Sunday, August 23, 2015

Seattle & Port Townsend & Beautiful People

I am so thankful and grateful to my family in Seattle and Port Townsend, Washington, What a fantastic time in the great northwest with truly amazing people. Dean and Dan are my dad’s cousins, therefore, Samuel and my second cousins.  They are married to Jan and Vicky, respectfully. Dean and Jan live just north of the traffic-crazy city of Seattle, and Dan and Vicky live in the picturesque city of Port Townsend, a half an hour ferry ride away from Dean and Jan.

This trip was the first time any of us have really met — the Owen side of the family has a family reunion every two years, so while we all have technically met, it was a long time ago and not real impressionable. I wasn’t sure how it all was going to work as we walked to meet Jan at the airport, but I was open to many scenarios.

Jan and Dean are beautiful people. Jan calls their modest and lovely home the Dog House because she cares for and rescues dogs from all walks of life. During our stay, I met seven of her canine loves, one of which padded around the house in a doggy diaper (scent-spray control issues). Three of my favorites: two golden doodles named Floyd and Rosie and a standard dachshund named Johnson! Haha, owners with a good sense of humor. We transported Floyd, Rosie, and Johnson in Jan's dog car, aka an old station wagon whose back end was doggy-transport-fitted with a big, flat, and soft doggy mattress. They hung their heads out the window, laid on their backs, and overall had a great time.

Dean gets up before the sun during the week. He works at a golf course, which we got a peek at as we drove to go sailing. I liked hearing about his work - he is a design and repair genius. He creates and works with his hands, expertly, for a living. He and his friend Paul have been together for thirty-five years, if I remember correctly, and they have been sailing together for most of that time. One of my favorite things about that sailing outing was watching and listening to those two be so in sync with each other. On sailing boats and on conversation.

Dean and Jan's three granddaughters’ time overlapped with ours and we ate homemade coffee cake and steamed broccoli for breakfast, home-smoked salmon for dinner, jumped on the trampoline, and saw the major (The Space Needle! The Locks!) and minor (Reversible Expressway Lanes!) sights together. Dean and Jan's knowledge of the Seattle and the surrounding area is passionate and involved. I loved listening to them talk about the geography, politics, and personal histories of the area. We got along so well; they are the kind of human beings that fill me up to the top - life as it is was enough. The world is screwy but overall good. Hard work and true friendship and undeniable love for another person are for real. 

Our time with Dan & Vicki was a delight. Dan and Vicki are beautiful people. I won't soon forget walking off the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry past a bearded fellow to wave at someone who was not waving at me. Dan was the bearded fellow and he led us to his cute little "green bean" car, a green Kia Soul. We drove to and visited many beaches, several lighthouses, and a submarine museum that day. I felt older, because while Samuel dozed off and on in the back, I was interested and excited about all the information Dan rattled off. Not so long ago, I would not have been bored, but I would have listened out of obligation.

Vicki bikes to and works part-time at the local pharmacy. The pharmacy is named Don's Pharmacy, and Don the pharmacist was on vacation when we visited. Things were kind of crazy there, as things get when the boss is gone. Dan asked her why she even works there then. Vicki responded that she asks herself that very question almost every day. I liked the way they spoke to each other and how they addressed different topics. They were high school sweethearts and didn't bother sugar-coating anything.

We ate the most delicious food with Dan and Vicki. Fresh lox, fish tacos, freshly dug-up clams, homemade crab dip, and Papa Murphy's pizza because we were there on pizza night. I tried a new frozen treat at the popular Elevated Ice Cream. Coconut Italian ice is very similar to ice cream in that it's creamy; however, it's completely dairy-free. Beyond eating and sighting seeing and getting a feel for the area, we took it easy, watching two submarine movies - Das Boot, a terribly stressful and spectacularly grave German film, and U-571 which stars Matthew McConaughey and Bill Paxton.

Dan and Vicki dropped us off "at the butt-crack of dawn" at the Bainbridge Ferry. This ferry would drop us off in downtown Seattle, a fifteen minute walk from the Amtrak Train Station. Dan was less than enthusiastic about the early hour and sat in car while Vicki got out and gave us hugs and kisses on the cheek.

Family is a pretty incredible thing. I am so grateful to Dean and Jan and Dan and Vicki. They made my trip to the state of Washington about conversation and risk and fun. It is easy when I travel alone to become entitled and business-like. I see the sights I want to see, and I tend not to interact as freely with people. But this trip, it was about more than my personal desires. My brother was with me and we had these amazing cousins to be with. I still think about the exchanges I had with Dean and Jan, a few of which took place on their trampoline in the backyard. I look back at our time with Dan and Vicki with terrific fondness for how they live and how they shared that with us, no hesitations.

I felt closer to my dad, too. Dean and Dan are his cousins, and it was a bit unsettling how much Dean, Dan, and Dad look alike. How they speak alike and how they move alike. I called my dad and tried to explain this, but he jumped right into a lecture about some transportation politics (he's a Mobility Manager in Wisconsin, a state that could have had a high speed rail in the works). Let me compliment you, man! Then again, that's my dad, and, it turns out, a bit of an Owen Family trait. Family, family. It's a neat thing. 

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