I Don’t Understand–But, Then Again, I Do

What the hell is going on right now?

I feel like I’m watching a replay of a PBS series on civil rights. When did I go asleep and wake up in 1957?

I’m probably a couple of days of outrage behind you. This weekend, we did a day-trip on Saturday and had a pre-func wedding beach party on Sunday. I’ve gotten to the stage where I may glance at my phone, but if I don’t, I know the world will keep spinning and I can check on things when I settle down.

While driving, my very plugged-in wife Victoria was reading her Facebook posts and commented that something was happening back in Charlottesville.  Then, she followed that by saying there was a protest march in downtown Seattle.

I’ve already hit my limit on protest marches. I mean, seriously, people taking to the streets to emphasize how much they’re against what everyone is already against. Yes, it’s a right. March your brains out. But what happens is that something goes wrong–an injury, an arrest, thugs infiltrate and cause problems, store windows break, or police are pushed and a riot breaks out.

Protest marches are just a live version of your Facebook page.  The people marching are the ones who spend their social media time trying to convince you to think the way they do, even though there’s never any actual convincing done. If you agree with what’s said, you pass it along or give it a ‘Like’.  If you disagree, but want to preserve the friendship, you hide it, and long for the days of cat videos.

HBO did a phenomenal job of capturing the hate of Charlottesville  in this video, which I’ll warn you, is hard to watch. But it gives you a real picture of what’s going on in the disturbed minds of the White Nationalists.

This is where I’m torn. I don’t want to give them a minute of news time or any coverage, whatsoever.  All it becomes is a platform by which they can flush out all of the other hate-mongers that lurk in this country.  When I finally got the details about all that went on during the weekend, I was outraged like you. But at least I was able to enjoy a couple of nice days.

We need to deal with bigotry and hate. We can’t ignore the threat of Nazi-ism.  That we even have to be talking about this 80 years after it’s blight on humanity is dumbfounding.  The moron who drove through people and killed one of the protestors was a 20-year-old brain-washed hick. Sadly, there are still people teaching hate and raising their kids with that kind of fear. This photo struck me particularly hard when I came across it yesterday.

My first reaction was, “Well, there you go.  Kids are being raised to hate.”  Then I read about the picture. It wasn’t from this past weekend–it was from an event 20 years ago. For all we know, that little girl could have been among this weekend’s Nazi-marchers.

We absolutely need to take this threat seriously, but those White Nationalists are but a small, tiny portion of the U.S. population. There’s a lot more of us than the haters. And as much as we’re disgusted by what they say and believe, they’re guaranteed the right of free speech, just like us. However,  they’ll only be talking to themselves if we ignore them.  Like so many things, from O.J. to the Kardashians, this is being turned into a media event and a hot topic, so that every newscast every 15 minutes feels the need to be talking about it.

I think every one of those pro-Nazi demonstrators should have their eyeballs taped open and be forced to watch, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas“, which we happened to watch over the weekend. After that, “American History X“. Although, I’m sure in both cases, they would dismiss them as purely propaganda films.

I had higher hopes for this president, in trying to make the most out of a dismal situation.  I basically considered it survival mode.  I wanted to just ride out these four years and hope that someone credible would step forward in the meantime. Then we’d all say, “Well, that’s a no-brainer.” I’m still waiting for a leader to make themselves known.

With President Trump, we have no idea what’s going to happen in six months, let alone the next six minutes.  However, I am convinced that, years from now, there will come a time we’ll all be able to look back and say to each other, “Can you believe that actually happened?”

Keep believing. Good will prevail.

Tim Hunter

 

A Hot Summer Tip

Gee, that could mean a tip that is hot during the summer. Or a hot tip that you’re being given during the summer. Or, a tip about summer while it’s hot.

Actually, all three could apply.

I like this little corner of the Internet to be amusing, to leave you with something to think about or to make your world somehow better. This week, as the smoke-filled skies of a sizzling Seattle summer begin making us yearn for the rain-filled months of fall right around the corner, I’d like to talk with you about your furnace or gas fireplace.

Congrats to those who opted to keep reading because you’ll thank me at the end of this.

Our house has a gas furnace and, in my little downstairs man-cave, a gas fireplace insert.  The other day, my always-cold wife Victoria flipped on the fireplace to take off the morning chill (I’ll bet it was down to 74 in the house) when it made a sputtering noise. That prompted a discussion that ended in the realization we have lived in this home for 10 years now and have never bothered to have the gas fireplace serviced.

Now, when it comes to something like that, there are two trains of thought: 1) Yep, I’m going to hire a professional to do it or 2) I’m not going to pay $100 for a guy to come out, vacuum the fireplace and tell me everything’s fine.  When it comes to anything natural gas, I always choose #1. Because possible mistakes could easily top the $100 you think you’re saving.

Why have your furnace or gas fireplace professionally cleaned and checked? Lots of reasons.

THE FURNACE

I called up one of the members of the Bothell Chamber, Sundance Energy, and they sent out a guy named Brian last year who cleaned our furnace, gave me some thoughts about the filters, made sure the pilot light and everything involved was running smooth and efficiently and then he was gone. We were left with an efficient furnace and the peace of mind that comes with knowing it was checked out.  $100 well spent.

THE FIREPLACE

OK, this is the one that inspired writing this piece for you.

  • First off, the glass was dirty. Brian (yes, he was back), properly cleaned it so it looks brand new. Why does it get dirty?  Because of the substance they add to natural gas to give it a smell, for safety’s sake. And when your fireplace isn’t burning efficiently, it leaves a residue on the glass.  He told me I could do it, but NOT to use Windex or any ammonia-based product. They have special non-scratch ceramic cleaners that take off the residue and leave your glass clear again. Good to know.
  • Another thing Brian noticed was that one of the artificial logs was upside down.  How would we have known? But because it was, it caused the flame to be higher, which also resulted in residue build up.  He vacuumed the heck out of it, correctly stacked the logs and then showed me the pilot light. When it was dirty, it had a white tip. Remove all that crap and a subtle blue flame appeared.  Plus, he turned down the flame which, of course, will save gas in the long run.
  • With tax, it came to $109 even. He said I was smart to book him in the summer, because come the fall and winter, the price goes up to $160 and it sometimes takes a couple of months for him to come by.
  • As a crowning touch, he even strategically added some fibrous material that, when the flame burns, gives the appearance of embers glowing.

So, there are lots of reasons to reach out to Sundance or your regular furnace company right now. It seems an out-of-season subject, but doing it now will definitely pay off for you in the months ahead.

By the way, my friends at Sundance are having a Grand Re-Opening next Thursday, August 17th, at their Bothell store, which was severely damaged in the great Bothell fire that almost wiped out downtown last year. The party starts at 5 and should be a lot of fun. If you go, I’ll see you there. And remember the rule–you need to have a swig of wine every time J.D. says the phrase, “ductless heat pump.”

Hopefully, they have air conditioning.

Tim Hunter

Our Shiny Clean Fireplace

Bob Cram

If you lived in Seattle back in the 1960s, your routine after work probably included coming home and turning on your black-and-white television to catch the evening news. After a few local headlines, the KING-5 news anchor would toss it to the weather guy, Bob Cram. Bob was a plain-looking sort of fellow with glasses who had a niche in the weather business–he included his cartooning skills in the forecast.

By the time I arrived in the Pacific Northwest, Bob was in his post-weatherman days, but remained a local personality. During the early 1980s, I returned from my 3-year Yakima exile to Seattle and became Larry Nelson’s producer at KOMO Radio. Part of those duties included being back-up production guy, which meant I would often find myself in a recording booth, engineering for the people who had come in to record their commercials. It was thanks to that Fisher Broadcasting side-job that I got to meet Bob, along with his daughter Sara, Husky Football Coach Don James and his wife Carol, Rainer Rey, and even the voice the Mariners, Dave Niehaus.  Dave would sit down to record the latest Brooks-McKnight Chevrolet commercial and let out a “My, oh, my” but not without taking the time to talk with me about baseball, last night’s game or what he had been up to in the off-season.

When I first got back to Seattle, Bob Cram was the voice of QFC. In time, Bob and his daughter Sara, did a tag-team version of the spots. Then, they were replaced by Carol James and Rainer Rey and that was the last I saw of Bob.

But while he was the grocery chain’s spokesman, I remember him coming in, being revered as “THE Bob Cram.”  A story he told that stuck in my mind was the time in 1965, when Bob was with Frosty Fowler and his morning radio show at the top of the Space Needle. How Seattle can you get?  Well, that particular morning, Seattle had an earthquake that registered 6.7 on the Richter, killing seven people and causing $12.5-million in damages. Bob and Frosty found themselves being waved back and forth atop the Needle, with seconds feeling like hours until things finally calmed down.

Bob Cram was soft-spoken, talented and had a great run. He continued drawing all the way up to his final days and it wouldn’t surprise me if a bulk of his work doesn’t end up at the Museum of History & Industry. I feel very fortunate to have briefly met and worked with one of the good ones in the biz. Here’s a nice look back from KING 5.

Bob passed away last week at the age of 91. Comfort and peace to his family as we all say goodbye to another face from old Seattle.

Tim Hunter

If You Want To Make God Laugh

Tell him what you have planned for your life. My late radio brother Larry Nelson used to say that to me.

It’s true.  Take a look at where you are in life right now. Very few of us can say we predicted it with Nostradamus accuracy.

For 30 years, I was able to enjoy a career in radio that I could have never imagined having.  My goal, once I arrived at the University of Washington back in 1973, was to take 18-credits a quarter, so I could graduate two quarters early from the full four years and then head back to southern California, marry the girl across the street and grab just any kind of job, like a ticket rep at United Airlines and live happily ever after.  That was the plan.

What wasn’t in the plan was to have said girl across the street have a ‘sign from God’ to break up with me one Thursday morning near the end of my sophomore year and then marry the minister that helped her with the translation of that sign a couple of months later.

Never saw it coming. But it happened. I can look back and realize the consequences more with all the power that hindsight offers, but it really was for the best. That’s OK. Because of the change in my future plans, I looked around, saw that Radio & TV was an option for a career path and never looked back.

You do something for 30 years and it will stick in some people’s minds.  It does my heart good when I hear people say, “You’re the Hunter? Oh, I remember you. ” For 17 years, I spent mornings at 92.5-KLSY, the invisible carpool member giving people something fun or interesting to listen to. Just the other day, one of our faithful listeners that won one of our contests posted this on Facebook.

These days, I am blessed in so many ways–being able to do what I want to do, work on fun side projects, help clients get noticed, and all with the flexibility that you would think only comes when you retire. This October, it’ll be three years since I broke away from a secure 9-5 routine and never looked back. If all goes according to plans, I’ll ride this out until I’m 70 and then I’ll most-likely continue what I’m doing, but thin out some of the stuff I’d rather not. At that point, I’ll be going pure fun only.

Then again, I said the p-word: plans. It could happen. It might not. That little rumble you just heard could have been God busting a gut.

What I do know is that I’m going to keep enjoying this dream as long as it lasts. If changes need to occur, so be it. With age comes the wisdom that each day matters, each moment should be enjoyed and cherished. Slow down, stop rushing to get to the next thing so you can rush to the next thing. And for God’s sake, don’t talk on your phone while driving.

Tim Hunter

Victoria With Victoria

At the risk of this turning into a travel blog, I’m going to take you on a second adventure in a row. This time, to north of the border and the picturesque city of Victoria, B.C..

Yes, it was a tad redundant going there with my wife, Victoria, but the trip delivered on the promise of being one of the best day-trip adventures available to those of us here in the northwest.

We went last Thursday after a busy week of playing tourists in town with some out-of-town guests.  Probably not the best planning, but outside of the time commitment, it’s a pretty easy undertaking.

GETTING THERE

OK, you could drive, heading towards Vancouver and veering off to the left to catch the Tsawwwassen ferry, which drops your car off on Vancouver Island. (yes, Victoria is on Vancouver Island, but Vancouver is on the mainland. Those wacky Canadians!)  That will take you 3 hours to get to the ferry terminal (if the border is kind), then there’s the boat ride and 40-minutes to Victoria.

OR you head downtown, catch the Victoria Clipper and less than 3 hours later, you’re getting off in the harbor, across from the Empress Hotel. We chose plan B.

WHAT TO DO

That’s pretty wide open. Shopping is a good idea, since the exchange rate has returned to the 1970s and you basically save 31% on everything you buy. In town, there’s high tea at the Empress (which is now missing its ivy covering after a $30-million makeover). Butchart Gardens is one of their most famous attractions and while they keept it attractive during the fall and winter, spring and summer is when you want to catch it.

CVS Tours offers a nice package that we took advantage of that included the bus ride to and from Butchart, along with a stop at the Butterfly Gardens.

That’s a perfect place for an added stop because right next door to the butterflies is a winery we absolutely love called Church & State. They’ve got the grounds, the growing grapes and a place to grab lunch. Oh, and of course, wine tasting.  We even tasted a Merlot that had received 98 points. It was $40 a bottle, but the exchange rate lowered it to under $28. You’re supposed to only bring back one bottle per person, we pushed it to two and all arrived home. All are under heavy guard.

TIPS

  • Pay everything with plastic (the Clipper doesn’t even accept cash on board) and let the credit companies do the exchange rate.
  • There is no Uber or Lyft in Victoria, so you’d be cabbing, bussing or renting a car.
  • Bring that baggie of Canadian change along that you’ve been saving. There are lots of street musicians performing and that’ll make you look generous.
  • Buy your Clipper tickets early and check in early. Seating is first-come, first-served and you’ll want those middle lower seats, in case it gets rough.
  • Double-check your passport. Did it expire when you weren’t thinking about it?
  • There can be Groupon deals, if you check before you go. More likely in the off-season.
  • As a Clipper passenger, you can park at the Bell Street garage all day for $10. Score!

I’ll bet it’s been five years since my last time in Victoria. Back when the Clipper first started making runs up north, I would host KLSY Listener trips to Victoria and I developed a fondness for that place. What a wonderfully clean, quaint city. And with this year’s stellar summer weather, it just doesn’t get much better.  I’m going to have to make a point of not forgetting about this excellent one-day escape.

When was your last time in Victoria, B.C.?

Tim Hunter

 

It Takes A Tillicum

We dropped off our houseguests at the airport this afternoon, after five days of playing tourists in our home town. It was a blast.

We hit some of the restaurants we knew would deliver a unique Seattle experience–Elliott’s, Wild Ginger, Bitter Root Barbecue. We even dragged them along to Ballard Seafoodfest, where I emceed my 14th Lutefisk Eating Championship. If you want to hear what that sounded like, click here.

But it was the trite, often overlooked, “Oh, brother” suggestion that was the hit of the extended weekend.  You know, that feeling you get when out-of-towners say, “We want to go to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Underground Tour, etc.”  For me, growing up in southern California, when family came to town, it was off to Disneyland. But our Florida guests wanted to do something that I haven’t experienced for 25+ years.  They had read in USA TODAY about this place called, “Tillicum Village.”  Oh yeah, one of those tourist experiences you COULD do, but then you start listing the excuses–it’s expensive, it eats up a good part of a day and you don’t have that much time here, it’s “only for tourists”, etc.

For all the times I thought those things or said them out-loud, I’d like to apologize and withdraw my statements.

First off, true: it’s not cheap. However, the value you get for your money rivals any of the other touristy things you could do in town. It’s a four-hour experience that includes a boat ride, an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Native American longhouse and show and, on a sunny day, one of the best views of Seattle you can get anywhere.  Basically, that’s $20 an hour. On that front, I’d like to pass along just a few of the photos I grabbed along our adventure.

Of course, you can’t expect Seattle to be in day 24 of a dry spell, for Mount Rainier to make itself known on the ride home, to see wildlife like raccoons, deer, seals and bald eagles put on a show for you as they did, so maybe we were just lucky. But Blake Island and Tilicum Village are not just for tourists. It was a nice reminder to see families in awe of the place we live, to hear people say they were from Federal Way to Israel and all points in-between. This day impressed me—and I live here.

I’ve seen that, in the off-season, you can get a pretty nice discount on Groupon, if price is a concern. But if you need a one-day vacation and want to stay close at home, I’d highly recommend grabbing a lunch cruise over to Tillicum Village.  AAA gets you 20% off your tickets.

And I can promise you, it won’t be another 25 years until my next visit.

Tim Hunter

Returning to My Twenties

If you could go back to any decade in your life, which one would you choose? Last Saturday night, the choice was made for me when we attended the Queen with Adam Lambert concert at KeyArena in Seattle.

On the surface, it would be easy to say, “Oh, yeah, another rock band from the 70s with a couple of the surviving members and some other lead singer.” While that’s a fair description of  a lot of vintage bands out there, this is not just an exception, but an example for all the others.

Let’s start with Queen. If you’re old enough to remember them when they first came on the music scene, the next words you should be saying to yourself is Freddie Mercury. His four-octave range and flamboyant lifestyle took us all to places we had never been before. At a time when the world was dancing to a disco beat, he lead his group through a pop music revolution.  Oh, it was rock, but a produced, sometimes classical or operatic sound. When a new Queen album came out, you never knew what you were going to encounter.

Queen started becoming incredibly relevant as my twenties arrived–that decade of metamorphosis where you begin post-college adulthood, take that first job in the field you plan to spend your entire working career and find out if that’s true.  Back in those days, it was when marriage broke out and people started having kids.  I turned 20 in 1975. Two months and a day later, Queen released their epic album, “A Night at the Opera.”  The title appealed to me because it matched the name of a Marx Brothers movie. The music world embraced it because of songs like “You’re my Best Friend” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The decade of my twenties went from 1975-85.  So much happened in my life during that stretch of time from getting married and moving from Yakima to Seattle, to having two kids and starting to climb the ladder of my radio career. As fans gathered at KeyArena last Saturday night, Queen took the stage and played the soundtrack of that decade for me, as well as offering flashbacks to my college rock concert days.

Queen with Adam Lambert to the casual music ear might seem like a stretch. A classic rock band and with the runner-up of American Idol’s 8th season? It couldn’t be a better match.

Queen guitarist Brian May hasn’t missed a beat. Plug in that guitar and you’ll soon be enjoying that classic Queen sound.

Roger Taylor drummed his way through the evening like he was still in his twenties, even offering up the classic rock concert drum solo.

Then there’s Adam Lambert. Sorry if you haven’t been following his career, but the dude is real. Songwriter, singer, performer and this just in–he’s been touring with Queen for five years now, as well as developing his solo career. My wife Victoria and I caught him a couple of years ago at the Puyallup fair and became even bigger fans. And for the Queen purists, he makes very clear up front that he’s not in any way trying to replace Freddie. In fact, Mr. Mercury even makes a couple of appearances on the big screen in two of their songs. It was good to see him again.

Lambert performs proudly and is honored to be in that position, all the while knowing that he’s filling a void, but this is still Freddy’s world. Adam even performed his new single, “Two Fux” the day after it’s release with the Queen band members.

Add in the showmanship and special effects that would make Freddie proud and this traveling entourage should definitely be on your must-see concert list. Not sure when they’ll pass through town again, but I have an idea I just might be there. And for a solid two hours plus a 15-minute encore, make another return visit to my twenties.

Tim Hunter

Everyone’s Got a Ghost Town

My mom had a surgical procedure a few weeks ago and is recovering nicely. Each of the kids took some time off to help around the house and try to slow her down. Yeah, that’s pretty much where I got it.

Going back this time was a little different. I decided to try grabbing a Lyft from the airport, instead of renting a car and having it sit around for a few days.  That was smart and easily saved me over $100. I think I’ve got a new routine.

I arrived at the old neighborhood and, this time not driving, I noticed more things as we cruised down the street. We went past Irene Laskow’s house, a girl we cruelly gave the nickname, “Bozo” because of her big toes. We went past “The Bachelor’s” home, a name the neighbors bestowed to a guy named Irv who, when the neighborhood was new, was a single guy. He was married by the time I reach a coherent age.

I briefly saw Sharon, mom’s next-door neighbor, whom I’ve known for decades. But her home was previously the residence of one Raylene Crocker, the girl who gave me my first kiss. I was 5, she was 6 and it was a quick smooch under a folded-over wading pool.

Of course, across the street was the girl that got away, who eventually will get an entire blog or two in her honor.  Just too many stories and directions to go for now.

This little street in Torrance, California, was where we played hide ‘n seek and touch football. We spent hour after hour competing in tennis ball baseball and I’m talking about you Kenny Vaughn, Mike Cobb, Mike McClaren, Glen Rico, Kelly Toman, Karen and Dennis Belcher. When we weren’t playing, we were wheeling and dealing baseball cards that we had bought for 5-cents a pack (including a rock hard piece of gum) from the Helms Bakery truck that routinely visited our neighborhood.

One of my regular hangouts around home was the driveway, where dad had put up a basketball hoop for me to practice on. We played endless games of H-O-R-S-E, as well as driveway-sized games with dad pumping up his famous West Virginia set shot. In time, I started playing a little bit more in order to be outside when that girl across the street might come outside.

The neighborhood is now the place where ________ used to live. Look at a home, and if I say, “Oh, that’s where Fred & Carol used to live”, my mom and sisters know right where I mean.  It has now evolved from a mostly Caucasian blue-collar hood to a nicely diverse collection of ethnicities. It’s strange–sure, they’re the same homes. But while the years and coats of paint try to disguise the memories, but they’re all still there.

There was Mr. Lawrence, the poster adult for the phrase, “you kids get off my lawn.” Or the Hein family down the street and yes, her name really was Bea. I think the Vaughn family had six kids–Kenny was my age and he was surrounded by cute sisters. Sandy and Lori were the main attractions. There was that time Mike Cobb shot himself in the stomach. He lived.  Oh, and Mr. and Mrs. Kidd, right across the street who invited our family to their house on New Year’s morning so that we could all see the Rose Parade on their brand-new COLOR TV!!!!!

I was very fortunate and remain so thankful for growing up where I did, when I did and with that old Wonder Years bunch of mine. Most of my time these days is spent going 100 mph, multi-tasking and trying to win the Overachiever of the Day Award (I haven’t won one yet) which tend to push aside those memories of 226th Street. But give me a couple of days back in the old neighborhood and those memories come running like kids to a popsicle truck.

And there’s another one. It was fun visiting my ghost town.

Tim Hunter

The Drill of a Lifetime

      Ready to Report

I went on a bit of an adventure last Thursday.

Knowing a lot of folks up in Bothell, including at City Hall, I was invited to be a ‘persistent reporter’ for a simulated emergency drill. Not just the city would take part, but also folks from the UW-Bothell and Cascadia College, to prepare for a “what if” scenario to see how well they would all work together.

We were supposed to meet and talk about the exercise, what they’d like me to do, read over questions to ask the crisis center and city leaders at the mock press conference, enjoy a little lunch, etc.

When I arrived at exactly noon, Bothell City Hall was packed. City workers buzzed around in their orange vests, there were police officers, even people who appeared to be part of a jury, wearing name tags like, “Juror #1.”  It was impressive and gave you the feeling that something wrong was really going on. I asked for my contact and quickly found myself in an elevator heading up with all 12 jurors.  I couldn’t resist saying to one of them, “You know he’s guilty.” Another juror gave me the International sign for, “Shush!”

Finding my contact, we then returned back down to the main floor and headed into a room where we were informed that the drill would have to wait, maybe even be post-poned. The reason? An actual bomb threat had been made at the Bothell Courthouse not even a block away.

So, some of the police and fire folks who were supposed to be part of the drill had some real-life drama to deal with. That also meant that the juror I told “he was guilty” was actually real. Oops.

90 minutes later, the bomb squad checked out the suspicious device, it turned out to be nothing and the drill commenced. It was interesting to play a part in the drill (I was Harley from KOMO TV)  and watch the teamwork that was born from this exercise that you hope you never have to do in real life. But you have to be ready.

It also gave me an idea for a screenplay that I will never have time to write, but if you take it on, I want partial screen credit.  So, someone is terrorizing the city. A while into this terror, a police officer says this all seems so familiar and looks for similar sprees in the past, but comes up empty. Then, he remembers that this is going the exact same way as a city drill held several years before. It turns out that the culprit is an angry ex-city employee who felt his opinion was ignored and wants to prove the city wrong. Of course, knowing what his next step will be allows the policeman to foil the plan and the bad guy gets captured.

It could have been just another day but it ended up being quite the adventurous Thursday. Because it was on the edge of over-achieving, I think I’m going to take it real easy this week on Thursday. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Or, visit that guy up in Bothell if they really did find him guilty.

Oops.

Tim Hunter

 

The Second One

I’m sure there will come a time when I don’t know how many Father’s Days its been since my dad left this earth. But with this being only the second one where I wasn’t conspiring with my sisters on what he would like or picking out a goofy card to send to him, (which usually arrived late) I’m still counting them.

Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up to his smiling face by my keyboard as I begin my daily writing duties. And I’ve made it a habit to be a positive reflection, rather than a mournful feeling of loss. I got lucky. Not only because of the man and everything he taught me by example, but also for how long he stuck around. He was the last of his siblings to go when he died just three weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.

I remember at his wake how a childhood friend reminded me just how lucky I was. His dad had already been gone for 20+ years.

I can easily hop into the memory jalopy and flash back to those camping trips, the Little League games, going to church in our Sunday best, playing basketball with him in the driveway, hearing about the guys “at the field”, which was mechanic-talk for the gang he worked with at United Airlines. It seemed like he would always be there, but eventually, the years took a toll on his body.

I’m one of those people who have fully embraced the Amazon Echo (named Alexa) and it’s partially due to my dad. Towards the end of his life, his hearing was failing and if he didn’t understand you, instead of saying, “What?” he would just say, “OK.”  That became his default go-to expression.

Now, when I ask our Alexa to turn the living room light on, the lamp clicks on and she says, “OK.”  Time to turn it off, and after the instruction she replies, “OK.”

That’s fine, but just remember Alexa, that was Dad’s word first.

If your dad is still around, I’ll echo the words of Kelly Toman who reminded me just how lucky you are. You know what to do from here.

Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

Tim Hunter