Waving to the Amtrak

Okay, this tickles me –
Whenever an Amtrak train goes zipping by I just gotta wave. I cannot help myself. So the other night Andrew takes the family out to dinner (it’s his Christmas gift to us) – and we’re all sitting there (Scott, Xander, Andrew, and Andrew’s girlfriend, Sierra) and Sierra and Andrew start talking about a trip they took on the Amtrak to Vancouver last weekend. And (this is the part that has me cracking up) apparently as their train went cruising by Bellingham Bay last weekend they saw me down on the boardwalk waving up at the cars. “Look!” Sierra said to Andrew as their train rumbled passed, “There’s your mom!” Hahhahahar!  Ain’t life fun?!

(I happened to take a photo of the train that day – little did I know my son and his girlfriend were on there.)

Amtrack train



“This makes me happy.”

I had a wonderful morning in Bellingham.  The sun was shining, the birds were chattering in the trees, and there was that briny smell coming off the bay that always makes me feel like I’m some care-free tourist on vacation.

I started my walk off at Tony’s Coffee Shop in Fairhaven – picked up a mocha and headed towards the boardwalk. As I was crossing the crosswalk to take me to the trail I almost got run over. The car started to accelerate as it it came towards me – the driver screeched to a stop a couple feet from me – I realized I had my hand out – I think I was getting ready to push myself onto her hood.  The driver – a young woman – said the sun was in her face and she didn’t see me – but she saw my coffee cup from Tony’s. She was really shaken up and apologizing. I reached in and put my arm around her shoulders and told her I was glad she had quick reactions. “You did good, Grasshopper,” I said. We both laughed. Sometimes we meet nice people in unexpected and odd ways. I am feeling really grateful.

When I got to Boulevard Park I decided to continue on the trail to downtown Bellingham and check out the Farmers Market. There were lots of piles of leaves on the side of the trail to swish through on my way there – and you’ve got to swish through the piles of leaves, right?

The Farmers Market had all my favorite farmers market stuff – tables piled with veggies and fruits and home-made honey; musicians musicianing; colorful people; and good will to man and womankind.

On my way back I found myself walking behind three generations of a family – they were all putting their arms around each others’ shoulders and talking and laughing together. None of them were on cellphones. They were totally connected to each other. It made me happy. I snapped a couple pictures and then caught up to them and told them what I’d done and asked them if it would be alright – if the pictures turned out – if I posted them on my blog. They said sure and  smiled, nodded their heads, and introduced themselves. There were two aunts, their niece, the niece’s love-friend, and the niece’s children. The aunts were out visiting from Colorado (Denver and Boulder).  I brought up the pictures I’d snapped on my phone to show them and get their approval, and as they came together to look at the pictures, I liked the way all their feet made a circle of shoes – so, of course I had to snap a picture of THAT. Then they told me I should include my own feet in their circle – which… okay, I have a couple black toes from a hike I took on Mount Rainier last summer (my toes kept smashing into the front of my boots)… but… what the heck, right? So I joined the circle of feet and snapped a photo.




A Walking Piece of History

Dad (Dee Molenaar, 99) is still in bed at noon.
Karen: Do you just want to stay in bed and rest today?
Dad: (looking up at me, hopefully) Unless somebody wants to go for a drive.
Karen: Do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: Yeah.

A half an hour later Gwen has Dad dressed and fed, and we load him into my car. I head south on I-5.

Dad: When you and Scott retire are you going to travel the world?
Karen: That sounds fun!
Dad: I’ve seen a lot of the world. (This is an understatement.) I can tell you where NOT to go.
Karen: Where should we not go?
Dad: New York City.
(I’ve been to New York City and enjoyed it – but I’m wondering when Dad went and what he experienced there.)
Karen: Where else should we not go?
Dad: Well, you’re on the freeway. Any place from the freeway is fine. It’s easy to go anywhere from here.

Dad: Where are you taking me?
Karen: I thought we’d go south and see if we can see Rainier. It might be kind of hazy today, though. There’s a forest fire in Canada.
Dad: Rainier’s too far. Baker will be all clouded in today. (We pass a sign for LaConner.) Let’s go to the old waterfront part of LaConner.
Karen: You want to go to LaConner?
Dad: Yeah.

(As we’re driving through the countryside towards LaConner, Dad is taking note of what he sees.)
Dad: This area looks a lot like the midwest, except for the hills in the background.
(We pass a sign with a Dutch name on it and I point to it.)
Dad: Roozengarde – there’s a Dutch name. We could be driving through the Netherlands – except for the mountains in the background.

(We get to LaConner and Dad decides he wants to go to a museum. I’ve wanted to take Dad to the Skagit Historical Museum since he moved up here a year ago. Maybe today is the day this will happen. I drive to the museum and park maybe 30 yards from it. I don’t realize there are a lot of parking spaces closer to the museum, but, when I park where I park, 30 yards doesn’t seem like much of a walk. I am wrong. We unload Dad and his walker, and begin the walk to the museum. After about ten yards Dad says he needs to sit down, and we find a place for him to sit on a little wall.)

Karen: Let me go see if they have wheelchairs in there. Stay here. Are you alright?
Dad: (nodding) Okay.
(I go into the museum to see if they have wheelchairs. They don’t.  A rolling chair seems promising, though. I ask if I can use it to get Dad around, and Ann, the woman tending the counter, says sure. I bring the chair down to where Dad is sitting, and help Dad get into the rolling chair. A nice couple about to go into the museum approaches us to help. Steve says he can push Dad from the back, and Danielle guards Dad from the side, and I pick up Dad’s feet so they don’t drag on the concrete. When we get Dad inside he decides he wants to use his walker in there. He heads into the room that displays a history of technology.)
Dad: That looks just like my first car!
Karen: Your first car was a Model-T Ford?
Dad: Yeah. Model-T Ford. 1925.
(I am grinning now. I love that I’m walking through an historical museum with a walking piece of history. Dad is starting to get tired again, and we bring back the rolling chair for him to sit in. We head into the World War II exhibit. Dad served in the Coast Guard in World War II and he seems fascinated by what he sees in there. He notes that the Coast Guard doesn’t seem to be represented in there, but says that’s okay – the Coast Guard was more in the South Pacific, and this exhibit is more about the campaign in Europe.)

(Danielle, the woman who helped Dad earlier, approaches Dad to tell him she looked him up in Wikipedia and wants to thank him for his service during the war.  Dad thanks her and asks her if she was in the Coast Guard. Danielle says no, but her brother was. Dad likes that. I get a picture of Dad with Steve and Danielle. Dad asks me their names, and I introduce them. He shakes their hands. He has just met two new friends.)

(Dad is tired now. He’s ready to go home. With colossal effort he manages to use his walker to get himself back to the car – which I have now parked right next to the door.  He asks where we’re going now, and I tell him I’m going to get him a root beer float and then take him home. He nods his head in agreement. I stop for his root beer float.)
Karen: You really earned this one.
(Dad nods his head in complete agreement, and then we head to his home. Dad looks completely exhausted. He has sucked down his root beer float by the time we get to his place. I open the passenger door for him, and inch by inch he turns himself around in his seat.)

Dad: Every little movement takes so much energy now. And I need to rest after every movement. (He closes his eyes and sighs and leans back to rest for a few moments, before making another movement to get out of the car.) You have a doddering old Dad.
Karen:  No. I have a mountain-climbing Dad.
Dad: That was a long time ago. (He looks up at the house.) I think I’m going to take a little nap when I get in there.
Karen: I love you, Daddy. I’m proud to be your daughter.
Dad: I love you, too, and I’m proud to have you for a daughter.

Jenny with the Autumn Hair and Owen On His Bike

Another amazing autumnal day in Bellingham…

I had to capture a picture of Jenny with the autumn hair – she just looked so RIGHT walking down the path surrounded by fall colors. And sweet little Owen, riding bikes with his dad – a big grin on his face from start to finish – I had to capture that, too. Young Owen already has the key to happiness…

There’s a story here…

Saw this in our local cemetery – and there was just something really poignant about the Seahawks celebration on this grave – it touched my heart. I picture a much-loved grampa, sitting around a television with his family, watching the Seahawks play. Sharing the highs and the lows of Seahawks football. And then – a year before the Sehawks make it to the Superbowl – Grampa passes on. His family wants to celebrate with Grampa – wants to include him in the party – and they bring out the balloons and the pom poms and let Grampa be part of the party. Grampa would have loved this…