a bimble along the middle fork snoqualmie river
There’s always a weekend in May reserved for Seattle’s Opening Day of boating season, a Saturday which has evolved into a family tradition wherein we make it down to the Montlake Cut at least in time for the last couple big races in the Windermere Cup, often featuring the finest assemblage of elite rowing teams in the world but the parade that follows is really the big thing for us. It was just the boys and I this year because their mother has been working herself to the bone and she needed time to relax without any men or boys around the house. The day was bluebird sunny, not a cloud in the sky and we were a little warm laying on the steep grassy bank south of the Ship Canal. I could’ve used a stiff drink in the middle of the parade as it got a tad dull with a few long gaps in the procession, otherwise it was pretty good. Oliver Fern added to the excitement when he got so upset by whistles from the little hobby steamers (but especially big Virginia V) he tried to burrow under me like a prairie dog- Adam and I may have shot ourselves in the foot reminiscing to him about how he shrieked in terror at the whistles when he was just a wee baby and the irony is we were only trying to build up his big boy ego. The steamers came through the Cut a lot earlier than usual. Adam joined forces with me again this year in my quest to get even the most serious yacht snooties (especially the ones wearing white gloves) to wave for us, our success rate was pleasingly high which we attributed principally to Oliver Fern’s cuteness. In between waving and clapping for the best decorations or colorful spinnakers, we stuffed ourselves with strawberries, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and gingersnaps. I didn’t take my camera this year because of the sunny conditions. For Opening Day, I actually prefer things on the gloomy side.
When the bridge finally went back down after the parade (it seemed like it never would and later from the police officer by the port-a-potties Adam found out there were mechanical difficulties) the boys and I headed over to the Husky Stadium train station and zipped up to Capitol Hill. After feeling a bit like an ugly, big-guy commoner amidst the preppiness of Montlake it was nice wading into the pool of weirdness on Broadway which is sadly dwindling these days yet present enough to satisfy for now. We ducked into Phoenix Comics and Games so big brother could look around a little. It was International Free Comic Book Day and he carefully perused the selection, which included hard-hitting titles such as Grumpy Cat and Pokemon which Adam was all too eager to lay claim to. Afterward, we waited for the 8 bus by Broadway and on the way down to Madison Valley I got drawn into strange conversation with an off-kilter lady who’d taken a shine to the boys. The crazies have always latched onto me and I’m not going to sit there and ignore them least of all when the boys are watching so I carried on the tradition of giving a dang despite being subjected to a convoluted thesis regarding the old comic strip Little King and feeling the blister-inducing glares of other passengers for encouraging such one-sided, loud yakkery on an otherwise peaceful ride through the city. At any rate, the walk back to the house was a warm one made ever hotter because en route we happened upon a half dozen mashed-up but fertile clumps of abandoned Black Eyed Susans sweltering inside of a couple plastic grocery sacks, steamy and soggy at the end of someone’s driveway with a note urging adoption. Time was running short for these orphans and we love free stuff so I wrapped the handles of the grocery sacks around my wrists and we made a beeline for home. The Black Eyed Susans are now comfortably ensconced in the front yard in a poofy patch of dirt on the edge of dappled shade from the wax myrtle. They were a little perky after the cool, misty Sunday we had last weekend.
Speaking of Sunday, after a late breakfast that morning the four of us went for a leisurely bimble along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. Oliver Fern is such a walker but I was getting concerned at the prospect of hoisting him onto my decrepit shoulders for the walk back to the trailhead as the forest was so lovely we were getting deeper and deeper into the bimble until it was seeming like a bungle in the making but his little legs are like lawn mower pistons and he made the six miles on his own. Here’s a picture I took on the way back to the Gateway Bridge, everyone left me behind and I was bimbling slower than normal because I was sure they were all hiding like forest ghouls behind the next big tree in preparation for a bad scare on me. I got Oliver Fern pretty good at lunchtime. There are a lot of places to hide in the woods through here but watch out for Devil’s Club! On the way home we stopped in the little mountain town below Mt. Si and got the boys’ mom a Big Mac, fries and soda for Happy Mother’s Day. And I reminded Adam to bring the field guide next time, he keeps forgetting.