My last good memory of The Swiss was picking up a family of three pre-Covid lockdown – first lockdown.
Dad was Liquored. He sat up front, mom and daughter in the back. He went on and on about how important it was to see live music (even if it wasn’t that good, like the band that night). He said they go there a few times per year and wanted to take his daughter there while she was home for the holidays from college. Then he went on and on about Vodka and he didn’t really appreciate the differences..
I told him, “Tito’s is my favorite, it has a unique smoothness. It’s made down south and they do things to support dogs.” He kept talking in circles (Liquored) so the daughter started teasing him, “He already told you about Tito’s.”
When I dropped them off in DuPont the daughter got out last. “Have a shot of Tito’s for me.”
She burst out laughing..
A couple of winters ago I drove a young guy home who used to work at the Pacific Grill in Tacoma until it became another Covid casualty.
In conversation he said, “Unsure what to do now.”
“Look at the jobs that don’t get locked down, if even for just a few months…years..”
His family had a memorial gathering for his dad at The Swiss before Covid came around and caused it to go out of business. I guess it was his favorite place. “We used to go there all the time to hear local bands and meet up.”
“It was a favorite of mine, they use to have car shows in the street out front.”
Weekday commuting starts early and grows into a crowded tailgating typically rude frenzy that inevitably slows to an intolerant crawl. I call it The Gauntlet. This busy time of day is my least favorite and rarely driven despite its financial opportunities.
However one weekday morning I was awake very early and decided to turn my app on and see if I could catch a rider while I watched tv. Ping – I got a request. The rider was nearby in a newer housing development that I hadn’t noticed before. It was just a couple blocks off of the always bustling Pacific Highway, being downhill and tucked into some trees this group of houses enjoys some seclusion.
Driving slowly past the house to turn around in the culdesac and return to stop in front gave the rider enough time to be ready when I stopped.
“Good morning,” she said in a warm voice with an African accent.
On the drive we talked about her neighborhood, job and the town we both called home.
Near the end of our trip I shared, “You spell your name the same way my mom does.”
“Your name is spelled the same as my son’s. Maybe we are related?”
Belly laughing spilled from the backseat into the front. The best tip of the day – laugh more.
I drove a young guy home from work on my way back from a personal trip to see a car collection. In our conversation I said, “Think it’s going to be a tough winter.”
“Yeah, me too. My dad doesn’t celebrate his birthday, he celebrates ‘surviving winter’ in the spring. We’re part Native American, it’s a cultural thing.”
“Interesting.. When is his birthday?”
“I don’t know, in one of the winter months I guess.”
Love brings expiration
Like most drugs there is a small
sequence of numbers only
to be seen
in a broken rear view mirror
Be it written on the back of a lovers
shoe, vivid as they walk away
Somewhere in the maze
of a Doctor’s file
Or in the fog of pet’s dream
Saturday I read a text while on lunch break from a writing workshop. While walking my dog I learned that a favored cousin had died, that it may have been as long as a couple weeks before she was found. The small words on my phone almost sat me down on the wet sidewalk – once again my dog kept me moving. Nobody can see a tear in your eye if you eat alone in a dark corner of a pub, this was working until I was invited to sit with the group. I chose to save the news for later, join them and float in their conversation’s. I succeeded in not thinking about her very much and did the best I could with the rest of the day. As I began the three hour drive home over the bridge guilt clutched me for being able to put myself first. The tortuous lone drive home on wet roads through dark trees seemed like an appropriate time-out.
Sunday I learned that she left a note – she had chosen this ending. It felt like an asthma attack in my head. As this sad ending becomes another of life’s unsolvable cruel riddles that ride in on the monster we simply call “Loss”; I will focus on what I can.
Mary was ten years older. Being another only child gave us a special bond, our club of one’s. Most years we got together on my family trips back to North Dakota. Mary lived on a huge farm alive with animals, horses being her favorite. This contrast to living in a small Washington town appealed to me. One Summer I was given three little ducklings to care for at my Grandparent’s farm. Years later we’d meet for dinner and a night on the town to catch-up, a highlight of my annual visits. Mary’s adult life revolved around taking care of elder family and helping other friends, she seemed to delight in the role. Certainly as they passed away, chunks of her went with them and loneliness soaked in.
My cousin had a huge heart.
Her name was Mary.
Retreating to land of sun worshipped silence.
Unwinding the mind with elder presence.
Unpacking a year on timeless earth.
Six days of …So Long
One day of Hello
My grandma was a one room live-in school teacher, before starting a family. She loved literature (more than the rest of us) her whole life.
I sometimes read my stuff outloud to her at the Fall City cemetery.
I don’t really think that she’s there, but it feels like she’s listening.
Born December 8, 1965 in Jamestown, North Dakota the only child of Esther and Stan Goffe. Raised in Enumclaw, Washington by schoolteacher parents gave a solid start – blending mid-west values with small town growth.
Being a bit of a traveller and seeker it was often easier to question than accept.
Surviving a taste for adrenaline and gravitational pull from the wilder side, eventually settling down in the Seattle area.
Learning about the gifts of life from daughter Heather and her journey.
Sharing eclectic experiences with several great friends, many special acquaintances and a few wild characters.
Enjoying the path with a special dog proved to be life changing.
Life was rich.
I liked the idea of becoming a kind of Renaissance Man.
Hopefully I achieved this on some level, before I left.