Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Few Things About Me That Have Nothing Whatsoever To Do With Food

"You're all about the food," my darling ball and chain reminded me for the millionth time. He said it in response to my pointing out Arnold Palmer on the tee-vee. "There's the guy they named the iced tea after," I cried.

Yes, I watch golf. (That's No. 1 thing that is non-food related.) Especially enjoy watching The Masters. I actually used to play golf. Like a lot. When we lived in Spokane, Johnny and I frequented the beautiful public courses like Indian Canyon, Hangman Creek, Esmeralda. We'd get in a quick nine holes after work. Twilight golf. But that was all BC, Before Claire. Golf takes up a helluva lot of time, something you don't have a lot to spare when you're new parents. Best case scenario is four hours, and that doesn't count time spent bending the elbow at the old 19th hole. My favorite part of a round on a hot afternoon. Now, I'm just an occasional spectator, though I might take it up again one of these days.

I'm also an accidental Mariners fan. That dude I've shared my home with for decades bleeds Mariners blue, through bad times and good. He really should have been a color man, considering the dead-on commentary he runs while watching games, either at home or in the stadium. (It was a rough one last night, as we were part of the smallest crowd in the team's history, and they lost. By a lot.) Over the years, I've been swept up in the drama and the characters on the team. I've seen the guys of summer play at Arlington in Texas and in the old Yankees stadium. And, last week, I got to meet one of the legends of the game. I gushed like a 10-year-old version of myself, telling Edgar Martinez he has always been my favorite Mariner.

Speaking of 10-year-old versions of myself, my nickname around that time was Bullfrog. Because I could burp louder than anyone in my class. Still can.

Later, when I was doing a college internship, working at The Leavenworth Echo newspaper, I became known as Big Salmon. Because of my uncanny ability to leap out of the Wenatchee River like one of those fish. Still can.

Back when I lived in Leavenworth -- from fourth to eighth grade, when we (briefly, thank god) moved to the hell hole known as Marysville -- I went to camp at what's now Sleeping Lady. One year, I was named top camper in our lodge, an honor that meant I had the cleanest fingernails and the smoothest sleeping bag. At Camp Field, we sang neat songs like "What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor?" and I also won a pie eating contest. Still could. (And, yes, that last one is about food, but also sports. If you consider competitive eating sports.)

I've been pretty much everywhere I've wanted to go, including taking a long train ride to a remote park north of the Arctic Circle in Norway and many years later went way down south to Buenos Aires. I spent two weeks working on a processing boat in Alaska before quitting because it was too damned hard working nearly round the clock. I was too tired to be terrified, even when the boat was hit by a storm that sent everything flying out of the pantry in the kitchen.
In 1983, a cop in Telluride casually told me to quit smoking a joint on the street. Yes, sir!
Also notable in Telluride, though not on the same trip, I met Margaret Hamilton at a film festival, star of The Wizard of Oz, and heard Jimmy Buffet play an acoustic show at the tiny Sheridan Theater, and I got pretty close to the top of one of those 14,000 peaks while wearing sneakers.
And, yesterday, I listened to the story of one of those guys you see everywhere, holding a sign, asking for help. Those hard-luck tales remind me a little bit of my late father, who had success and blew it on more than one occasion. I wished the guy well, emptied my change purse into his shaky hand and wondered what's to become of me. Maybe someday I'll end up on a curb, holding a sign: Will Write For Food. Sure hope not!
OK, enough about me, tell me about YOU!

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