Karen: (Seeing a man coming out of The Colophon Cafe.) Is the Colophon open? Dave: No. It’s closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. We’ve been having a hard time finding people to fill the shifts during the pandemic. Karen: (Nodding in understanding.) Yeah. I’ve heard it’s hard everywhere. (Thinking.) Do you work here? Dave: (Nodding.) Yeah. Karen: I love this restaurant. It’s one of my go-to places when I’m up here. There’s this waitress here named Allison who’s the best. She’s always kind and smiling and fun – I’ve never seen her be cranky with anyone, ever. Dave: Yeah. Allison’s great! In fact, everyone who works here is great. We have good people. Karen: (Finally putting it all together.) Are you the owner? Dave: (Smiling.) Yeah. Karen: You’ve made a wonderful place here! Can I take your picture? Dave: (Smiling.) Okay.
Karen: I was watching your dog from the boardwalk. This is a good dog! (Dog starts wagging his tail at me.) Human: (Patting his dog on the shoulders.) He’s a great dog. Karen: Hi, Buddy! (Dog approaches me for a pet on the head, tail wagging even more now. He’s smiling at me.) What’s his name? Human: (Smiling.) His name’s Luke Skywalker. Karen: (Laughing.) Of course it is! He’s totally Luke Skywalker! Can I take his picture? Human: Sure!
Of cobwebs and splashing pups sheltering in a sweet-smelling shop autumn leaves and boats on the bay filling my day in the Bellingham way
The last days of September are escorting autumn into Bellingham, Washington. I never fail to find beauty and peace and good will in this town. This week Life funneled me into a shop I’d never visited before – The Garden Room – where I was greeted by Mila and found a bar of grapefruit-scented French soap and a book of inspirational quotes. Jacob the Burnese mountain dog (whose human was told he wouldn’t like water) brought a grin to my face with his happy, splashing shenanigans in the bay. I met Bailey, the Husky mix, who smiled up at me and graciously let me pet her head. And the sky and the ground were bejeweled in autumn leaves…
Follow up on the Hunch and Spike story.You may recall that last week I saw a beautiful retriever named Hunch posing regally on a boulder next to the Bellingham boardwalk. Hunch’s human, Spike, was gracious enough to pose with Hunch and let me take their picture from the boardwalk.
Well, the very next day I ran into Hunch and Spike again! Twice! First on the boardwalk and then later in Boulevard Park. This time I got to actually reach out and pet Hunch behind the ears. His fur was so soft! He leaned his head into my hand and then he licked my hand and let me know that we are friends now. I can’t tell you what that meant to me! We lost our beloved dog, Sam, just a couple months ago, and I’ve so missed that canine-connection. Hunch gave me exactly what I needed that morning.
Hunch’s human is as cool as Hunch, too, and I’m so grateful to Spike for sharing Hunch with me for a few minutes. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
I spent some time with oystercatcher birds in Bellingham today, and met Hunch and his human, Spike.
I’d seen Hunch sitting under a maple tree with golden and copper leaves earlier in the week – and was completely dazzled by the color of his fur with the autumn leaves. And today I was tickled to actually get to meet Hunch with his owner, Spike.
We took a quick hike up to Artist’s Point near Mount Baker yesterday. It was beautiful up there. I really needed that time in the mountains.
We met some cool people while we were up there, too: Reid and his friend, Wes, who was visiting from Indiana; Terri and Rick, visiting from Pennsylvania; and Lynn, whose husband, like mine, is from Connecticut.
I had a hard time getting up the gumption to do anything today. Finally got myself dressed and went in search of magic – and I found it!
I decided to drive to Padilla Bay for a quick hike on the dike and, along the way, I passed a couple of women (“Poppy” and “Catwater”) who are walking the Pacific North Trail. I pulled over to the side of the road so I could chat with them. I learned they started their trek in Montana and are headed for the ocean. They were really fun to talk to – they shared some of their adventures and philosophies, and let me take their picture.
A while later I’m walking on the dike when I pass James “Tall Bunion” and Kelly – and they, too, are doing the PNT! When I mentioned Poppy and Catwater, their faces lit up in happy smiles. Kelly said the last time they’d seen Poppy and Catwater was 500 miles ago! They were happy to hear Poppy and Catwater were so near.
I have had a most weird and wonderful morning. I rode my bike over to Tweets in Edison for breakfast – and magic happened!
I brought my vanilla breve out onto the back deck to wait for my breakfast muffin, and was greeted by one of my former eighth graders, Reed, who was sitting with his sister and friends at one of the little tables out there. It was so fun to see Reed again – it’s always a kick to see my students all grown-up and making amazing lives for themselves. Magic!
I sat down at the table next to Reed and his friends and sipped my breve and watched life happen. Soon a young woman came out onto the deck, looking for a place to sit. There were no more tables out there, so I asked her if she’d like to share my table. She sat down and we chatted for a bit – I learned Marlo lived in Bellingham, was majoring in English at Western Washington University (what a coinky-dink! – my youngest son is also majoring in English at WWU!), and worked at the Woods Coffee shop in Boulevard Park – one of my favorite stops when I’m in Bellingham. Marlo’s friend, Hannah, joined us then and we chatted a bit more – she, too, is a student at WWU, majoring in graphics design.
As we talked and laughed together another former student of mine walked by, and smiled and gave me a hug – it turns out he works at Tweets now! Magic!
When Reed and his friends left I moved over to their table so Marlo and Hannah could have their own table. And then another woman came out on the deck looking for a table for her and her partner, Joe. I told her that, if she liked, they could join me at my new table, and they did. Liesyl and Joe were very cool – they’d traveled to Edison from Seattle on scooters! We talked about their scooter adventures, where they came from, and where they were going. Liesyl mentioned that she’d once lived in Bow (the little community I live in now) – her father had been a minister at the United Methodist church in Bow. And here comes even MORE magic…
Thirty-one years ago – before we’d ever suspected we’d someday be living in Bow – my husband and I were married in Gig Harbor (a town two hours away) by a minister who’d once been a Methodist minister in Bow. “Is your dad’s name ‘Russ’?” I asked her. Her mouth fell open and she nodded yes. “Is his last name ‘Meyer’?” I asked, and she said yes! “Your dad was the minister who married my husband and me 31 years ago in Gig Harbor!” I told her. And I told her about the wedding – how her dad’s sense of humor had fit right in with our event – and how he’d seen us laughing and yukking it up with our friends at the reception and told us that some couples he worries about – but that he knew we’d be alright.
Liesyl told me her dad had passed on suddenly fifteen years ago – and I was sad to hear this. We shared stories with each other, then, about her dad and celebrated him as we ate breakfast together.
As I was leaving I stopped to ask the man who had taken my order if I could take his picture for my blog. He graciously agreed. I asked him his name – he said “Charles” – and we realized that we were actually already Facebook friends. I’d been enjoying his posts and comments for many months! I love that!
(Here’s the photo I’m going to use for the cover.)
We’ve been in search of cool places during this scorching week in the Pacific Northwest. And we found some: A short walk brought us to the beach and boulders at Larrabee State Park. A nice little hike and a swim brought us some relief at Lake Padden. And an early morning stroll along the Bellingham boardwalk brought us happy camaraderie with fellow PNW inhabitants in search of a cooling breeze.
Below: Boulders at Larrabee; Briar takes a leap into Lake Padden while her human, Chris, looks on; Alex (jumping) and Darius go for a swim in Bellingham Bay. (Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
One of the things I’m most grateful for in life is those encounters I have every now and then with people who know how to laugh with me. I had one such encounter today with a woman named Lindsay.
I was returning from my walk along the Bellingham boardwalk when I saw a woman who appeared to me to be looking adoringly into her baby stroller. I glanced into the stroller – expecting to see a baby smiling up from there – but what I saw, instead, was a stuffed animal sitting in the stroller. And in my head – because this is the way my mind works – I made a whole little Saturday Night Live kind of skit about this – I shall not go into the details at this time – but if you are my friend I’m sure you can imagine how this might have played out in my pointy little noggin.
When I got to the other side of the stroller I was kind of relieved to find there was an actual youngster there, helping her mom push the stroller. I laughed and said to the mom – because I instinctively knew she would know how to have fun with this – “Oh, I’m so relieved! You have an actual child here! I saw you looking adoringly down into your stroller and all I saw was a stuffed animal in there! I was a little concerned.”
And, without missing a beat, Lindsay laughed back with me and said, “Yeah. I’ve been in isolation a REALLY long time.”
We introduced ourselves to each other – kindred spirits in Humoristianity – and Lindsay let me take her photo. (See below.)
A little fawn appeared on the path in front of me this morning and pretty soon was joined by a young sibling. They sort of checked me out and then bounded and leaped back into the bushes. (I like to think their mama was waiting for them in there.)
And I came back from Bellingham with this poem today:
She was so excited to see another baby Tottering back and forth on her toes in her glee Look! Another human like me!- Karen Molenaar Terrell