No More Secrets

What happened?

What finally happened that it was suddenly OK to out a powerful person like Harvey Weinstein and expose his abuse of power and the sexual depravity that so many women have to endure silence?

It doesn’t matter. This is a great thing.

Unbelievable behavior has been going on for decades. There have been payoffs. There were threats. Careers were ruined. Others, spared for favors.

But that’s Hollywood, right? The home of the casting couch. Where sexual harassment and assault are “just part of the process.”

No more.

It’s with heartbreak I read story after story of what actresses and models have endured for the sake of not having their careers crushed by powerful men. But now, they’re finally fighting back and I’m cheering them on.

The current “let’s put an end to sexual harassment and abuse” campaign has spread outside of Hollywood and has become a powerful wake-up call to me and hopefully millions of men.

Last Sunday, the #metoo campaign was given a boost by Alyssa Milano and it spread like wildfire. Sadly, for good reason. If a woman had been victims of sexual harassment or abuse in their lifetimes, they were encouraged to post #metoo. Practically every woman I have as a friend on Facebook joined in. Some hesitated, because they didn’t want people to know or didn’t want to relive it. Others have used it as a light to show us it’s far from OK. In fact, it hasn’t been for a long time. Hopefully, this is where we finally start to change things.

If you know me, you know I’m a goofball. I keep it light and have a hard time being serious. (apparently, except when I blog) I have this deep-rooted need to make people smile or laugh. Looking back over the years, I never, ever intentionally sexually harassed anyone. At least, in my mind.  I’m playful, flirty at times, but only with people I felt close to.

The #metoo campaign has me re-thinking and that’s when change begins. It has shed light on something that wasn’t said before to the masses–that being sexually harassed or assaulted has been more the rule, than the exception.

My hat is off to the women who have bravely stepped forward to tell their story with the hope that things will change and that, hopefully, others won’t have to go through it.

KING 5 News Anchor Amity Addrissi bravely told her story.

A Facebook post by a former co-worker was the real tipping point for me. I mean, for God’s sake, I never knew that had happened to her. I felt incredible sadness and anger as I read her story while realizing that she had been living with this all the time I’ve known her. She is one of the brightest, nicest, just deep-down people I know. Here’s her story:

#Metoo.

When I was in high school, I was held down and raped by two drunk/high boys from school. To complicate matters, one of them was actually my boyfriend. For YEARS afterwards, I was in denial that this was even rape — that’s how brainwashed our culture is. Since I didn’t scream at the top of my lungs, since I didn’t bite and punch and kick, since I didn’t physically fight back with ALL MY FORCE, this was clearly my fault, right?

I did try to shove them off, I repeatedly asked them to stop, I cried, I tried to squirm out of their grip as the pinned me down. But, again, I didn’t fight back with all my force, so it wasn’t REALLY rape, right? (SMH)

I kept dating that boy for a long time afterward, mainly due to feelings of low self-worth. This incident had a long-lasting impact on my life. An impact that is still very much felt. It kicked off a long-lasting bout of depression, decreased my belief in my value as anything more than an object, fostered an ambivalence toward life, and worst of all, gave me intimacy issues that continue to this day.

Now I wonder, how I ever could have thought this wasn’t even rape. I was A CHILD. I was raped. I never said anything. What is WRONG with this world?

I’m not glad to have had this experience, but I am happy to add to the growing #metoo lexicon.

And one last thing. Don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve grown past it. But do join me in my outrage.

Story after story, #metoo after #metoo, from friends and relatives, knocked the wind out of me. That we’ve been silent as a society as long as we have been seems inconceivable. How could we have side-stepped this issue all the way until 2017?

The New York Post put a brighter spotlight on Hollywood’s past, which was notorious. Give this a read and you’ll see what I mean. Harassment and assault were not publicly accepted, but even worse: they were privately ignored. Power corrupts and Harvey Weinstein used his power in the most corrupt way. His attacks on women were widely known, but remained a poorly kept secret.

As for the impact on my ground zero, this forced me to come to the realization that there were most likely several times in my life when I inadvertently harassed someone. Something I viewed as playful might have been very disturbing to a victim of previous harassment or assault. They had been wronged in their life and I was reminding them of that incident or incidents. For that, I hope they will accept my apology.

I have many, many female friends and acquaintances and to you, I’d like to humbly ask that if I ever do anything that goes beyond your comfort zone, you tell me, “Tim, you’re crossing a line.” Your friendship means too much to me. And it’s long, long overdue to establish a no toleration policy.

My wife and I have talked about her #metoo story. I know it still hurts because we tried watching “Mad Men” and the sexual harassment that was part of that era and part of that show still made her uncomfortable. She had lived it.

I have my own #metoo stories. There was the bar manager in Yakima who groped me one night out of the blue. I’m talking full-out grabbing-my-crotch, claiming he accidentally tripped into me.  Yeah, right. Close friends have heard me tell the tale of the famous singer who invited me to his hotel room, gave me wine and then asked if I would take a bath with him.  Now, I am NOT bringing this up to say, “I understand.” I don’t.  I really don’t know what you went through  and I don’t know how people can use power to harass or assault people and then sleep at night. What kind of human beings are they?

It’s my hope that all those who suffered in silence now feel empowered enough to either raise their voices or at least call out something when it happens. There can be no more Harvey Weinsteins. The problem isn’t anything new. But it’s time for it to go away.

We’ve hit the breaking point. We’ve had enough. We’re going to do something about it. All of us need to make this a priority, no exceptions, no excuses. This hidden tradition of sexual harassment and assault ends now.

It’s time to step up for our wives, our sisters, our daughters and generations to come.

No more secrets.

Tim Hunter

Hug ‘Em While You’ve Got ‘Em

You may have gotten up this morning and had a slightly stiff neck you’re going to have to deal with all day. Maybe later, you’ll accidentally spill coffee in your car, some jerk will open up his door into your car or your boss is in an uber-bad mood.

Life is loaded with ups and downs. We think things like the above-mentioned challenges are ‘downs’. Actually, they’re just part of life.

For every dropped glass there’s a beautiful sunset. For each time you do battle with a cold there’s the giggle of a baby that makes you smile. The key is to focus on the goods and just let the bads pass. At least, that’s always been my philosophy. Live is balance.

I look back on my high school days as jam-packed with lot of goods. I managed to win over the girl of my dreams (at the time, they were young dreams), played basketball, had some great friends, did the popularity thing–it was just all in all a great experience for me.

Among the good ones I met along the way was Mike Duarte. Mike was just a solid guy and while we didn’t hang around often, whenever he saw me, he’d say hi. We’d exchange pleasantries. He was a super-athlete. Mike was a 3-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball with intensity. I still remember that husky voice and chiseled good looks. You could just tell this guy was going places and had a bright and beautiful future ahead.

So it didn’t surprise me when I heard later at a reunion that he had gone into law and was taking on the L.A. gangs. These days, he’s the Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. I understand that he and his wife Barbara have a couple of kids: Mikey, who picked up dad’s athletic jeans and is now in the Chicago White Sox farm system, and a beautiful daughter, Christiana, who goes by the name Chrissy. She was a recent graduate of the University of Arizona and had just landed a job in the marketing department of the L.A. Kings.

Both kids, just like their father, seemed to have a tremendous future ahead. But Chrissy’s life will remain forever frozen in time. She will always be 22. Her incredible smile, the playful pictures she took, the singing voice some friends were lucky enough to hear was silenced. Chrissy was one of the 58 victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.

I haven’t spoken to Mike in decades but it’s just heart-breaking to see something so tragic happen to a family of really good people. It just eats me up that this tragedy will become the latest high-water mark for a deranged mind in the future who will feel the need to randomly shoot even more innocent people. The gun debate will be revived for a short time, it will fade away and nothing will be done to make our world safer. We’ll all just wait for the next event, which continue to get progressively worse, praying we won’t lose a family member in the process.

There will come a tipping point when people feel enough is enough. The gun debate is a war of extremes.  As more and more people lose their children, their family members and their futures to senseless gun violence, there will be a solution. I just wish we’d get there sooner than later. I would think that if you have loved ones, you’d have a pressing desire to make simple things like going to a country music concert non-life threatening.

I can’t imagine the horror of what the Duarte family is going through, but it’s amazingly easy to think of how many ways that tragedy could have been prevented.

Last Thursday, the LA Kings honored Chrissy by having all the players wear CD helmet stickers.

There is a GoFundMe campaign to help the Duartes with all the expenses involved in burying a daughter that was taken from them way too soon.

Another senseless act serving as a reminder: hug ’em while you’ve got ’em.

Tim Hunter

                                                                     

 

 

The Greatest Concert Ever

Everyone’s going to have an opinion on this one. What’s the greatest concert you’ve ever attended? Which concert set the standard as the one to beat for all future experiences?

Going into last Saturday night, I’d have to say the Paul McCartney show I caught at Safeco Field a couple of years ago was the high-water mark. It’s still up there. The 70+-year-old McCartney put his heart and soul into his performance, playing songs that covered most of my lifetime. It sounded like he was having fun, that he “still had it” and then, bringing out the two surviving members of Nirvana for an encore of Helter Skelter was the cherry on top.

Last weekend, my wife and I went to catch The Classic, as it was billed. An evening with the Doobie Brothers and The Eagles. I have to admit, during the weeks prior to the concert, my enthusiasm was fading. I had always wanted to see the Eagles, but now that Glenn Frey was gone, were they still The Eagles? Or, like so many touring bands out there, a few original members augmented by a bunch of studio musicians.

It didn’t help that I started seeing Groupon offers of tickets for $35 for this event, after I had ponied up $125 plus screw-you fees for each of our seats. The weather was starting to get fall-like, so that meant we could be outside, being cold, a million miles away from the stage and we could spend an evening regretting we had committed to this night.  Besides, we had caught the Doobies a couple of summers back and while they were pleasantly surprising, energetic and fun, we probably were going to see just the same old thing.

Add to that, we had caught a Don Henley concert and a Joe Walsh concert at the winery in recent years. I like to say we saw the Eagles, just in pieces. All to say, my expectations were pretty low.

And then, the show began.

It ended up being one of the greatest concerts ever. From any standpoint. Now, to explain why they may have knocked Sir Paul out of my number one spot:

The Doobie Brothers–They came to play, they did the hits, had some fun with some deep album cuts and rocked us all down Memory Lane. They showed up on the music scene during my high school years and I played their music on the radio in the earlier years of my broadcast career.  Tom Johnston, founding member and one of the two main voices of the group, delivered big-time. The Doobie Brothers were pretty much with me throughout the 70s and 80s, and they were back tonight in great form. Yes, no Michael McDonald, but he was later-Doobies. They had other members cover his hit songs and it was just fine. The sing-along version of “Listen to the Music” at the end was a great way to wrap it up.  GRADE: A

The Eagles–There are so many ways this could have been disappointing. Like I said, with Glenn Frey gone, would some of the songs just be cover versions of his hits? That was the big question and it was answered right away, when Joe Walsh introduced Deacon Frey, Glenn’s son, to sing of those songs. You could see Glenn in his face and could hear him in his voice.

But the Eagles doubled-down and brought along country legend Vince Gill to tackle some of those Frey vocals and he nailed it. So now, I’m watching the friggin’ Eagles, but it’s like the Eagles on steroids. They played around with some of the songs, slightly tweaking the melody, keeping it fresh, not just regurgitating. But I noticed, after introducing the young Frey, Joe Walsh kind of laid back. He offered harmonizing vocals, but mostly hung out on the right side of the stage, and just blended in. Being a solo act, I was impressed he could be a team player like that.

It was all part of the plan, because at one point, the band started playing “Life’s been good.” That’s Joe’s song, not the Eagles. But like he was helping round out the Eagles, they returned the favor. Then another Joe Walsh song. And another. It was a concert, within a concert, with psychedelic video and all kinds of fun thrown in. The crowd was loving it.

They went back to Eagles songs, wrapped it up, came out and did an encore, wrapped it up again and gave us one more encore. Wow. From the time the music started (and, on time, at 7pm–when was the last time you remember that happening) the groups took us all the way until 11pm. Most of four hours of great music, great memories and feeling like I had shared a very special experience with a bunch of other fans. GRADE: A++

Those are my reasons for putting this event in serious contention for the Greatest Concert Ever. I’ve got a few more years of reviews to get in, but this one has already secured a spot in my Final Three.

Tim Hunter

Hey, look at that!

So, I’ve managed to eek out a living somewhere along the line by noticing things, and then twisting them around so that they smack of comedy.

For example, I recently saw a news story that told of a new study that claimed “playing tackle football before the age of 12 could lead to brain issues.”

I don’t know about that. I played before I was 12 and cheese.

You see what I did there? I took the existing story. Looked for how you could twist it–what’s a universal truth?–and I went with, well, duh, you’d get brain damage–and so I thought, since I’m telling the story and I claimed I played before the age of 12–if I HAD brain damage (and the jury’s still out) so I would say something non-sensical, like “cheese”. I could have said walnuts, beans or prunes, but the word, “cheese” stuck in my head. Thanks, Ken Carson.

So, while observing is a key tool in crafting comedy, it’s also true of life. I’m always watching for details and then, when I notice something, I like to take note and pass it along to whoever might benefit from it. If I had traveled down a road with a giant pothole and I knew you were going down that same road, why wouldn’t I warn you? You would enjoy the benefit of my experience and observation and I would hope, some day, you might return the favor.

In the past week, I’ve had three experiences/life lessons that, with the above rule being strictly enforced, I’d like to pass along to you.

The 90-4 Rule Way To Eat–I went in and saw my personal physician, Dr. Brad Shoup, for my annual physical. We were talking about my adopting the Whole30.com approach to eating and he was fine with that, but….he said he was doing the “90-4” eating plan. “What’s that?” I asked and he explained. With an average of 30 meals a month, take four of the meals (like once a week) and eat whatever you want! The rest of the time you’re eating well, which is the majority of the time and, that’s all that matters, right?

Every Day’s Saturday, Except Sunday-A friend of ours who I thought enjoyed the luxury of being retired explained to me one of the realities of being at that stage. Mark these words: “Every day’s Saturday, except Sunday.”  Yes, on paper, that sounds great. Saturday’s P.R. machine has you believing it’s a day of rest, play, something fun, etc.  Well, Ed…..oh, crap, I wasn’t going to mention Kloth’s name…..OH CRAP…..well, the secret’s out…..anyway, Saturdays for the working class is the day after the work week when you have the most ambition to take on the house projects.  Oh, yeah, WE decide what would be nice to do around the house, but a very small amount of the WE population is there when it’s time to tackle those projects.  The moral of this story–when you retire, every day is Saturday….a day when you SHOULD do that home project you’d normally reserve for Saturday. (and that brings us back to, “Doh!”)

Last, But Not Least–This is more of an experience than a lesson. Let’s call it a reminder. So, last Saturday, I emcee’d a Lutefisk Eating Contest at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival down at the Ballard fishing dock.  Before the competition began, I was handed a stack of cards identifying the Lutefisk eaters who would compete. I invited a ‘Staci’ to come up to the stage and next thing you know, I see a woman being carefully lifted up on the stage so she can compete from her wheelchair. Then, the woman who helps here and another woman hop on the stage as fellow contestants.  It turned out it was the woman in the wheelchair, her sister and the woman in the wheelchair’s daughter. The wheelchair bound woman’s daughter was named Grace and when all the slimy dust settled, Grace came in 2nd place. She was out visiting from Ohio, accompanying her mom, Staci, who had visiting Seattle as part of her bucket list. Her sister quietly leaned in towards me during the competition and told me that Staci had been given maybe a year to live. So, coming out to Seattle was a dream and she was living it. It was yet another reminder to savor every day that we’re given on this rock. Tim McGraw has a haunting song, “Live like you were dying” and Staci was doing that through no choice of her own.

So there you have it: a trio of experiences that made me just a little bit smarter that I thought I would share with you. Be in the moment as best you can. Observe things. Did you pick up some life knowledge today? Pass it along. We all do much better playing as a team.

Tim Hunter

It’s like the backyard….

….where the dog has been going out for several weeks and you never got around to picking up after him. I’m going to step into it, but I’ll probably regret it.

This is not an attempt to try and sway you one way or the other about the whole “not standing for the National Anthem” issue. But if I can help you understand the other side better, regardless of which side you’re on, maybe it will edge us closer to a resolution, or even a polite agreement. After all, we’re all Americans, we have inalienable rights and assorted other ‘givens’.

Let’s start with the fact that people are raised differently. Some put ketchup on their eggs.  Others open their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas morning. There’s no right or wrong, it just is.

Boomers, for the most part, were raised at a time when we were taught certain things. We did the Pledge of Allegiance in school. We ducked and covered in the event of a nuclear attack (like that really would do a lot of good). We were taught things in Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts that the flag represented our country. If it touched the ground, you were supposed to burn it. You could fly it during the day, but it had to be taken down at sunset. And so on.

That brings us to the National Anthem.  Boomers had parents that fought for our freedom. They faced a World War, with a crazy German one way and suicidal Japanese warriors the other. To them, the threat of losing a war and singing someone else’s national anthem was unthinkable.  It made our clunky, barely rhyming Star Spangled Banner something very special. Almost sacred. So, a generation of kids were raised that, when the song was played, you removed your hats, placed your hand over your heart and stood at attention, facing the nearest flag.

OK, that’s how we were raised. So, to do anything to the contrary is wrong. Not legally, technically, morally, whatever. It’s just wrong.

So, when Colin Kaepernick or Michael Bennett or whoever decided to start sitting during the playing of our National Anthem, it bothered me.  I understand why they’re doing it. They want to use the occasion to point out social injustice. I got it. They have the right to do that. Speaking of rights, judges ruled a while back that burning a flag, while formerly an unthinkable thing to do, was a protected right.  Taking that and running with it, I suppose sitting down while the National Anthem plays is a lesser evil than burning an American flag before every Seahawks game.  But then again, if that’s a protect right, why not?  I mean, let’s keep pushing.  If you’re angry at how our country is doing right now (and there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be concerned), let’s see it. Sit down during the National Anthem. Burn a U.S. flag.  Or, how about this?—urinating on an American flag while the National Anthem is playing while you’re sitting down.  If you want to light it on fire first, then put it out while you’re peeing, that would be extra points. That way, it’s impossible to miss that you’re really upset about how things are going in America right now. Point made.

Now, how’s that going to change things? It won’t.  How could someone lucky enough to reach that level of skill, ability and matching paychecks do something to change the way things are?  Frankly, sitting down seems lazy. Pissing people off, counter-productive.  What about taking some of that money and donating it to groups or organizations actively working to change things for the better. The ALCU, Black Lives Matter, ANYONE!  That would probably have a bigger payoff, be less inflammatory and get us closer to moving on.

If sitting down during the National Anthem is such a great way to make your point, why don’t you see that happening in all the other sports?  The NFL has the blessing and the curse of being THE sport right now and so some are seizing the spotlight.  There was a time that baseball was America’s national pastime. Hey, for a while, professional wrestling actually made a ripple and packed stadiums.  Popularity comes and goes.  What one generation worships, the next ignores. It’s true of toys, it’s true of clothing styles, music, lifestyles, you name it.

And don’t look now, NFL, but your TV ratings are in a free-fall.

This is an 967-word way of saying I don’t know what the solution is to the whole “sitting down during the national anthem” thing. All I know is that it bothers me, but I tolerate it because I defend their right to do it. At a time when I’m happy and positive and excited about what’s to come out on the football field, I get this bad taste in my mouth. It makes me care less about the player involved and naturally following, less about his cause, whatever it is.

Logically, does it make sense to do something that offends people to try and sway their point-of-view? Let’s say you’re disgusted by the word, “Poop.”  I want you to realize that we need more free parking spots, so I’m going to say “Poop” over and over again until you agree with me. See much of a chance of that working?

Just know this–for every single one of these attention-getting athletes thinking they’re making a social difference by sitting down, kneeling , raising their fists in the air or turning their backs while the National Anthem is being played, there are tens of thousands of people who would love to stand for it if they could. But they can’t, because they died defending the right for people to sit on their ass.

There. I said it.

Tim Hunter

P.S. I truly meant the above piece to help the die-hards among the “everyone should kneel” crowd to try and understand that being disrespectful to our flag, our national anthem and our country doesn’t help your cause. This guy takes it much further and I think it’s worth posting here.

Yeah, but….

I am extremely happy.

No, seriously, lately life has been one big huge reminder of how great it is to be alive.   My son’s wedding in Montana not only took me to a monumental family event, but also to the natural monuments of Yellowstone and all the beauty that life has to offer.

I’ve never been able to accept compliments very well. And so, when life goes well, I feel surprised. When life goes extremely well, I actually have a tough time handling it. Whether it’s an underlying feeling that I don’t deserve it, or a suspicion that I know it won’t last long, that doesn’t matter. I’m awkward at best when it comes to good times. I was even telling my step-daughter (and I hate that term) Kjersti at my acupuncture appointment the other day, when she asked, “How’s it going?”, I told her, “I’m really, really happy right now.”

So, while Monday didn’t ‘harsh my buzz’, it did provide a moment of concern. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a big believer about things happening for the reason they do, all things are meant to be, etc. but this past Monday, the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 attack on the U.S., I heard comments that bothered me.

That fateful morning, my radio co-hosts–Bruce Murdock and Alice Porter—and I were heading into just another day, with a pre-recorded interview to play in that 5:30-6am time slot. After all, most people weren’t up by then, so if we had an interview and played it during that early morning stretch, we could replay it later in the morning–say, in the 8am hour–and most of our audience wouldn’t have heard it. This particular interview was with the author of a book about 9-1-1- calls. Thus, the 9-11 theme.  We were within minutes of playing it when we noticed on the TV monitor in our studio that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in New York.  We assumed it was some small aircraft that had screwed up badly…but next thing you know, we were getting notices about a special ABC report.  That canned interview never aired. Life would never be the same.

Thousands of lives were lost. Our lives were changed forever. Remember going out to the airport and actually walking out to the gate to greet a passenger with a funny sign or flowers? Gone.

So, this past Monday, when I heard the things people were saying about 9-11, it bothered me. “C’mon, that was a long time ago!”, “Oh, just move on!” or “We don’t need another holiday!”, I just shook my head.

First off, those of use who remember that day will never be the same. It was our Pearl Harbor, our Alamo, our reminder that our perfect little land of America is just as susceptible as any place on the globe. This isn’t political rhetoric, this was people’s lives. People who weren’t planning to have it all end that day. In their honor, I cherish every day since then. What they wouldn’t give to be able to complain about politics or global warming or any of the other complaints we have about today.

I truthfully don’t know what to do about that date. Make a National Day of Remembrance….or, does that make it a target for terrorists to use for an attack?  Let it fade into history? (I’d have a hard time with that)

The bottom line is that it’s a decision that should be left to those who will be here 40 years from now. I doubt that includes me, but then again, I’m a stubborn bastard. I won’t go easily.

So, it is for that reason that I can’t get too caught up in the lack of enthusiasm about an event that seriously shaped my life 16 years ago. So, I’ll express concern and then go back to being extremely happy.

However: never forget!

Tim Hunter

 

Another One Bites The Buzz

So, I’m tapping away on my keyboard in the bowels of my house known as ‘my office’, writing away, when I hear the sound of a text or something coming in on my phone. I check–nothing.

It happens again. Not from the phone. I listen carefully and it seems to be coming somewhere down below me. I’m thinking, “Oh, great!  My computer is starting to go out and I’ll have to pony up a bunch of money and buy a new one.”  I go back to writing and some motion caught my eye. I looked down and crawling on the front of my shirt, a yellow jacket that I’m pretty sure was 30-feet long. I remained calm, reached over and grabbed my phone, lifted it off my shirt, shook it down to the ground (a Michael Jackson song is about to break out) and…..well, for you insect lovers, let’s just say “he stopped buzzing.”

How he got there, where he came from, God only knows.  All I know is the next time I hear that familiar buzzing sound again, my phone will be the second place I check.

Tim Hunter

The Time of My Life

I’m a writer. Well, technically speaking, anyone who can pick up a pen or keyboard and start tossing words down on a canvas is a writer. But even though I stumbled through a 30+ radio career, having the time to write and refine my thoughts is when I am most comfortable. I tend to be a perfectionist, so I love the idea of being able to carefully hone a line or a blog before casting it out into cyberspace for judgement.  When you’re on the radio, sometimes you stumble on a word or the music’s too loud or someone is talking at the same time. So yes, I’m a part-time control freak.

On paper, I should be able to convey how much this past week has meant to me. However, I’m struggling with the words. I could go with the standard collection of adjectives and adverbs, but they feel inadequate. Rather than being concerned about their deficiencies, I’ll simply tell you what happened and I’ll cheat a bit with photos.

There was a gathering this past week at a place near Bozeman, Montana, called Rainbow Ranch. That was the place chosen over a year ago to be the site of my son’s wedding to an absolutely incredible lady named Lacey. Technically, it was a destination wedding, but it didn’t feel like one. Those are usually small groups, on a beach somewhere. This was more like a family/college reunion, with a crowd of around 80 people setting up for an extended Labor Day weekend at one of nature’s greatest playgrounds.

It was everything I expected about Montana, but also so much more.  Outside of driving through the state on my way to South Dakota, this was my first time exploring it.  We arrived at the airport filled with bronze artwork of bears, bison and dinosaurs. We grabbed a van and hit the road and were instantly engulfed in mountains, fields and rolling plains. Over the next several days, we saw herds of elk and buffalo. We went to a rescue animal park for close-up looks of bear and wolves.  We hooked up with the bride and groom to be Thursday night at a barbecue place across the street from our Air BnB rental that had outstanding barbecue, micro-brews and people wearing cowboy hats & boots.

Friday was Yellowstone day. Heck, we were that close, so we drove for an hour, leaving Montana and sneaking into Wyoming. We decided to get an early jump because of the crowds and it was a good hunch. Our first stop was Old Faithful. These days, an app can tell you approximately when it’s going to erupt. That’s nature at it’s finest. From there, we went to Grand Prismatic Spring. I had never heard of it before, I will never forget it.

Saturday morning’s events included a hike up into the mountains followed by a river float.  The float was relaxing and fun, with a lot of the river being no more than a foot or two deep. We rounded up a crowd of around 40 and had a blast.

Saturday night was the ‘rehearsal dinner’ which was more like a happy hour with a bridal party. That was at another micro-brewery in town.  And then came Sunday, the big day. The weather, originally thought to be near 90, was more in the 70s. Smoke from the state fires was evident, but not obnoxious. The scene was a spot near the river and the day was just magical.

I’m sitting here, thinking about that day, and I have to pause and sigh.

To the 20 and 30-somethings starting out a family and beginning the kid thing, it seriously becomes a blur from the time you’re holding that little hand as you cross the street to the time you’re hugging your kid on their big day. Don’t be in a hurry. It was a fun, incredible stretch of my life, having that little person be so dependent on you, watching to learn how to act, what to do, the family way to handle problems. etc.   The child’s perspective eventually evolves from wanting information to knowledge of their own and then, they become experts on their parents.  They decide what they liked about the family way, and how they’ll do things differently when they get in charge. It’s a natural process, we all go through it.

What’s surprising is that, as the years go by, the ways mom and dad did things becomes comforting and eventually, the day rolls around when you find yourself doing something you never thought you would. Because they did it that way.

I cannot be any prouder or happier for Tyson and Lacey and I’m so excited for what lies ahead. They planned and executed one of the greatest gatherings of family & friends I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. To meet their circle of friends, to see some of Tyson’s buddies from the high school and college days, to get to know Lacey’s closest friends, to go on adventures with my wife and family, including my sister Debbie and mom Fran, I could not possibly ask for a greater experience.

So thanks to the newlyweds, the Lowber family and all that made this event possible. I find myself replaying so many moments in my mind and I have a feeling I’m going to be doing that the rest of my life. Here are just a few of the images making their way through my head right now.

God bless you all!

Tim Hunter

 

The Big Week

I’m excited.

This is the weekend that we’ve known was coming for over a year that, at one time, seemed so far off in the future.  Tomorrow, we hop on a jet and fly to Bozeman, Montana, for the wedding of my son and his awesome fiancé’ Lacey.  These two kids just seem to be doing it right and it’s so great to see.

Both figured out their careers, then decided to up their game by going for a masters degree.  As fate and timing would have it, the two both enrolled in the evening program at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Over time, they got to know each other, there were sparks and then you could just tell this was becoming a very special thing.

I remember once talking with Tyson about the whole marriage thing. Can’t tell you when that was, but what stuck in my mind was his vision of the kind of person he wanted to marry.  Attractive would be nice, but he really wanted someone he could intellectually talk with. Someone to discuss things with. Being an active person, I knew that was an unspoken consideration.  With Lacey, he hit the trifecta. Both are, at the core, really nice people and that will serve you well for a lifetime.

We’re heading over to Montana, their Destination Wedding site (with absolutely no affiliation to Destination Marketing) for what should be a spectacular weekend. There’s going to be a hike, a river float, a rehearsal dinner resembling a happy hour and an outdoor wedding in a beautiful setting, Last I heard, Sunday was supposed to be around 88-degrees.

I’m going to milk this weekend. I’m talking serious efforts to living in the present and enjoying every second of this adventure. We’re going to catch Friday’s first Husky game of the season at a bar somewhere. Yellowstone is said to be a 45-minute drive from where we’ll be staying.  And while I’ve driven through Montana on my way to South Dakota, I’ve never really spent any time there, so I’m looking very forward to that.

But most of all, I’m very excited for two great people who are taking another big step in their future together.  One of them just happens to be my son.

And I don’t want to come off as anxious, but I’ve already added Lacey to my Facebook status as my daughter-in-law.

Let the party of the year begin. And congrats you two!!

Love you guys,

Tim Hunter

 

One More Summer Thing To Do

Here we are again. We’re back to that time of year where “Back to School” is old news and people start saying “Where did summer go?”. Just a week remaining in August and football season is upon us.

But as you know, summer trickles away. You start to notice the cooler mornings and the dampness that sneaks into the evenings that wasn’t there just a couple of weeks ago.  We still score 80-degree temps during the day, but the nights start flirting with the 40s. A few weeks ago, I started making up a summer bucket list—a collection of things I’d like to do before we slide into fall.

One of those things was visiting the grave of martial arts legend Bruce Lee and his son, in an old cemetery in Seattle. Did it.

Earlier this summer, we actually did the Tillicum Village thing again. For outsiders, it’s where you hope on a ship, that takes you and 100+ tourists out to Blake Island where you enjoy a taste of the Native America lifestyle. Some dancing, smoked salmon and such. I had not done that in at least three decades. Another checkmark.

Something I have done that I’d highly recommend is to head up to either Bothell or Kenmore and go for a kayak ride. A guy I met through the Bothell Chamber started What’s Up Board rentals and he launched a booming business. What a wonderfully calming getaway.  $15 + tax gets you a one-hour rental to go up and down the slough or explore the shore of Lake Washington and really, that’s all you need. I know there are die-hards that make a career out of kayaking, but it’s one of those things I enjoy, but it will have to settle for when I have time.

When I did finally make the effort to head north, I pulled up into the Bothell Landing, walked over to the stand and explained I had no idea what I’m doing. The kids working there were great and apparently, not knowing what you’re doing is a pretty big club. So, it’s OK. You don’t have to be a pro, they set you up, help you get in to your kayak and off you go.

 

One employee told me that if I was to fall in, it would probably be when I was getting out. Eventually, I saw what she meant, but the darn things are actually fairly stable. I had brought along my swimsuit, so I ran over to the restroom, changed, then put my phone and car keys in a reseal-able plastic bag and I was off.

I had a relaxing blast.  The quiet. The birds like ducks, geese and blue heron.  I saw one kayaker pull up her craft next to the blackberries hanging over the water. But for that entire 60-minute stretch, there were  no emails, no disturbing Facebook posts–it was flat out relaxing.  My goal now is to work in one more adventure before the summer is through and drag along my wife, Victoria.

As I got back on shore, my wheels immediately began spinning, imagining that I had discovered my new sport.  Something I could do a lot and on a regular basis. Hmmmmm, I wonder what a kayak costs?

Well, I did the research.

You can go inflatable (cheap) or make it a plastic one, then add on a roof rack to help you get it there and I’m rounding it out to around a $1,000 investment.  If I were to just stick with renting one for under $20, that would give me 50 rentals. Get out twice a year and I’d be able to just rent a kayak for the next 25 years.  I look at the golf clubs sitting in the corner to remind me that best intentions don’t always turn into actions. Tell that to the smart-alec who wrote “1883” in the dust of the elliptical machine behind me.

If you just can’t make it out this summer, put it on your Summer 2018 Bucket List.  But if you do manage to work it in and give it a try, you’ll thank me for the recommendation. Maybe when we’re out on the water together.

Tim Hunter