Walks with Sheba

Sheba is a little black cat with Amber Eyes.

As with most cats when she was young, she was feisty and adventurous spent long hours outside and committed Genocide on the local mouse population, I’m convinced they moved out of my old neighborhood because of her.

Then she got into a fight, a larger cat, grey, unkept and used to winning.

It’s been my experience, when cats lose a fight they change, they become more home bound, cautious.  Out of the 6 cats in my life, only one of those cats ruled the neighborhood, a medium sized Tortoise Shell with a huge attitude.  We called her Tootie ( short for Tuti Fruiti, this is what happens pets when little kids name their pets), one of my memories of Tootie was her going after the German Shepard across the street.  He was not timid and bullied some of the dogs and some of us kids. One day Tootie wasn’t having it.  They snarled at each other, then Tootie leaped onto his shoulders and dug in…… The German Shepard, surprised, started running down the street and Tootie hopped off halfway down, sat, licked her paws and watched him dart into a neighbor’s yard.

Tootie lived to the grand age of 22 and only because she succumbed to being hit by a Truck.

I moved to Burien last year, new neighborhood lots of new sounds and smells the house I live in came with stray cats 3-5 by our estimate.  And, there is a Grey cat, pretty good looking short haired guy that what we can tell, runs the neighborhood.  We call him Tom.

Sheba was chased and taught the rules during her 1st week. 

It’s a big yard, a couple of fruit trees in the back, 2 small greenhouses and a couple of storage sheds…. Lots of room for cats and 1 of the strays, we call her Ernestine lives comfortably under our back doorsteps.

Sheba and I love our Mornings. Summertime sometimes as early as 3:30 she lets me know its time to go out, Ill grab a cup of Tea and open the door, she steps out and looks back at me to make sure I follow.  I walk behind her, we go to the bushes that line the street, walk south, then around the house.  I keep my distance by about 10 ft or so.   She keeps and eye on me but doesn’t want to be petted in front of the strays.  Sometimes Tom peeks out from the Greenhouse, glares at each of us, determines he will stay away from me, pulls his head in. She sniffs bushes, cautiously walks the sidewalk, Ernestine greets us as we walk by (she’s friendly, but doesn’t want to be touched just fed) Sheba glares and wants nothing to do with her, I say good morning Earnestine and we continue on.

Our walks somedays take a half hour, sometimes I sit and watch her go around, when she’s done she comes and sits by me on the bench and we listen to the Owls do their last hoots of the night and the crows begin their day, we watch the sky get brighter, we listen to the neighbors starting cars while others take their dogs past us on leash and wave. 

Sheba watches it all, and watches me, I stay out as long as I can, when its time to go in, I just say, “Time to go sweety”. Sheba follows me up the steps.

Porch Lights

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

The Day had been overcast and the Clouds had now dissipated revealing so many stars, the sliver of the moon was hard to find.

I walked across the street towards the beach, my shadow from porch lights and window light shortened and disappeared as I reached the sand, dry sand is soft and firms up as you get closer to the waves, who were muffled and sounded deep.

I walked into the Pacific mist and kept walking towards those muffled waves and their slow rhythm, it was farther to the waves than earlier in the day, had to be Low tide.

I made the goal of walking to the edge of the waves; I like to touch bodies of water I visit. 

I looked behind me, back to the cabins that are rented out, no more porch lights or lights from windows, just blackness and mist, I closed my eyes and because it was so dark, there was no change in light, the waves felt louder now and completed their rumble with a fizz. I opened my eyes and was engulfed by the mist completely, there were no more stars, just the waves speaking over my breath. I walked farther and came to the edge of the water. I was farther away from anything than I had before.

I knelt and put my hand down. The wave came to my fingers, it was cold and soft almost like the mist around me.  I inhaled, I wanted to inhale the sound of the waves, then closed my eyes and there was no change in darkness.  My exhale was in treble, and the waves in bass.

I listed to my heart as it made its Duette with the waves.

I turned back to the cabin the waves behind me

I walked back in search of porch lights.

Pancakes with Father

Pancake Chef……. fathers day.
I dig finding old restaurant’s.
Not the ones that just have been around for a while, but the ones that are what they started out to be….. 
As a kid there seemed to be a number of Pancake Chefs around, some of the best times with my Dad was when we raced cars. Quarter Midgets, which are go karts with bodies, and race on a quarter mile oval track. Dad raced Midgets when he was a young man I understand was quite good. He was great mechanic and he loved racing as much as I did. He spent time with me explaining about passing, reading the track and the pack. He taught me about passing on the inside, and outside. As I got better, he taught me how to pace the pack and use them as I passed them to add distance between myself and the car behind me. We made a good team, 2nd in Nationals 1972. Our family would drive to Portland a few times a year and race at the Rose Dairy track there…. On the way we would stop at a Pancake Chef which was decorated much like this one…… being a couple decades old at that time, the restaurant was showing its wear then… worn plaid pattern Formica on the tables, country style chairs, pictures of WW2 and pendant lighting….. Muzak, and, oddly enough playing “Born Free”
We watched Born Free on a Sunday night, Living Room TV sitting on carpet in my pajamas, one of my first childhood heartbreaks was watching Elsa, wondering what can be done about human impact on the world and realizing not much.
This morning, Burien has a Pancake Chef, I ordered Eggs Benedict, enjoyed the fact that a pot of coffee was delivered with my water. Took in the old photos , plaid on Formica the table with worn spots to the brown underneath the pattern, Carpet had been replaced in the past decade, now silver 2″ mini blinds on the windows Muzak was playing “Born Free” with the link rail in the back ground, as the rail started to pull out, I thought of my dad. I was in my car being handed the checkered flag for a victory lap, I passed him and pointed the flag, he was grinning, shaking his head, I pulled into the pit with another won main event. Dad looking at me through his bifocals, sweat on his brow, helping me unbuckle my seat belt and pulling me into his arms, “Beautiful” Man, that was Beautiful” I inherited sweating from my dad I think…… I still remember how he smells.
I stirred a bit more sugar into my coffee and watched the train leave the station and begin to roll into town.

Transit Transients

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

Three afternoons a week 3rd and Pine is my bus stop to load Orca cards, I watch people come and go, and have come to regard this as “the Parade”. Friday as I arrived a homeless man had been sleeping on the sidewalk for a reported 3 hours, a puddle of Urine had started to leak out from beneath his pack….I called it in , a supervisor arrived and let me know they had moved this guy earlier that day.
At the crosswalk another man was pushing his wheel chair that had run out of power, I ran over to help him out of the street .. he had been pushing it for a few blocks with no where to plug it in to get a quick charge and no one helped him, as I got him off the street he was so out of breath he could hardly speak, I pushed his chair to his shelter… The Police and Aid cars were busy at the McDonalds entrance with a person that overdosed…..
There were a small herd of pigeons picking at food droppings, one of the smaller ones only had a stump for a leg, no foot and painfully hobbled, came across a crumb and was pushed away by a bigger healthier pigeon….
A retired couple from Czechoslovakia asked me for directions to the Museum of Flight…… they loved Alaska and were looking forward to seeing more of Seattle until they flew into New York to visit relatives……… A woman of plus 70 with a cane gave a young 20s girl some kind of muffin from her bag….. Young lovers met there after work embraced as though it had been days, a bicyclist with a speaker turned up too loud rode by too fast bumped a young mans pack, skidded to a stop and apologized…… another man that resembled the guy that plays aqua-man had a huge Newfoundland, black with paws larger than my hands were getting attention and praise…….
a Seagull dropped his mark next to a small group of Chinese women that made them laugh as they stepped back…..
This was about 45 mins on Friday.

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

Mission

He’s either foolish, or really good with that thing

As I took a right to continue down 3rd to reach Main street, a younger Asian male, 35-40 on a sport wheel chair, the kind used for track or basketball, the wheels are angled, he was gloved as he sped the wheels down the hill and passed me, this was the first time I had seen this man and as I watched him go down the hill and check the 4 way stop intersection and pass through without stopping, then aim at an access corner and pass an ill placed dumpster at something like 25 mph I thought he’s either foolish or really good with that thing… I hope he doesn’t go to my stop. The stop is by the Mission, usually quite a bit of dysfunction there, through the years, the Missions reputation has had its up and downs, I give them kudos for hanging in there and doing what they can.

Earlier in the week, at the corner of 3rd and Pike as I loaded Orca cards, across the street from me, a young blond girl that seemed too skinny, struggled while walking with her 2 pair of shoes, her lace up heals wrapped around tight jeans, with the heals sideways dragging on the street to the outside of each foot wearing tennis shoes, ever see that video of the husky wearing shoes? This is how she moved. 
Behind her, an older man in at least his 70’s , long hair and long beard, worn jeans that sagged way down, not so whitey tidies……. He was bent forward with his butt against the building, rubbing it up and down, drooling, He had a white T shirt that appeared to not have been laundered for a while.
The blond started to cross the street towards us, buses slowed and let her go, her movements were reptilian. Think of the Chicken picking its way through the yard. She reached our stop and as people were moving out of her way and looking anywhere else, she arrived at the solar powered trash compactor, there were a couple of donuts laying at the foot of it, sun dried and pecked by pigeons then left in a crumbly pile, she reached down and broke off a piece and pecked at what she had, her blankness expression was breath taking, she then headed north up the street. 
Back at the Stop by the Mission, I pulled in and indeed the Young Asian male was there waiting, as I opened my doors he ordered, “ I don’t need the ramp, just lower, and stay in your seat…. You drive, I’ll take care of myself” I wasn’t sure at first how to react, I was concerned about not lowering the ramp as there might be some law or regulation that would put my job at risk… I decided to pay him the respect and not lower the ramp. I tilted the bus anticipating what he might do. I was just a couple inches above the curb, he tilted his chair back and pushed/hopped into the bus, handled the corner, tilted back the chairs and strapped his chair in…. 2 or 3 times quicker than I had seen it done before. I raised the bus and pulled out.
I saw him again today, same stop, he hopped on secured himself in, when we reached his stop a West Seattle Library, I lowered the bus and he hopped off and said “ have a good day bro” “enjoy the weather” I replied as I closed the doors.