AND WE ALL MOVE ON…

The best thing about getting older is that, of course, it’s better than the alternative.

But as I continue to rack up the years, I see others who don’t get to enjoy that good fortune. We’re all blessed with a certain amount of time on this planet, we just don’t know how much. The only consistent thing is that it’s never enough.

AUNT DORIS

Last weekend, we lost my Aunt Doris. She was the fourth of the six Brandner kids raised on the family farm just outside of Roscoe, South Dakota and in her lifetime, she didn’t get very far away. After getting married, she and her husband worked another nearby farm until he died at a young age and their oldest son, my cousin Clay, took over. Doris moved “into town” which is where she called home up until she passed at the age of 88 last weekend.

The day before passing, my mom was able to have a nice chat over the phone with her. Doris was so excited about being driven over to Ipswich, a nearby town with an actual grocery store. When you’re confined to an apartment in a small town of 269 people, something like a trip to a real-live grocery store can be a big deal.

The next day, following all the excitement of Friday, Doris had a ticket for a performance of the Edmunds Central High School’s production of “Trouble in Tumbleweed,” featuring her granddaughter, Ember.

By the way, Edmunds Central serves 32 students, grades 9-12.

Aunt Doris enjoyed the play, but as it concluded, she went to applaud and couldn’t raise one of her arms. It was the beginning of a stroke and, of course, for an ambulance to get her to a hospital, it had to be summoned from another city. By the time it arrived and Doris made the 45-minute trek to the big city of Aberdeen where the hospital was, things did not look good. In the wee hours of the next morning, she went to her eternal reward.

The last time I got to see Aunt Doris was at a Brandner sisters reunion back in 2019, which seems like yesterday. Doris and her sister Virginia left the Dakotas to travel all the way to Portland, Oregon, where youngest sister Judy lived. My mom and sister Debbie headed north from L.A. and my wife Victoria and I headed south to the Rose City for a couple of days.

I’m sure I have video of that group, as pretty much, when one or more are gathered, it turns into a laugh-fest.

Even though I would only see Aunt Doris and the rest of the South Dakota clan every couple of 5 years or so, when we were together, we just picked up where we left off before. I had kept up on her life thanks to my mom’s updates on the phone, but one of the most endearing things about Aunt Doris: for most of my life, she would always take the time to send me a birthday card every September. And not just a “Happy birthday, Doris” signature, but a hand-written, detailed update on everything that had been going on in Roscoe and her life that sometimes would often spill over to the back side of the card.

I’m pretty sure I saved every one of those cards. I’m going to have to dig them out and read ’em again.

What a sweetheart. Enjoy your rest. You will be missed.

MR. SLATER

Say what you want about Facebook, and I know you will, but it does allow us to keep up with people from our long ago past. This morning, I saw a post announcing to the world that my high school drama teacher, Mr. Slater had passed away at the age of 90.

I call him Mr. Slater because that’s what you called teachers back in my high school days. His full name was Charles Slater, he was the head of the drama department at Torrance High, and while I wasn’t into the drama thing, there was a time when a friend had written a play and asked if I would try out for one of the parts in his production of, “Nuts!” (hold the wisecracks at least for a moment) I got the role, Mr. Slater oversaw the production and made me as good as I could have possibly been. Acting was not my forte, but being goofy was, and somehow, we pulled it off.

That was my only real connection with Mr. S, but of the drama students I knew, they loved the heck out of him. Picture a Gene Wilder type appearance, with the big eyes and the curly 70s perm, and you have Mr. Slater.

Man, the power teachers have to make a difference in their student’s lives. It’s been 50 years since I roamed the halls of Torrance High School and I still find myself relying on some of the lessons learned there.

To all the teachers at THS, thank you.

DWIGHT PERRY

Now, wait a minute–Dwight’s still with us! In fact, they held a retirement party for him last Sunday as he hangs up whatever you hang up after you’ve been a sportswriter in the Seattle area for an eternity. Dwight not only turned the big 7-0 last weekend, but his kids organized a retirement gathering for him (on a Seahawks bye week, I must point out) so friends and colleagues could gather in Kent to celebrate his contributions to multiple print media outlets in the area, including the Seattle PI and the Seattle Times. His weekly column, Sideline Chatter, in the Seattle Times was responsible for countless people saying, “Hey, Tim, I saw you in the newspaper.”

Years ago, I decided to add Dwight to my weekly Wacky Week joke list and once a month or so, one of my lines would tickle his funny bone and he would stick it into his column. I will be forever grateful. In fact, there were times that some of my jokes that Dwight included in his Seattle column would show up in other newspapers around the country, so he was apparently being watched. To that end, when his daughter sent me an invite to attend his retirement bash, I had to at least make an appearance to say thanks. While the gathering was heavy on newspaper types, I had a great chance to meet and chat with Dwight’s son Matt, and meet one of his colleagues, Justice Hill. Mr. Hill still writes a weekly column for Cleveland.com but you’ll want to check his main website and follow his travels. Getting around the globe is what he’s doing these days and posting about his adventures right here.

I had forgotten that Dwight suffered a series of strokes last year that set him back for a while, but he got back up on his Sideline Chatter horse and returned to putting out those fun, positive stories for sports fans. I’m sure hoping that someone takes over that column, but if and when that happens, Dwight Perry is going to be a tough act to follow.

Enjoy your downtime, Dwight! You can just see how thrilled he was to finally meet me in person.

And we all move on….

Tim Hunter

It Really Happened

I have to be honest, something like this has never happened to me before.

Oh, there was that time I went “ghost hunting” with my producer, Bryon, at a south end cemetery on Halloween years ago and we talked ourselves into believing we saw some misty figures off in the distance. I wouldn’t swear to it in a court of law, but for the sake of a bit on the radio, sure, I saw something.

And I’m still not totally convinced I saw an actual ghost a couple of weeks ago, but it’s probably the closest thing to it that I’ve experienced.

So, it was a Sunday afternoon. That morning, my wife and I made a rare cameo appearance at a service at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Ballard. We had bumped into Pastor Gretchen at the grocery store the week before and she reminded us that All Saints’ Day was coming up, when everyone was invited to bring along a picture of someone they had lost and put it up in a window of the church. And so, we brought along a picture of my wife’s father, Ernie, who passed away last year.

After church, we enjoyed a rare day of not much to do, watching the Seahawks on TV and then after the game, running a couple of quick errands. As we headed home, we traveled west on 125th Street in Seattle, which happens to run right in front of the Evergreen-Washelli cemetery, where Ernie enjoys his eternal rest. I drive by that spot a lot and always look over his direction, just to make sure all is well. But this time, as I glanced over while I was driving, I immediately got chills. There, in the cemetery, not far from Ernie’s final resting place, was a man of his stature, in a blue oversized coat, just like the one he used to always wear, walking a big puffy white dog. Since I was driving, I’d check to make sure I wasn’t about to run into anything, then over to the cemetery, then back to the road and so forth until the cemetery was out of view. I didn’t stop, as I wasn’t really sure what I was seeing, plus, I didn’t want to say something that might freak out my wife.

But I was pretty damn sure that was Ernie.

I told Victoria about the sighting later and she found it “cool.” So, she didn’t freak out. If I had known that, I might have slammed on the breaks and yelled out, “Look!” But I didn’t.

I don’t know what’s in store for us in heaven or whatever awaits us after this life, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that wherever we end up, we get to spend eternity enjoying the things we loved. Ernie loved walking that dog, and people recognized him around his neighborhood as “that guy who walks the big, white, fluffy dog.”

And for probably 10-seconds, I got to see him again. Or, I think it was him. It had to be him.

It’s a moment I’ll never forget. And I know, one thing’s for sure–it really happened.

So, I thought I would share.

Tim Hunter

Let’s get political, political…

Yes, I’m going to take a gingerly stroll down this topic on the eve of those infamous mid-term elections.

No preaching, no secret agenda. You see, I’m old enough to remember when people could actually DISCUSS politics, without one thinking the other was a monster for having an opposite view. Flashing back 60 years ago when I was a kid, I recall my parents having friends over and them discussing the upcoming presidential election. (Gee, that would have made me 5-years-old) The phrase that stuck in my brain was, “Someone said that if Kennedy’s elected, he’ll have us all praying to Mary!” (Kennedy was a Roman Catholic. You know, the ones who wore togas)

Zip back a mere 40 years, and I can still see news coverage of President Ronald Reagan having beers with House Speaker “Tip” O’Neal. Yes, a Republican and Democrat, with serious political differences, but remembering the important thing: we’re all still Americans.

What the hell happened and why did we let it get this way?

I have my political beliefs, you have yours. I respect that. I’m not going to try to change your mind and I guarantee you won’t change mine, but that’s OK. Politics is only a part of who we are, it determines our future as a group and the kind of country we live in and will leave for the next generation. But it’s sad how it has become less about philosophy and debate, and more about marketing and manipulation.

As further proof I’m not trying to sway your vote, I’m posting this now. My ballot was filled out and mailed in two weeks ago. I have a feeling more and more people are getting it done early just to get it out of the way.

I’ve got a couple of videos I’d like to put on your radar. The first, this brilliant parody of a horror movie trailer about where the Democrats are when it comes to a future presidential candidate.

So much truth.

And another dose of truth for you here. This one touches on the blinders that some voters strap on and this preacher (yes, you will hear some preaching here) absolutely nails it. Thanks to sister Debbie for passing along.

But as I tell people I know who are freaking out about how these mid-term elections could go, we get the government we deserve. I hope for the best, but if we’re not bright enough to elect the right people, well, we’ll have to live with it.

So much more I could say, but for now, that’s enough.

Know WHY you’re voting the way you’re voting. Is it because of things you believe, or the marketing fears that they’re capitalizing on? Is it conviction on the candidate’s platform, or the talking points sent to them to repeat over and over because of what they found out in focus groups?

But here’s hoping you do vote so you can at least share the credit or the blame.

Tim Hunter

The Places I Go, The Things I See

We went to a 50th birthday party last Friday.

And that’s where the typical comes to an end.

Special decade birthdays have evolved over the years. I can faintly remember attending some 30th birthday parties where people complained about feeling “so old.” Little did they realize, that feeling was just getting started.

Then there were the 40th birthday parties, which usually amounted to people gathering and complaining about the latest issue with their bodies. “My knee hurts…”, “My back went out last night….”, etc.

The all-time record holder for the best 40th birthday party has to go to Mark Shoener, an attorney who lived in the neighborhood. He and his family lived a culdesac over and our neighborhood was “one of THOSE neighborhoods” that went all out at Christmas. I’d say, 75% of the houses all decked out in Christmas lights by the day after Thanksgiving. Well, Mark’s birthday was in early December and his wife thought it would be funny if, for the party, she hired a stripper for the birthday boy.

Oh, sure, inside, laughs were roaring as the dancer tried to embarrass the birthday boy. But outside, I could only imagine the family slowly cruising through the neighborhood with the kids looking at all the Christmas lights, when they came upon one house, where a stripper was performing in front of the huge picture window. I could hear the father saying, “Honey, we gotta move to this neighborhood!”

Back to the birthdays. It was a treat being invited to a 50th party. We’ve hit that time in our lives when some people don’t want other people to know how old they are. There’s kind of a blackout period for the 60th and 70th and then, if you’re lucky enough to make it, it seems like it’s suddenly O.K. to celebrate an 80th. We’ve been to a few of those. In recent years, we’ve celebrated several 90ths, including ones for my parents, as well as Victoria’s.

A couple of things made our Friday night outing especially fun. First, the whole 50th thing. We found ourselves surrounded by people both above and below 50, so some fresh blood! Although, truth be told, we hung mostly with a couple (she was with Trophy Cupcakes) who were in “our age bracket.” (think late 40s and don’t ask questions)

But the coolest thing of all was the venue. Actually, it’s a future venue, going through a transition. Because the Georgetown Steam Plant is a historical structure, it’s not going anywhere. And thank God!

First off, it is the last remaining steam plant of it’s type in the world! Here’s a website that will tell you more and let you can take a virtual tour. We were able to wander around, go upstairs, to the boiler room, and yes, there will need to be some major work done. Funny, but the birthday invitation urged people bringing their kids to the party not to “lick the pipes or walls.”

I talked with the president of the Georgetown Something or Other and he’s heading up the drive to turn it into a museum and entertainment venue. Rather than boring you with more details, I think the pictures will give you an idea of what a massively impressive venue this is, and will be in the future.

I’m glad we don’t just tear down everything. Oh, the places I go, the things I see….

Tim Hunter

With Apologies To Facebook

I don’t know about you, but Facebook remains my go-to social media platform. Frankly, I forget about checking Twitter; Instagram is one of those things where I notice the logo on my phone and go, “Oh, yeah!” I visit Linkedin twice a week to post my weekly biz newsletter and my jokes.

But when I’m on the go and I see something cool or a funny sign, or I get one of my silly ideas, I shoot the picture or video with my phone, think of something dumb to attach to it, and then post it on Facebook.

You know, like this:

                                                                                                                                                Oh, yeah, like I was just going to walk by this…..

Now for the first time that I can remember, I’ve actually got some pictures piling up in my photo collection that never reached their usual destination. So, with apologies to Facebook and with the goal of getting all caught up in one fell swoop, here are just a few of the gems I meant to post there, but just never got around to it. (Or, I may have, but I don’t remember)

LET’S START WITH WHIDBEY ISLAND–A couple of weekends ago, we went there and stayed at a waterfront AirBnB and it was so out of the way, we HAD to relax. One of the evenings, Samantha, my daughter-in-law, was playing around with her time-lapse feature of her iPhone and I thought I’d do it, too. So, I captured this beautiful Northwest sunset.

This doesn’t even really do it justice.

However, lesson learned–Tim, would you stop being so impatient!!! If I had just let it go, it would have eventually ended up here.

Uh, yeah….

PLAYING TOURIST IN YOUR HOME TOWN–When you live in a cool spot, as we do, there are always a ton of fun things to do. But you’re living life, working a job, on the go, commitments, etc. and you just never get around to the fun stuff. For example, my wife and I have yet to experience “The Great Wheel” along the Seattle waterfront, even though it’s been down there 10 years.

But with a couple of Victoria’s cousins in town–Judy and her husband Bill from Santa Barbara and Francine from Oklahoma–we hit a couple of those hot spots.

First up were the Ballard Locks, where ships from the salt water Puget Sound come to be raised up 25 feet so they can enjoy the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington. That’s importing or flushing 8-million gallons of water in just 8 minutes.

As part of the locks, you can go to the fish ladders and watch the salmon traveling to their place of origin to spawn and die. Each one traveled hundreds, if not thousands of miles during their life’s journey. Just amazing.

And of course, right next to the locks is one of our favorite places, The Lockspot. Had to experience that place, famous for their fish & chips.

I’m the one on the left.

The next day, we headed to the Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair, which Francine remembered attending as a little kid.

We opted not to go up the Space Needle, but did explore the Chihuly Garden & Glass Museum and not just words, but pictures also don’t adequately convey the eye-candy you get to experience there.

Looking up the master, Dale Chihuly on Wikipedia, the guy’s actually 81-years-old now and still creating visual masterpieces out of molten glass.

By the way, I discovered a hack you may have already known about when it comes to taking pictures with your phone. I wanted to get a group shot that was close, but that would include the entire Space Needle. I laid down on the ground and this was the best I could do:

Then I thought, “What if I use the Pan feature, but instead of doing it horizontally, do it vertically.” It worked beautifully.

A MINI-REUNION–I enjoyed a great lunch the other day with a couple of other former Destination Marketing refugees. Some of us left willingly, others were ‘retired’. Funny, but whenever we get together, new stories about a place I haven’t worked at for 7 years continue to emerge. Ironically, both of these gentlemen became recent authors. Scott Janzen penned about his days in the ad industry, while Chris Settle did a more inward reflection that included some stories from that previously mentioned agency we all share in our resume past. He changed the names, but some of the un-named knew who he was referring to and weren’t happy. Ah, life.

So, this week when I sat down to write my weekly blog about what going on in my life, I realized that Facebook wasn’t a part of it. I was actually busy being present and enjoying all these events as they happened and not doing a play-by-play on Facebook, to keep people posted on everything I was doing every minute of every day.

And I kinda liked it.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Now you’re all caught up with me and Mark Zuckerberg will never know.

Our secret. Sorry about that Facebook.

Tim Hunter

SO, I’M A WRITER

I’m content.

I sat down this week to keep my blogging streak alive of letting the thoughts in my brain spill out on to the Internet, when I realized that I had no bee in my bonnet. (And to be honest, I haven’t worn a bonnet in years. People talk.)

Nope, which coincidentally is the name of a movie in theaters these days, I’m good. Our weather, by Northwest standards, has been exceptional. Too hot for some, but a nice blend of 70s and 80s, with a brief wet down last week and no forest fire smoke, which in recent years, had become traditional.

The work/life balance isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close. Projects keep showing up on top of my weekly duties and, if I’m not done by 5-ish, the rest can wait until the next day. A regular work day begins before 5am, so a “normal” day for me is 12 hours long, but at the pace I like and can control, and mostly, made up of things I love to do.

Being older and wiser (more old than wise), I’ve been working on not getting riled up on everything there is going on out there in our world. With our over-abundance of information constantly being fed to us, it’s so easy to be upset about this and concerned about that and even worried about the other thing.

Nope (there’s that word again), I’m not going to allow myself to get caught up in that. It’s not up to me to save the world, or point out to other people why they’re thinking the wrong way (and they really are), I just want to take it all in, good and bad–acknowledging the bad, but savoring the good.

I’ve always had this crazy theory that all of us receive the same amount of good news and bad news in our lives. It’s just dispersed in various size doses, but when the clock hits zero, we will have all experienced an equal amount of good fortune, and pain and suffering. Maybe you’re the type that had a lot of hard hits in your younger years, but now have a nice steady life going. Or, perhaps you hit early success, but things haven’t been very good since then.

Then there’s the third type of person that spends their life striving for balance. Sure, they don’t get as many highs, but they also don’t sink to monumental lows. I like to think of myself that way. I’ve never been driven to become famous. My goal has always been to be comfortable financially and spend my time doing the things I like to do, including making people laugh and feel good.

As Walter Brennan used to say back in the days of “The Guns of Will Sonnet”: No brag, just fact.

It was a western that only lasted two seasons, so maybe you weren’t as impressed with the show as I was.

Going back to where this all started, right now, I’m really content and doing my best to hang on to that. I’ll savor what’s left of summer, and I look forward to flying to my hometown of Torrance, California, later this week to help my mom celebrate her 94th birthday in the only childhood home I ever knew.

And so, with everything just rolling along, I really don’t have much to blog about this week. Then again, it just took me 585 words to say that.

Oh, well. So, I’m a writer.

Tim Hunter

When It’s The Last Time

If there are any creative inventor types that follow my weekly therapy sessions on this blog, I’ve got a couple of ideas I’d like to offer up.

First, we need to invent fireworks that track where the person lives that bought them and logs the time they were lit off. Then, by using the free app, “Revenge Against the Bastard” (available in the app store of your phone) you could repay that bozo who thought it was funny to light off an M-80 at 6am on the morning on the 4th of July, or who kept blowing things up until almost midnight.

The other invention I’d like to see is a bit more futuristic, but it would somehow let you know when you’re about to do something for the very last time.

Because, if it really is going to be the last time, but it’s a negative experience, those are easy to recall. I remember the last time I was let go at a couple of radio jobs like it was yesterday. Then there was the final day of another job I couldn’t stand, so I quit. And, of course, there’s the last time the Seattle Mariners were in the playoffs.

But then there are those life events that you would have enjoyed and cherished so much more, if you had only known this was going to be it. The last time you hung out with the neighborhood kids, the final time you got together with your high school crowd, or even when you went to visit someone who was sicker than they admitted, and you never got to see again.

For a decade, one of my annual routines was doing the play-by-play for the Bothell City Cable Channel’s coverage of their annual “Freedom Festival” parade on the 4th of July. I think it was in 2008 that Joyce Goedecke, the city’s Public Information Officer, invited me to co-host the parade with her. Being a radio guy, I seized the opportunity to do some on-camera work and we had a blast.

Soon after that, Joyce left for greener and sunnier pastures, so I inherited an annual tradition that I looked forward to every year. Having lived in Bothell and raising a couple of kids there, going to the parade each July 4th meant I would run into some former neighbors, or people from the Little League days or when I was a member of Bothell First Lutheran, and so on. It was like a family reunion.

And with Joyce gone, I was matched up with a series of different co-hosts over the years–Joyce’s PIO successor, Joy Johnston; Bothell Municipal Court Judge Michelle Gehlsen; Dr. Eric Murray, President of Cascadia College; former Bothell City Council member Tom Agnew; and last but not least, serial Bothell civic leader Mike Rue.

Over time, the 4th of July turned into an all-day event with friends in Kenmore hosting an after-party, where they would take in the parade, and then we’d retreat to their house, just hanging out, getting caught up and celebrating the 4th as you should, with a barbecue. It was a nice, thick slice of Americana.

In 2019, Mike Rue and I were paired up again, not knowing about the looming pandemic that would cancel the parade for the next two years. We also didn’t know that when the parade would return in 2022, the city would decide to go a different direction and we would no longer be a part of it. People at City Hall change, I don’t live in Bothell anymore and apparently, it was just time to go in a different direction.

So, when the holiday rolled around this year, I’ll admit, I was a bit bummed. That is, until I decided to go to YouTube and watch the coverage of the 2019 Freedom Festival parade. Within a couple of minutes, a smile returned to my face. I spent the early part of the 4th this year being sad, thinking about that being the last time I would do the parade. But, as I watched the fun Mike and I were having, I couldn’t have been any prouder of our efforts three years ago. In reviewing myself, I’d have to say it was one of my better times in front of the camera. The team of Tim & James did their usual stellar job of capturing the parade and making us look good and frankly, I was at peace with the whole thing.

And so, I thought I would share it with you.

Even just watching the first couple of minutes, you can see we were having a blast.

Thanks to everyone who made the 10 years I was able to emcee the parade some of the most fun events of my life, with special thanks to Joyce, the city of Bothell, Tim & James and my assorted co-hosts, especially Mike Rue.

I will speak well of you all in the old folk’s home. And I’ll definitely use the “my crew” joke a lot, since I had only used it one time.

And I couldn’t resist chatting about it with Maury the Movie Guy on my KRKO morning show. Here’s that exchange.

This experience has just reinforced one of my personal beliefs: never just walk through something. If you are going to do something, do it big, like it could be the last time.

Because if it ends up being your finale`, at least you know you gave it your best shot.

Tim Hunter

The NW Just Got A Little Less Funny

By this stage in life, you’ve no doubt met hundreds of people during your years on earth. Some, one-time events, others are in it for the long haul and they become a part of your life. For me, Scott Burns is one of those rare life-long friends who will always feel like a brother, no matter how far apart we may live.

Including Las Vegas.

After spending the last 41 years in the Seattle area, gracing the airwaves around here on such stations as KJR, KUBE, Young Country and KBSG, Scott and his wife April have packed up and headed to the sunny southwest on a new adventure.

I don’t want to repeat too much of what you’ll hear in this podcast, but for the last couple of decades, the times I’ve laughed the hardest were when I was with Scott Burns. He was the audio production guru at Destination Marketing, where I hung out for just shy of 10 years, both of us recovering Seattle radio personalities. In other words, we weren’t introverts.

Besides the above podcast, here are a couple of audio collaborations I worked on with Mr. Burns:

At one point, I was hoping Scott and I could finally partner together on a radio station, and so we pitched KRKO back in the day with this demo that included the late Debbie Deutsch.

Scott was always willing to help me out with some of my crazy projects, including this open to one of my annual Christmas CD’s.

But perhaps our biggest collaboration was when he willingly put on the green paint and sweet-talked his wife April into help bring my song, “Bimbo #5” to life. It was my first-ever music video that I shot on a Flip camera. Here’s the 10th anniversary special I put together.

What a proud family moment!

All this to say, I’m going to miss you Scott Burns. And I was just handed a special thank you note signed by all of the H.R. Directors of the radio stations where you worked. They sincerely appreciated the job security over the years.

In this stay-connected-no-matter-how-far-away-you-are stage of our existence, I look forward to the next time we connect and laugh our rear ends off.

In the meantime, the Pacific Northwest just got a little less funny.

Tim Hunter

This Week, I’m Stepping Back

Next year, it will mark 50 years since I roamed the hallways of Torrance High School, down in southern California. So much happened during those four years there–I learned so much about me, started grasping how the world worked, fell in love for the first time and met friends that I still stay in touch with all these years later.

Most I haven’t seen in almost half a century. Again, Facebook allows us to connect, see what we now look like, and what all has happened in our lives since those days. There have been the occasional class reunions, but I honestly can’t remember who I saw and who I didn’t.

Today, one of my FB friends from those days, Paul Wolcott, shared the story of his life and the meaning of today’s date. I thought I would share it with you:

Forty years ago this morning I woke up in the hospital, couldn’t move, IV’s everywhere, pain everywhere, some kind of orthopedic apparatus sling around my hips. I remembered what happened. I didn’t realize it was actually worse than I thought it was when it happened. I wanted to know how Gary was doing. He didn’t look so good when we were hit earlier in the morning. 0140 hours in the morning to be exact. Nobody would tell me anything more than he was at another hospital and being cared for and I was doing fine.

June 1982, 1800-0200 night shift motors, Hermosa Beach, California. Me and my partner/best friend, Gary Dean Moss. Working the best assignment in law enforcement, police motorcycle duty, extra pay, take home bike, motor boots, leather jacket. It was all good.

Gary and I had attended the LAPD Motor training school six months prior. A difficult school taught by veteran motor officers. The training was two weeks of intensive drills, skills, cone patterns, 40 MPH decel, combination braking, friction point, stress and dirt. We loved it.

The Saturday night shift started out routine enough, prowling the city for CVC violations, DUI’s, suspicious characters. Writing tickets, taking T/C reports, boundary disputes, backups the usual routine stuff. Weekend summer night in Hermosa Beach, plenty of people rolling into the city to have a good time.

Towards the end of our shift we set up on Ocean Dr at Aviation Blvd to cherry pick speeders and possibly a DUI. Gary and I sat there on our bikes and just talked about our day and what we were doing when we got off shift and what we were doing on our days off. We talked about our girlfriends, Gary had a new one. He felt bad because they had had a fight earlier in the day before work. He was going to make it up to her and apologize for being a jerk. I was seeing Carol Glover, I was going to her house after work. We’d been seeing each other for about seven months, I met her on her birthday, introduced by mutual friends.

As we sat on our bikes, we poked fun at each other, laughed about stupid things, the usual chatter between friends.

We heard the whine of a couple of motorcycles headed towards us from PCH, two rice rockets moving fast, east on Aviation. Instinctively we fired up our bikes and gave chase.

Approximately 60 MPH as we crested the slight rise in the road at Prospect, solid green. Light traffic was moving west, the two speeding bikes were just ahead as we were about to light them up.

A white Ford Fiesta was going west on Aviation, suddenly, without signaling the white car turned left crossing our path just before we reached Harper Ln. the border with Redondo Beach. (He was going to the Jack in the Box)

No amount of braking or evasive moves was going to do us any good. (I only laid down 18’ of locked wheel skid). We were doing 60 MPH. Simultaneously we slammed into the car. Gary hit the space between the front bumper and the right front tire. I hit the passenger door. Momentum kept us in motion. I landed approximately 90’ from the point of impact, Gary a little further slamming headfirst into the south-east curb line of Aviation and Harper. I was in the middle of the street. I was conscious. I felt pain. My arms and legs didn’t work. But I was in pain, a good sign. I could see Gary lying there, not moving. I tried calling out to him, nothing. I tried to check to see if my gun was secured, I couldn’t move my arm. I tried to get to my radio to call for help. I couldn’t move my arm, my hand. What are those sticks poking out of the top of my glove? Completely helpless.

A citizen who was behind us saw the whole thing and stopped to help. He got on the radio on my bike and said this “Officer Down, Aviation and Prospect”. That’s it. Redondo Beach officer Mike Higashi responded, “Was that officer down or what?”.

Gary still wasn’t moving.

Debris and wreckage strewn all around us.

I could hear sirens. The citizen that called for help came to check on me. Told me to lay still. Go check on my partner.

The first officer to get to me was Hermosa Beach police officer Phil Keenan and his trainee. I asked him how he was doing, I told him I was fine, go check on Gary.

More officers were arriving. Redondo Beach officer Paul Burch arrived on scene. (Before joining the force he was an RN in the ER at South Bay hospital). He evaluated Gary and made the decision not to wait for paramedics. He and Phil Keenan bundled Gary up put him in the back of Burch’s black and white and rolled Code 3 to South Bay ER. I could hear the radio, Burch demanded a gurney to meet him at the ER entrance. Gary was in full cardiac arrest.

More units arrived. Officer’s I had gone to the police academy with, familiar faces. Comforting faces. Stressed faces.

I’m still waiting for paramedics. I learned later there had been a mix up in dispatch and the paramedics didn’t get the call right away. One officer yelled into the radio “GET THE GOD DAMNED PARAMEDICS HERE NOW!”

There were four people trapped in the car. My bike intruded 3 feet into the passenger door. My body crushed the roof line in. Thank goodness for my vest.

The paramedics arrived more familiar faces. The ambulance arrived. More familiar faces.

Redondo Beach officer Mike Kaye arrived at the scene, we went through the academy together, I asked him to go to Carol’s house in Manhattan Beach and let her know I was going to be later than expected.

They took me to Little Company of Mary hospital in Torrance. The pain was getting worse, but I was still conscious and aware of what was happening. Chaos in the ER. Nurses, doctors, staff, police officers, vitals. More pain, everywhere. No pain meds till after X-Ray’s. They cut off my boots, my leather jacket, my breeches, shirt. Cold. Shock.

X-Ray’s, more pain. Mike brought Carol to the ER. I told her it was no big deal I’d be out in the morning. The nurses gave her the task of putting ice on my pelvis. I didn’t know why. Learned later, internal bleeding.

Finally, the gift of morphine. Pain was gone. Can I leave now?

Six hours of surgery.

Both arms broken, both wrists fractured and dislocated, compound fractures in my left hand (the sticks), fractured pelvis, broken back, both knees fractured and as a bonus, fractured right patella that was removed during surgery.

More morphine please.

Gary is in intensive care at South Bay hospital they told me, being cared for.

On June 24th, officer’s Jim Chizmar and Spike Kelly came to the hospital.

Gary died this morning…………

Gary’s memorial service drew hundreds of police officers from all over the state. Police helicopters flew past my hospital window in the missing man formation. Body Glove donated their boat to spread Gary’s ashes at sea off of Torrance beach.

A lot of time was spent in physical therapy or “pain and torture”. More surgeries. I regained use of my limbs, my left hand was functional. I got to learn how to walk again. I could finally go home after three months, two at LCM and a month at Daniel Freeman hospital for PT and OT and more surgeries.

The number of visitors to the hospital slowed, but Carol came every day

I spent three months in the hospital. The nursing staff was incredible and caring. They had to do everything. They fed me, changed my bedding, bathed me, gave me my meds, everything.

Carol and I got married on Gary’s birthday, March 19th.

Hermosa Beach Police officer Chuck Griffitts, Gary’s academy classmate, son was born at LCM, he named him Gary. He became a police officer.

I was forced to take a disability retirement in June 1983 when my 4850 time ran out. More surgeries, more PT.

The deuce that hit us had a .13% BAC. He was found guilty by a jury of one count of misdemeanor DUI and given probation.

In July 1985 I returned to full duty. I went back on motorcycle duty in 1995 and took a service retirement in 2008

We learned much later, the two motorcycle riders we were chasing had committed a robbery in another city.

Carol and I divorced but have stayed friends. I will, for the rest of my life be grateful to her for getting me through the most difficult, significant, life changing event I’ve ever experienced. Nothing before or since has been this bad.

I think about my best friend Gary Dean Moss every day.

I’m sure if every one of us were to take the time to write down a compilation of our life’s most traumatic moments since we left the safety of high school, the friends we’ve distantly stayed in touch with would be amazed at what we’ve been through. Some are willing to share, others prefer their privacy. But by this stage of life, all of us from the class of ’73 have a unique story to tell. I’m thankful Paul was willing to share, because I had no idea of all those challenges he had been through. Wow.

It’s why, this week, I’m deferring to my fellow Torrance High Tartar, class of ’73. Thank you, Paul.

Tim Hunter

Well, I’ve Reluctantly Joined The Club

You can’t say we didn’t try.

My wife, Victoria, and I had spent the better part of the past two years and 3 months doing what the CDC recommended, following every word of St. Fauci, wearing masks when others had decided they were through, never wandering into a grocery store with a bare face and yet this past week, we got COVID.

We found out on Monday, Memorial Day, that we had been exposed to someone with the virus on Sunday. Then, we learned we had also been exposed to two more people at a wedding the previous day on Saturday. (aka, the bride & groom)

And with that, our luck ran out. I kept telling myself for several days that it had to be a cold. I mean, for God’s sake, there are still colds and flu’s out there. Not EVERYTHING has to be COVID!

But on Friday morning, after testing every day since Tuesday, I finally got the double bars. Victoria earned her stripes on Sunday.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Friday, I was scheduled to be the reader, music man and goofball for an auction in Everett benefitting the Campfire program of Snohomish County. Then, Sunday, I was on tap to once again be the auctioneer for the Norwegian Ladies Chorus of Seattle Fish & Meatball dinner. Victoria was equally crucial to that event, but had to harness her delegation powers

Shortly after my positive test, I spent the morning scrambling to find replacements for me, so that the shows could go on. Kudos to buddy Ken Carson who took on the Campfire thing solo, and then showed up to wow the crowd at Sunday’s Norwegian gathering. Ken, they loved you. Looking forward to working with you at the Bothell Boosters Auction in less than two weeks. I should be clean by then.

Meanwhile, back in sick bay, I figured I would pass along what knowledge I’ve acquired during my unplanned travels down this road:

I’ve been sicker: The symptoms seem to come in waves. A plugged nose, followed by a runny nose, a slight burn in the lungs, tiredness. But when you get down to it, it feels more like a mild cold that I’m pretty sure is thanks to having my two Moderna vaccines and a booster. We were planning to get that second booster but wanted to wait until our schedule slowed down a bit, in case there were any side effects.

We’ve also had several friends also catch the crud over the last week say exactly what I’ve said–“I’ve been sicker.”

If you can get Paxlovid, get it! That’s the Pfizer product that helps speed up recovery and I’m hoping it does. There are several qualifying factors that allow you to get it–being over 65, having certain health conditions, etc.–but if you qualify, it’s a game-changer. What I can tell you about it–the biggest warning is that it doesn’t play well with a lot of other medicines. So, if you’re taking something regularly, you may have to stop for the 5-days you’re Paxloviding. (ooh, look, I made it a verb!) I had heard that when you take it, you start feeling better on the second day. That may have been true, but I wasn’t feeling that bad to begin with. I’m now on day 3 and to me, the headline is that the story I heard about how you get a metal taste in your mouth–absolutely true.

Prepare to be amazed how word spreads–Seriously, we had told less than 5 people that I had tested positive on Friday morning and by 9am, I had gotten messages of support from two people who had absolutely no connection to those 5 friends. This is why I have my secret identify plan ready for when I finally do win the lottery.

You’ll be forced to rest–Geeze, I got in all the episodes of “Stranger Things”, caught up on “Barry” and discovered how great “The Lincoln Lawyer” is on Netflix. So, there is an upside.

It’s the world in which we live. Another friend who caught it this week made the frequently made comment, “Well, if you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s just a matter of time.” As part of a team that was doing SO good about avoiding it, I’d have to agree. But even though it seems like it just won’t go away, we’ve at least worn it down so it’s now a lighter form of the original and the vaccinations seems to be doing their jobs.

If you have any questions or want thoughts from someone who sits in the front row, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d use my radio address, tim.hunter@krko.com because it’s the least busy of them all.

Glad to help in any way I can, especially now that I’m a member of the club.

A very reluctant member. Meeting adjourned.

Tim Hunter