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Naval History; Wet Shorts; A Lost Award; Coffee Kiosks; America’s Deadliest Bingo

We are now in rainy Bremerton, Washington, across Puget Sound from Seattle. Bremerton is a Navy town, and even here in the Elks Lodge is a reminder of this town’s naval history. I stopped to admire this beautiful mural-sized photo from 1907 of part of the Navy’s Great White Fleet. These battleships/armored cruisers included USS Washington, USS California and USS Tennessee. The photo was obviously taken on a clear day, since the snow-capped peaks are quite visible and stunning. Clear days in this area occur at least once a year… but maybe it was more common back in ought seven… 

For a year or so (1999-2000), we lived in Navy quarters on a cliff overlooking Bremerton Naval Shipyard. Our house had been built about a hundred years earlier, but renovated over the years and was very comfortable. We took a stroll through our old neighborhood on base, and aside from a few minor changes, it looked much the same as 13 years ago when we moved back east.  

My Lovely Bride wanted to get a run in today before her hair salon appointment. It had only rained 17 different times over a 6 hour period today, which was actually a dramatic improvement over the past 5 days’ weather. She said, “Look at the radar and pick a warm, sunny 30 minutes for our four miler.”  In Seattle, that’s like saying, “Ty, go buy a $1 lottery ticket so we can become millionaires.” But who am I to protest? So off we go, and literally as we were about to turn around at the half-way point, here comes the Mother of all Rainstorms. Even worse, the temperature dropped from a lovely 72F to about 52F in three minutes, with a brutal 20 kt wind in our (wet) faces. (We were only wearing shorts and light nylon singlets.) By the time we returned to The Coach, we were soaked and pretty tired. I think I heard her say something like, “Some weatherman you are!” but I can’t be sure, since I was shivering so hard my hearing was badly affected. This photograph of the woods next to our campsite gives you an idea of how green everything is here… the huge ferns and lush undergrowth prove it…  and they do not need sprinklers here at all. Ever. 

After getting her locks trimmed, The Commander asked to go visit her old turf. We drove a few miles down the road to the Bangor Submarine Base, where Suzanne had been Commanding Officer of a shore-based command. We looked around and chatted for awhile with the Chief Petty Officer who was serving as the Command Duty Officer (CDO). Then we drove over to the gym to see if Suzanne’s award for the most push-ups and sit-ups by a woman was still on the wall. At age 38, she held that record for the two years she was stationed here, but alas, no awards at all were posted. It’s probably that way, like in many civilian schools around the country, so that underachievers don’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem… (Okay, I’d better drop my potential lecture about competition, natural selection, survival of the fittest, etc. Maybe we should cancel the Olympics, but then Nike, Adidas and NBC would complain… Sigh…)

Anyone who has lived in the Pacific Northwest is familiar with the ubiquitous coffee and espresso kiosks on many street corners and in every strip mall. We visited one near our former residence in Seabeck, WA, right on the Hood Canal. Turie’s Seabeck Espresso has fabulous coffee and scrumptious-looking pastries (not sampled because we had just had lunch). Flower boxes and hangers compliment the waterfront view. The owner, Turie, is a Seabeck native and is of Norwegian ancestry, as are many of the locals here. The nearby town of Poulsbo, in fact, has a statue of a Viking and a Norwegian-themed town center, complete with one of the most repulsive meals on the planet Earth, Lutefisk. (“Ty, don’t you dare barf in this blog!”) 

Just outside of Turie’s was a pick-me-up truck with a unique hood ornament… a rooster complete with a cock-a-doodle-do horn. The local guy driving the truck was more than happy to have his rooster sing for us. 

I almost made a fatal mistake tonight. I had walked into the Bremerton Elks Lodge to register for another night in their delightful RV Park. The office was closed, and in most Lodges the bartender takes your nightly donation. While waiting at the bar for the lady to finish what she was doing, I observed the bingo caller pulling balls, calling the numbers, and posting them on the lighted board. He had just called the seventh number. As the bartender was finishing her task, I jokingly said, “What would happen if I yelled ‘Bingo!’ just for fun?” She looked at me with disdain and said flatly, “You wouldn’t make it out of here alive.” 

But it got worse. As I stood there, I felt a ripple of angst and anger roll through the audience. One woman said loudly, “What happened to B14?” Another said, “Yeah, B14, what’s the story?” A final authoritative voice said, “You pulled B14, looked at it, and didn’t call it. Fix it.” The caller flushed red and said, “Ladies and gentleman, I apologize. I did pull B14 and forgot to call it aloud and post it on the board. B14…” You could tell that the crowd wouldn’t be satisfied until the poor caller was hanged, drawn and quartered, and his entrails pulled tightly around his throat… another guy at the bar stated (not quite sotto voce… in fact, loud enough to hear for about 50 feet), “I called this game for 13 years and have never heard of anything so dumb.” (I wanted to say something like, “Dude, lighten up… this is only bingo, after all…” but I knew my life was on the line, so I meekly snuck out the back before someone said, “Hey, who is that guy without cards and an official red ink card stamper… let’s tar and feather him!”)   

1 Comment

  • Jennifer
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Some interesting days you are having!

    Cute coffee kiosk. What a cozy place to work…


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