And Then There is My Brother, Pat!

Saturday morning with the sun barely up, I was awaken by my cell phone ringing. I struggled out of bed, found the phone and said hello. A cheery voice greeted me with, “Mary! It’s Pat!” I asked what time it was and I could tell Pat was taken aback. “What time is it?………What?………ARE YOU IN SEATTLE??”, he says. Pat knew I was going to Seattle but just didn’t know exactly when. As it turned out, it was 7:15 am in Seattle so it wasn’t too bad. I was glad he did not decide to call me at 7:15 am MN time! We had a nice visit, with Pat telling me that our sister, Betsy, got a new $600,000 RV but he was not supposed to tell anyone so please do not tell anyone.

Out in the kitchen the cooks were at work. Remember that leftover crab? Joni made the more delicious crab cakes for breakfast! She told me how she made them and, if I had regular access to fresh crab, I’d get that recipe written down. The crab cakes with a fried egg with Will’s homemade hollandaise sauce over the top made for the yummiest breakfast ever!

I put myself together for the day’s event; The Fishermen’s Terminal Festival! We were over to the Fishermen’s Terminal on an earlier Seattle visit and I cannot say enough about this place. I am always so moved by the symbolic nature of the memorial. Here in MN we do not even think about the commercial fishing industry. We don’t think about how dangerous that way of life is. We don’t think about those families who’s loved ones go out to sea and just disappear, never to be seen or heard from again. So it’s good for me when I get a time to think about what heartache others go through.


But today was a Festival and time for fun! Someone wisely thought about how, with so little parking around the Terminal and a festival going on, we would probably end up parking farther away than if we just walked over there. It isn’t very far from the house so we walked over to the Terminal.

There were a lot of games for the kids and they had a crate of ice with dead fish displayed. There was a fish with both eyes on the same side of its head so it could lay on its side and still see with both eyes…………if it weren’t dead. There was a little stingray and a baby octopus. Joni had to feel the octopus and those sucker things on its 8 little legs. YUK! There were booths for various organizations with literature, brochures, and people to tell you about the clubs.
We took a tour of the commercial fishing boat you see behind these festival goers.

At the festival

If you don’t have any claustrophobic issues, just try getting on that boat once. It had the wheelhouse on top of the deck. We climbed down a ladder to the cabin underneath. Boy, was that cramped! It had a small kitchen, table with benches, swinging cots on top of each other, and bathroom. I am never going to complain about my bed again. I don’t remember how many days the boat goes out for, but I would last only a few hours in there. And I don’t know how many crew members they jammed on to it. There was another ladder going further down into the engine room. I did not venture down there.

When we got off that boat, we walked across the pier and took a little silly ride in another boat. Now that boat was smaller and we, along with two other families, had to sit down where the fold up beds were. We could not see much and could not hear the Captain who was explaining things.

First the bad news. What does one do when they cannot see nor hear anything on a boat ride? They busy themselves with other things. Now everyone knows that nice lady in town who gets old and turns into a critical, judgemental, old biddy with an opinion of everything/everyone. It is quite sad to learn that I have turned into “that lady”.

As I mentioned, we sat down in the little boat compartment with 2 other families. Each family had a boy about 3 or 4 years old. Father #1 hoisted his son up on a bench so he could get his head through an open hatch, look around, feel the breeze, and see the shoreline as we boated along. Upon seeing this, Son #2 wanted to do the same thing so Son #1 and Father #1 moved over and gestured for Son #2 to come on up. Well, Father #2 had his face and hands glued to his cell phone and told his son “NO”. Really? Father #2 did not even look at his son to say “no”. I could not believe that this guy had taken his son to the Festival (supposedly to have fun) and now he could not be bothered! One cannot do these 2 things at one time. You either take your son to a festival, interact with him, ask him questions about what he sees, discuss things, etc. or YOU STAY HOME! Why pretend you and your son are having a fun time together when you are not totally present and participating in the fun? I started complaining to Joni about this dad’s behavior saying all of the above to her. Joni was kind enough not to say to me, “Is this any of our business?” She said the guy was playing Pokeman. I know Pokeman is very important to players and there are just certain opportunities to capture the Magic Harp and catch the Blue Muffin, etc. but as every parent knows, “the kids come first and the Magic Harp and Blue Muffin (your wants) come second.” So that’s the bad news. I behaved quite poorly on the boat ride.

Now the good news. This whole operation, getting people on the boat and safely back to shore, was conducted by the SEA SCOUTS. Sea Scouts is a division of the regular Boy Scouts of America and teachs kids the usual leadership, service to others, and citizenship. However, Sea Scouts is open to girls as well as boys and teachs all skills associated with water. Boy Scouts have “troops” and Sea Scouts have “ships”. While our Boy Scouts are at Camp Wilderness learning camping and hiking skills, the Sea Scouts are having sailing regattas and going on boat cruises. While our Scouts are earning a badge in Rifle Shooting, the Sea Scouts are earning a badge in Scuba Diving. While our Scouts are getting lost in the Boundary Waters, Sea Scouts have actually drown on their boating adventures.

It was nice to interact with the Sea Scout teenagers and be a part of helping them practice their boating skills. They were all having a wonderful time, greeted us, did the casting off and tying up when we returned to the pier. We had a tall girl tying up the bow (that’s the front part) of our boat. It occurred to me that she did not look very powerful, but she certainly managed to pull the boat in and tie the rope to the …………thing………….the hook thing. As we got off the boat, many of the Scouts were sitting down at a table to have lunch. What a wonderful enjoyable activity for these kids………………who could have been down under the bridge dealin’ drugs with the homeless community. Or worse yet (or not) having their faces glued to a cell phone, walking around knocking old people down as they hunted for that Magic Wand thing we were talking about earlier. And there I go again -old judgemental biddy! Best to go on to the next topic.

Joni is so good to her mother-in-law. I insisted that she get into this life raft.

Life raft

As her motivation, I told her that I want to make a new movie, Broken II -the Story of the First Woman to Survive a Record 263 Days in a Life Raft Alone at Sea. I just do not know about this. By the look on Joni’s face…………..well, she looks almost happy about being alone at sea for a record 263 days. Maybe that is her “I’ve been alone at sea a record 263 days in this life raft and I’m getting really, really bored now” look? I think I’ll put my movie project on the back burner for now.

From this point on, we should have taken more pictures but we didn’t so I’ll just have to describe things and you will have to “visualize” (another important asset in the movie making business).
As we walked along the pier, I noticed a beautiful bouquet of orange gladeolias under the Fishermen’s Memorial but we are not going down that sad road again.


They had full body lifesaving suits laid out. They looked like this.

Survival suit

They were going to have swimming races with people in those suits diving into that killer freezing water and trying to swim across to the next pier. Either the first person to reach the pier or the last person who survived would be declared the winner. Will said that last year they put a guy in one of those suits, put him in a cattle trough, filled it with ice, and stood by timing him to see how long it took him to turn purple and pass into unconsciousness. That event was canceled this year without explanation.

We watched the salmon filleting contest and the lutefisk eating contest was scheduled for later. Each contestant got 1/2 pound of lutefisk and whoever could eat it the fastest was the winner. I guess I’ve seen lutefisk eating contests before. Just did not realize that that’s what I was seeing. It occurred every Christmas Eve when Eldon’s Uncle Gerald passed up the mashed potatoes, lefse, white sauce, and filled his plate with lutefisk. Many times he started eating it on his way to a table. Well, I think he had it gone before he got to actually sitting down at the table. I did not see it for myself, but I have a hard time believing that any Seattle fisherman is going to out-lutefisk-eating- race any Minnesota Norwegian!

Just for your information, we were at the Terminal on Sept. 24th. Here is what was going on there exactly a week before we went there.

Capsized boat

I saw no evidence of this mishap and nobody said, “Oh, about that boat the Sea Scouts operate………..” Additionally, as some of you know, my brother, Pat, and sister, Betsy, write grants so fire departments can get funds for needed fire fighting equipment. I wonder if they have ever gotten money so a fire department could buy one of these nice fire fighting boats? It’s an idea just in case departments run out of ideas as to how to spend OUR TAX DOLLARS! If we have this kind of need, we have to pull someone’s duck hunting boat over to the lake, unload it and then the firemen can get out there and find a person, put a boat fire out, etc. Seattle has actual whole fire departments located right on the water. They probably don’t even have a truck in the entire department.

It is time for our break and we’ll pick up with the next Festival activity tomorrow.

Continue on to part 5

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