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

I Stand Corrected

To be honest, in recent years, I’ve been paying attention more to my original Major League Baseball team than our local one.

After all, I grew up in the Los Angeles area where, during the first 10 years of my life, my team–the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers–won four World Series. When I was just 14 days old, the Dodgers put away the New York Yankees in a game 7 at Yankee Stadium.

I grew up with heroes like Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, John Roseboro, Maury Wills, Willie Davis, his brother Tommy and on and on. Put me on a game show and ask me to name as many of those players from that day and I know I’d get most of them.

I grew up at a time when baseball games on TV were a rarity and a treat. The Dodgers were never on unless they were on the Saturday Game of the Week, or occasionally, when they headed north to play their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. That was a big deal in southern California. The rest of the season, most evenings around our house were spent listening to Vin Scully on the radio, so we could follow what those Bums were up to.

Shortly after I moved to Seattle, the city was awarded a team to replace the Seattle Pilots, who left for Milwaukee after just one year here. In putting together a brand-new Major League franchise, we landed Dick Enberg’s sidekick on the Los Angeles Angels broadcasts, a guy by the name of Dave Niehaus.

How lucky we were.

So, over time, I learned to cheer on the local team, despite their record. We would always have brief glimmers of hope, only to see them wither away, season after season. That is, until 1995 when the Mariners took fans on the ride of our lives. For the first time, Seattle got to feel what it was like to be in a pennant race, to host playoff games, to have last second-dramatic finishes. But unfortunately, the ride ended short.

In 2001, one of America’s most tragic years in my lifetime, the Mariners managed to win 116 games in a single season. We thought for sure this was the year. It wasn’t.

21 years later, I’ll be the first to admit, I was slow getting to the party. I wanted to believe, but after two decades of frustration and my childhood team putting a winning team on the field, it made it too easy to not take this year’s Seattle Mariners seriously. We had just missed the playoffs last year and of course, the mantra is always, “Yeah, wait until next year.”

But it finally happened.

I’ll be honest. Some of my baseball buddies would tell you that I was running around saying that Mariners Manager Scott Servais would probably be gone by the 4th of July. Once again, we started strong and then had a late-June crash and burn. In my mind, when we needed a new manager sevenf years ago, we hired some assistant coach from the Angels and saved a few bucks.

However, team President Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais had a vision and where so many had failed before, they did those pain-staking, not-gonna-happen-overnight things that get you a competitive team for now and for the future. Not just dragging in a big name or two on the edge of retirement, but bringing in the right position players. It’s that rare crescendo of good scouting, good gut instincts, making a killer trade-deadline deal and locking in some of those key players so they’ll be here for years to come.

The 2022 Seattle Mariners are real, they’re the team I’ve been waiting to cheer for, and I’m now a born-again baseball fan.

Apologies for my lack of faith in this team. And thanks for bringing back baseball fever again throughout the Pacific Northwest.

I stand corrected.

Tim Hunter

Oh, wait.

So, I had finished writing this prior to the Mariners’ first game against the Houston Astro’s. Yes, the one where we had a 4-0 lead and a 7-5 lead as we headed into the bottom of the 9th.

For some God-forsaken reason, for the final batter of the game, Scott Servais chose to bring in struggling Mariners starter Robbie Ray to get the last out. For the Dodger fans reading this, yes, he Kimbrel’d it.

Why in God’s name he chose to give the ball to Ray baffles even the newest baseball fan. Yes, Robbie won the Cy Young in 2021, but this year, it frankly hasn’t been pretty, including recently. A week ago, I watched him give up 6 runs to the lowly last-place Oakland A’s in one of the last regular season games of the year. Then, last Saturday, we saw him melt down against the Toronto Blue Jays and give up 4 runs. Now, you’re going to let him pitch to Yordan Alvarez, who has terrorized pitchers all season long? We had room on the bases. Why not intentionally walk him? This was not a wise decision.

Don’t tell me about statistics, just go with common sense.

But instead, we all watched, we waited and we saw what we expected. Alvarez walked up and knocked out a 3-run home run, stealing a win from the Mariners and the fans who had poured their hearts into that game.

Even psychics say that one was too easy to call.

The disappointment was equal to a certain Seahawks Super Bowl a few years ago when Russell Wilson threw an interception, instead of the team just running the ball a yard.

Robbie Ray? Really? (wow, I sound like Scoobie Doo) Was Bobby Ayala not available? For that matter, maybe the Mariners should have given the ball to Marshawn Lynch. Oh, there goes my blood pressure again. Well, perhaps we can right the ship tomorrow.

So, I now sit corrected.

 

And now, I’m sitting up straight.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said that the reason he went with Robbie Ray was due to the process that got them to the playoffs that they used all year.  His words:

“Obviously, it didn’t work yesterday, but that has nothing to do with our process,” Servais said Wednesday. “We have a really good process. It’s something that we have developed over time, specifically the last couple years, in our decision-making. … We made the decision we made based on the players we had available, based on the numbers and the information I had available — and stand by it.”

OK, so you’re saying you’re removing the thinking portion of managing and using basically a computer-style model and letting it make the decisions.

Yeah, that’s great. But I will point out, this is why we don’t have self-driving cars yet.  After your car runs over a couple of people, you might want to take the wheel.

Just sayin’. 

 

OK, I’m done.

 

For now.

Mr. Voice of Reason Returns

 

 

Alright, alright, everybody, just calm down.

Yes, we’ve got a bit of chaos going on in the Seattle sports world, but tell me when we didn’t. It just seems like it’s happening all at once and on several fronts, so I’m raising my hands to the crowd and asking it to take some deep breaths while I conduct a quick class of what the heck is going on.

THE SEAHAWKS

Come on, be honest, you had your doubts about this season. After a lackluster pre-season which you dismissed because, after all, it was pre-season, you got your hopes way up after the Hawks somehow beat their ex, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. I think we’d all agree that was a pretty sweet way to start out a season. However, the following week, reality sank in, and frankly, the prognosis for the rest of the season isn’t so good.

Look, when you’re an NFL team, you need an NFL star quarterback, not the guy that sits backstage hoping that the Phantom has a sore throat. I think the world of Pete Carroll and Seahawks General Manager John Schneider (NOT the guy from Dukes of Hazzard), the folks who brought Seattle’s first-ever Super Bowl trophy to town. The way they assembled a championship team that year with a bunch of overlooked talent that was molded into the “Legion of Boom” and turned a quick, undersized quarterback out of Wisconsin into a scrambling MVP you could love, I will be forever grateful.

But the entire time Russell was with the Seahawks, for some unexplained, God-forsaken reason, Pete did not hire an offensive line. He had this thing about creating one. Taking guys who didn’t normally play that position, and who had to learn on the job. And while he watched from the sidelines, Russell spent way too much time out on the field having to run for his life. When he was younger, very doable. But as he slowed down, the defense sped up and the magic began to fade away. I can’t help but wonder how many championships that team might have won if Wilson had the protection that Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers enjoy every week.

Bottom line–you need a major talent in the quarterback slot, one of the elite, a guy married to a Super Model or that does State Farm commercials, not a career backup quarterback who hadn’t started a season in 8 years. It’s the opinion of this armchair quarterback that we’re biting the bullet so we get a high draft pick next season and nab one of the young arms coming out of college. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

In the meantime, think of how much you’ll actually get done around the house this fall on Sunday afternoons.

THE SOUNDERS

They’ve spoiled us over the years. Start strong, have a slump, then, just as the playoffs approach, rally and grab one of those spots. I just don’t feel like that’s going to happen this time around, which is amazing considering the Sounders became the first American soccer club to win the ConcaCaf Championship earlier this year, earning a spot to play on a global stage in the months ahead.

But compare this season to the last 10 and it’s just not the same. it just feels different. We’ve got some great players, but the chemistry just isn’t there. Oh, there are moments, but with only two regular season matches left as of this writing, I’m just not feeling it. But, to keep us busy this fall……

THE MARINERS

I’ll admit I’ve been among their harshest critics in recent years, due to two decades of promising us a competitive team, only to get the same disappointing result year after year. But this 2022 collection of players seems like they just might have the mojo to make something happen. Maybe not a championship, but at least going to the dance and maybe go up a rung or two and take a big step in the right direction.
I’ve been a baseball fan longer than any other sport, and one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that every championship team will have a slump or two during the season. If you remember that 2001 season when the Mariners won 116 games, they came in blazing hot and then crashed in the first round. The key is to get that slump out of the way late in the season, late August or early September, and then hit the playoffs running. By then, some of the better teams are getting tired, the veteran players falling by the wayside with injuries and so on. Over the last week, the M’s have had some pretty poor performances, none worse than blowing a 9-run lead on Sunday and losing 13-12 to the Kansas City Doormats.

With us being set to welcome back some injured players and a team due to get hot, I’m thinking, “You know, this just might be the year.” Stranger things have happened.

MY HUSKIES

This is my team. Of all the sports, of all the teams, if I could only have one, this is it. I don’t have a single tattoo on my body but if I ever were to make that commitment, it would be a Husky logo on my left arm, up by the shoulder.

It’s the team I watched with my buddies in college. For the four years of working at KOMO Radio, it’s where I got to hang out with the likes of Bob Rondeau, Gary Johnson, Keith Shipman, Don James, Jim Lambright, and so many others. Going to a game at Husky Stadium still feels special. I was actually a season ticket holder for a few years (thanks to a friend who let me buy her tickets) but after that 0-12 year, I said, “Enough abuse.” Yes, we’ve experienced some dark times in recent years, with mysteries thrown in. Why did Peterson suddenly leave? Why did he leave the team in the hands of someone who should have continued the upward trend, only to crash and burn in record time? And how did we get so lucky to land Coach DeBoer and his program, providing us a creative offense and defensive toughness that is Husky football.

For God’s sake, he’s only four games in, but there is a lot of good stuff going on. The temptation is to leap to, “Oh, we’re going to be National Champs” or “It’s going to be the greatest Husky football team ever!” Look, I remember that ’91 Championship team and even though they had to share the Championship due to the continuing west coast bias, that was one great team. 12-0, baby.

We didn’t set out to be National Champs that year, but it just happened. For now, I’m just going to enjoy having a front row seat to the building of an incredible new program and when we win a game, that’s great. But then, focus on who’s next and who’s next only. One game at a time. One win at a time.

And maybe, just maybe…..

THE KRAKEN

The NHL’s latest expansion team is heading into its second season and I am having a blast. Expectations are in check, as we build a team and a new tradition in the Seattle area, but the more I watch NHL hockey, the more I realize it’s the only sport I observe on TV where I’m constantly yelling things, as if they can hear me. Dang, it’s fast.

I was growing up in Southern California when Los Angeles got the Kings and eventually, the Mighty Ducks, but my hockey viewing was pretty limited to occasionally getting caught up in a Stanley Cup playoff game. I’ve been to some Thunderbirds and Silver Tips games, I even got to take part in a Microsoft challenge one time, getting my own Thunderbirds jersey with my name on it and watching Kiefer Sutherland up close play on a celebrity team. 

I don’t know all the Kraken players names, but I’m trying to learn the rules, loving the fans, the enthusiasm, and the 100% carbon neutral Climate Pledge arena where they play. I’ve yet to take in a game in person, that’s on my bucket list for this season, but it’s just so awesome to have the big game in town. And ownership seems to be doing things right. It just takes time. Go Kraken!

And with that, Sports Fans, Mr. Voice of Reason has spoken. Class dismissed.

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

My Accidental Meeting

It was the least-likely way I ever expected to meet a legend, yet somehow, it still happened.

I was off to Costco on a stock-up run, and to see what else I could find that I probably could live without, but at that price, how do I say ‘no’? It’s why they say that the most expensive vehicle to operate these days is a shopping cart at Costco.

I had just entered the store with my cart, my mind trying to recall all the things I so vividly thought of while I was at home, when I noticed an older gentleman sitting at a table near the books. Curiosity got the best of me, so I went over to see who it was.

It was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

Yes, the Boston Celtics legend that broke my Los Angeles Lakers heart on multiple occasions during my childhood years. Yet, here was this Hall of Fame basketball legend in the middle of a Costco, with no one in line, no one talking to him, just sitting there. It was like someone was setting a trap for me.

As I walked up to him, I kept thinking a door on the floor would open and I would be taken prisoner. But no, Mr. Russell just looked up, smiled and said, “Hi, how you doing?”

I did what any other red-blooded sports fan would do in this situation. I started blubbering about how nice it was to meet him, how great he was and yes, I’d like a couple of books. He asked who he should sign them to, and I think I either asked him for one for me or my son, but definitely I had to have him sign one for dad, who witnessed all those Lakers defeats with me. And besides, this was Bill Friggin’ Russell.

I thanked him and wandered away, stunned that I had just met him in a Costco book department. However, it was not surprising once you realize that Bill chose to retire in our area and had a nice place on Mercer Island, just east of Seattle, on Lake Washington. He was fairly active in the community, once even lending his voice to a Seattle Children’s Theater production.

The book was a great collection of stories of how it used to be, his fondness for his coach, and other stories from the times, that were not good. I’ll let you read all that stuff for yourself. But just the mention of his coach’s name, Red Auerbach, knocked loose one of those little memory nuggets tucked away in my brain. Back in the 1960s, the N.B.A. was a world away from today’s version. I’m not making this up–Bill played for the Boston Celtics and his coach had this tradition, which I witnessed many times on those nationally televised games. Whenever the Celtics had a big enough lead and a win was secured, Coach Auerbach’s tradition was to light up a victory cigar. Yep, there was the coach, with a big smile on his face, smoking his stogie on the sidelines as he watched the final minutes of a game roll off.

Of course, today, the coach would have had to leave the game and stand at least 25-feet away from any entrance. Not as effective.

Here’s the book he autographed for me.

As you can see, he really wanted people to know about this special relationship with Auerbach. After reading the book and seeing how Red stood up for Bill on multiple occasions during those extremely racist 1960s, it made all those Laker losses a little easier to take.

The praises continue to pour in about Bill and his life, and the more you learn about him, the more you realize what an amazing person he was.

And, to think, I got to meet him, at Costco.

Tim Hunter

Not Too Busy To Weigh In

Man, the last couple of weeks have been crazy. Life stuff, work stuff, the holiday disrupting the routine, you name it. But I have maintained my forever tradition of getting out at least one blog post a week.

Yet, as I sat down to write this week’s edition, I noticed a couple of things. Last week’s edition was still in draft form and I never published it. For Pete’s sake! And then, the week before, I had published it but not pinned it to the top, so it showed up lower in my blog feed and may not have appeared as something new.

I’ve been holding off on diving into the Roe vs. Wade thing because I have friends and family on both sides. Living on the left coast, most of our connections out this way were appalled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent reversal, sending back whether abortion should be legal or not to the states.

It sounds so nice on paper.

I was raised in a fairly conservation Christian church, Lutheran to be exact. And not one of those “Let’s make women pastors” type of synods, but rather the type where the men ran the church and women were not allowed to vote in church matters. Yep, that’s man’s stuff.

I can feel a couple of readers tensing up right now.

With that upbringing and Roe versus Wade being decided in the year I graduated in high school, I spent my early adult years believing that getting an abortion was probably wrong, so I probably shouldn’t get one.

Being a guy, you can think that way, especially when you’re 18.

Say I evolved, say my mind grew, whatever–it wasn’t long before I realized that it just didn’t matter what I thought. It wouldn’t be my choice, it would be that of whoever was carrying the fetus.

OK, about now, I’ve got some relatives writing up some signs to march and protest in front of my home. I realize that there is nothing I could say to you, to change your mind. You have your feelings about the topic and therefore, you can choose whether or not you would ever have one. Meanwhile, there are countless incidents where a pregnancy is not in the best interest of the mom or the eventual baby.

Those against abortion have convinced themselves that they’re fighting for the rights of the unborn. They’ve made them human and consider them existing lives. If you truly believe that, then don’t get an abortion.

But not everyone shares your view and talk about a can of worms. So, the fetus is a person? Then that pregnant woman pulled over this week should have her ticket dismissed for riding in the carpool lane by herself. Or, at six weeks, let’s remove the fetus and see if it survives.

Oh no. You can’t do that. It’s not a real person yet, but it will be some day, so we must protect it at all costs. And if that means blowing up abortion or forcing these procedures to the back alleys to protect the sanctity of life, so be it.

Then, once abortions are banned everywhere, we can take on alcohol. I’m sure we can find some place in the Bible that drinking it makes it a sin. Ignore the Last Supper or the fact that Jesus turned water into the stuff. Oh, I know we tried once before, but now we have a Supreme Court who will back us up!

Again, there’s no way I’m even attempting at trying to convert anyone to any point of view. But what this all has to do with is respecting each other to make our own decisions and then, if not correct, endure the consequences.

To summarize–it’s an incredible polarizing topic but trying to enforce religious views on a non-religious population is insanity in its purest form. Oh, sure, yours is the one true, correct belief and everyone else is all wrong, but……oh, please.

I wasn’t even planning to go this deep on the topic. But what I have been doing over the past couple of weeks is saving the memes that passed through my Facebook page. They reflect my beliefs, but out of respect (yeah, the ‘r’ word) for those with differing views, I didn’t put them out there in front of the masses to fuel the hate speak.

But this is my little corner of the Internet, so I can do whatever I want here. And so, I’m posting these.

I did hear one proposal, where all men would be required to get a vasectomy at age 18 and then, when they’re ready to have children, they could get it reversed.

But then again, we would never tell one gender what they should have to do with their bodies.

OK, there. I got it all out of my system. Yes, it’s been an incredibly busy last three weeks for yours truly. But not so busy, that I couldn’t weigh in on this topic.

Tim Hunter