice when I think of certain phrases, like “What in the Sam HIll?”, or the 4th of July classic whenever we bought fireworks, “I don’t know why we don’t just light a $20 bill on fire.” Yep, there he is.

Dad was dad. A kid from Scotland who came to the U.S. when he was 3 years old and then was raised in West Virginia. Like everyone else, there were great moments and setbacks during his life. He survived World War II, and shortly after his return, fate would bring him to California. That’s where he landed a job with United Airlines for 37 years and met my mom, who had herself left South Dakota to seek a new life.

Flipping through that mental scrapbook of dad, I can see him in his United Airlines overalls he’d wear at work. Whenever he’d work on the cars at home, he had some United overalls for those occasions. When were young, he’d bring home some of those fake pilot badges they used to hand out to kids when they flew.  He put ketchup on his eggs. There was his collection of suits he’d always wear to church on Sunday mornings. He helped me with my Pinewood Derby when I was in Cub Scouts, was a coach, then manager of my Little League teams. One of his favorite stories to tell about those days was–I was at bat, bases loaded and I managed to find a pitch to hit over the center field fence. Yes, I had hit a grand slam home run, the only home run of my Little League career and….dad had missed it. He was trying to control some of the rowdier kids in the team dugout and by the time he looked up, I was circling the bases.

I still have that ball.

I spend a good 10-12 hours a day at my keyboard every day doing a variety of things to earn a living. Just off to my right, the little plastic bookmark they made up for his funeral is taped to the wall. it features a picture of dad, smiling away and reminding me of just how lucky I was.

It’s funny. When I judge myself on what kind of a father I was, I tend to give myself a solid “B”. It was an important role to me and I tried to be there for my kids as much as I could. I woke up at 2am to work radio until noon, come home, take a nap and then spent most of their non-school hours until bedtime together. I coached or assisted with their soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams until their high school years. I probably shaved a few years off my life with my serious lack of sleep, but I just didn’t want to miss a thing.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a lot of time with them. Yet, for some reason, I am haunted by a couple of times I left them down, which of course, lowered my grade to a B.

What was my takeaway from all those years of fatherhood? My biggest advice to both moms and dads has always been–no matter how exhausted you are, cherish these years, because it seriously does not take long for them to become a distant memory.

So, celebrate your Midsummer. But as my son and my step-son both celebrate their first Father’s Day as dads, I have to have more of an emphasis on the dads. I also have to thank my father for showing me the secret to being a good dad: just be there. You’ll do the right thing most of the time, you’ll make mistakes, but just being present and in their lives will make all the difference in the world on how those kids turn out.

Plus, you’ll be giving them a mental scrapbook of their own packed with nuggets for them to enjoy the rest of their lives.

Thanks, Dad!

Tim Hunter

Turning The Corner

I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel it.

Funny, the day after my latest virtual event–an auction for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle–I’m looking at what’s going on in the world around me and it feels like we are starting to be able to breathe again.

Yeah, that was my third and hopefully last virtual auction. It should have been so much easier, but the technology is just not there yet. Oh, I put together a great Powerpoint presentation with embedded video that should have been, “click this, then click that.” But in testing the presentation in the hours before the auction, I noticed that the videos we were planning to show had distortion and were crackling when viewed by other computers. It pretty much would be unlistenable when you’re hoping people will listen and bid and stuff like that.

During my hours of pre-event panicking, I discovered that if I played the files outside of Powerpoint, everything played perfectly. So, that meant, during the auction when I’m trying to focus on the bidding and encourage people to do more, it was a festival of clunky with me having to go from me on camera, to a Powerpoint slide, then to a video, back to me, etc. In the grand scheme of things, it was like most Zoom events that we experience on a daily basis, but just below my standards. It could have been so much better, but the bottom line was–it actually happened.

We are supposedly a few weeks away from dropping all the restrictions, as long as the numbers keep going the way they’ve been going. I have a feeling that masks are going to be around for a while longer and may have just earned their way into our day-to-day living. Not having the flu or a cold for a year and a half by wearing a mask seems like a small price to pay. As Glinda the Good Witch pointed out, “You’ve had the power all along.” All we needed to do was just practice good hygiene and wash our hands. Go figure.

This weekend, Everett to the north is hosting a fun festival called Sorticulture, with bands and speakers and booths and…yes, all the makings of a real event. The Seattle Sounders have announced that they’ll soon go back to full stadiums soon. However, if you’re still a bit uncomfortable going to a stadium full of people, I’d recommend limiting yourself to Seattle Mariner games.

I couldn’t resist.

We still wear our masks when we go to the store, but more and more lately, when we get around fellow vaccinees (if that is a word), we just have fun.

Yes, the pandemic sucked. We lost a lot more people than we should have, due to our Keystone Cops approach and a divided country. It’s going to be interesting to see how history judges our reaction and how we handled it all. Then again, I wonder if it was the old classic “history repeats self” because if you look back at the Flu Pandemic of 1918, there are a lot of similar stories. Basically, a plague that terrorized the world, and when people got tired of having to deal with it, a second wave was born.

For those of you keeping score at home, they estimate that 100-million people around the world died from the Spanish flu a century ago. Right now, a conservative death toll of COVID-19 victims is just over 3-million–in the world!

When you think of how science rallied and came up with a vaccine in months, I have a feeling that a few Nobel Prizes have already been spoken for.

I walk outside to the mailbox and neighbors are out talking to neighbors without masks. People are traveling again. Plans are being made. President Reagan coined the phrase, “It’s morning in America” and that’s exactly how I feel.

COVID robbed us of a lot. Favorite restaurants closed. Companies disappeared. We couldn’t get together with loved ones and relatives for over a year. Families became divided and masks, political.

Oh, precautions still need to be taken. I’m not feeling completely out of the woods, yet. But sitting at the Skal Beer Hall in Ballard last Friday night, watching people walk by, living life again–it just felt so good. I hope I can hang on to this level of appreciation as long as possible.

When a parking spot opened up across the street, it was like it was meant to be

We’ve still got a ways to go, but we are definitely turning the corner.

And it feels good.

Tim Hunter