Since I was 17 years old, I have been coming to the Pacific Northwest to do soul searching. I remember arriving in Seattle on the Greyhound bus in March of 1994 for the first time, and I had been to a few other places in my life, but never anywhere close to the Pacific Northwest. At that time the farthest I had been from Utah was Sault St. Marie, Ontario Canada (and we took a train in Canada, but I can’t recall where we went to, but it was a good long ride, and beautiful). However I had never been north California on the West coast, and I had never been to Washington or Oregon. Despite that I had literally no reservations, no friends no work in Washington. When I got to Seattle I found access to day labor, passing out flyers, working at Pink Elephant car wash (strange and rewarding experience in itself), and within 2 months of being there I was getting paid to get signatures for petitions for medical marijuana. I was getting smoked out and getting paid some cents per signature. It wasn’t hard to get a bunch of signatures in Seattle for that. So I got paid a decent amount. I believe I was 18 by then, because I don’t recall having any problems cashing the check. I met a lot of like minded people. Musically minded people like my friend Charles, of the band “Fucko”, or my friend Yushi from a band I believe they went by Face Down, but he was in a few bands, he played bass and slung ink, and I was covered with some of his first work (which is actually my best work too, he was a natural tattooist).
I met and got engaged to four women, well, young women. But after spending enough time together, in time, we both realized we weren’t good for marriage. Long term commitment at 18/19 is really difficult. Or even 21/22.. But I always preferred the idea of monogamy, and to this date, have only ever practiced monogamy. So when dating got serious, it seems that one of us jumped the gun in a marriage proposal. It was never very eloquent I suppose. Just random banter, and “marriage this and that”, and lo and behold, I found myself engaged 4 different times before I met my wife. My wife and I fell quick. Made my head spin.
I was actually just writing on my website when we met, about how she had a photo of her holding a semi-auto rifle and being decked out in full camo. But I can not find that picture. She is beautiful though.
They were all PNW girls that I had a marriage arrangement before I met my wife in SLC. She was a transplant, but from white-bread Pocatello Idaho. Which was basically just like Utah, where I grew up for most of my life.
So it wasn’t hard to convince each other to go on a wild adventure together. Just, it has never stopped.
So many adventures. And yet, still right now I sit here in Washington. Without her.
This is the strangest feeling, and the most torn I have ever felt in my life. I love the PNW. She needs Hawaii. We both constantly talk about coming back to Seattle. But when it comes down to it, no place or thing can turn me from my destiny. Whatever it was that made my wife and I click 18 years ago, was the most moving thing that I have ever experienced in my life. More than Washington, more than singing in punk bands, more than a heart to heart with someone who needs it. The things that give me the biggest rush in life, can’t seem to compare to my lovely lady.
Sorry getting off on a tangent This blog is supposed to be comparing my two favorite places in North America. Which is Hawaii and Seattle. But I can’t help but think about what and where my lovely lady is.
Getting back to The Pacific North West. It is a very sentimental topic for me. Also, getting back to bands. There was “Blue Collar Love”, which my case worker at the Christian street ministry that I ate at played bass for. When I first arrived in Seattle when I was 17, there was a Street ministry on Summit Ave that fed kids between the ages of very young to probably 20 years old. Somewhere in that range. I remember calling them once when I was in a really desperate place, and I was probably 20, and they were able to help me. It was/is called New Horizons. They are in Belltown now. Chris, Mary, Liz, Ron, and then the woman and man Penny and Leroy (RIP) Babbitt who basically adopted me, invited me in to their family, and even to this day, I seem to have a place in that family. At least some very good friends to lean on, that were put in my life by God through this ministry.
Beyond my teenage years in the PNW, when I returned later after my first daughter was 2 or 3 years old. Which she was born in Colorado, but we made our way back through Utah first, and then to the PNW for several years.
And despite moving here and there, we kept coming back to the Pacific Northwest, owning and renting properties on the east side in Spokane, and north of Spokane on some very beautiful properties. One on Deer Lake, and for a while we had a horse ranch with a single horse in Deer Park Washington.
We owned our first boat in Tacoma Washington. When we first bought the Roanoke, this 80 year old beauty was sitting in a large slip in Point Defiance Washington. We were living and working for a man who owned a 4 million dollar home, and we had been there for 2 years.
But we never had an actual lease with him, because we were just trading work for a place to live. So we never got comfortable in the lakeside mansion in Bellevue, and when we found that beautiful twin V8 50′ cigar boat, she was sassy like prohibition itself. She was a floating speak easy. We had to have her! We had good times on that boat, we some amazing bands like Jug of Punch (traditional Irish band) and a hand full of signer/guitarists. We enjoy the Tall Ships festival multiple rotations. We very much enjoyed floating across the Puget Sound to visit some of the islands.
This reminds me, I need to track down some old photos. So this will be updated in the future.
It is true a lot of the same things that I love about the PNW, I also love about Hawaii. I meet a lot of Hawaiians here in the Seattle area. I think the two areas are very compatible, even with the vast differences between the two places.
Having a bit of both is a real blessing.
My wife and I also took our PADI dive classes in the PNW by an awesome instructor named Cindy, when we owned that boat. I got squeeze (sinus pressure and pain) really bad, and half way through Kim got pregnant. When this happened, Kim had a major desire to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and Washington Hospitals refused, and claimed it to be an insurance issue. So we ended up abruptly moving from Washington after being there for years, and we moved to Idaho, to be closer to family. That turned out to be a really terrible idea. We were in Idaho for 3 months before leaving. It goes beyond words. I’ll leave it at that.
I think the Asian influence, the honor system in a lot of ways, and the creative spirit of Seattle is what always draws me. Of course the beauty of the PNW is awesome. I love both the West and the East side in Washington and both climates are vastly different. Kind of like (but in different ways) the difference between Puna and Kona. Or the East and West side of the Big Island.
So as it stands, I love both Hawaii and the PNW equally but for different reasons, and also some of the same reasons. I wish distance wasn’t such an obstacle. But then again, I kind of appreciate how distance is an obstacle
I do worry about Hawaii sustainability a lot more than I worry about Washington’s economy. Hawaii is skating on thin ice, while depending on basically one fragile industry, which is tourism.
So there are pros and cons on both sides of the pond. I think I love Hawaii and Seattle equally but for different reasons.
I have promised myself that I would post 12 completed positive posts. My first one was yesterday with the post about Hawaii. This is the second one, about the Pacific Northwest. I will continue on past 12 potentially. However I will report the fact that I think are vital, whether the report is positive or negative, based on assessed necessity.
It feels good to just post thanks and gladness! Some times the world is too dark, and its time to count my blessings.