early spring edition (confusing composited reflections of an unparsed, wordpressish nature regarding the intoxication of spring and barred owls of a nasty disposition)
Big brother arrived home from school yesterday: As usual kicking off his shoes in the middle of the front porch to the chagrin of the latest out-of-breath United States Postal Service mail carrier trainee to get stuck in our neighborhood (one of the notoriously least desirable, most transient routes in the city owing to the relentless hilliness) and immediately reported upon the abrupt relocation of physical education class to the gymnasium as a result of the lunatic screaming of a roving naked (waist down) inebriate on the school playground. Adam recited the litany of hazards which may result from the chronic overindulgence of alcohol and after the sanitized tome (phys ed teacher written all over it) for good measure Oliver Fern added his two cents that pirates were a perfect example of the troubles of the quixiotic beverage, what with all the hijacking and maiming they get up to.
We were on our way to the university for the flowery spectacle of Yoshino cherry blossoms a couple of Saturdays ago but on the way I had a change of heart for as I contemplated the more I couldn’t bear the idea of rubbing shoulders with big-rig baby strollers and selfie sticks so when our bus arrived to the stadium the boys and I switched to the train and headed south for Kubota Garden. From the Othello Station to Kubota via foot on the Chief Sealth Trail is approximately 1.1 miles. Little old Vietnamese ladies with scoliosis regarded us with scornful amusement as we threaded our way through used condoms and discarded mattresses on the side of that first hill (rampant public dumping) which nevertheless affords an interesting view of the valley and power lines behind. An angry, barefoot woman struggling with an overloaded shopping car on the side of the hill nearly ran us over. Soon this was left behind and the paved path offers wonderfully voyeuristic views into large backyards with chickens, herbs and veggies.
Kubota Garden was lovely despite practically nil bursting of the bud. Greenness, at least. The Little Heart Bridge is peeling, it needs a paint job something bad. There were no security guards stalking the premises in search of tree-climbing ruffians! The boys loved hiding under the pines which have been poodledogged into elvish canopies with holes for children to stick their heads out like prairie dogs, they find Kubota enjoyable in spite of the questionable manicuring. On the way home, we stopped for a quick snack at the pizza place on Rainier Avenue and the boys dragged us into a hipster rummage sale that was just awful. Following this, brownies at the Columbia City Bakery. Not just regular brownies……. ludicrous brownies. What couldn’t be eaten without making ourselves sick was carried in a brown paper box down the street to the Columbia City branch of the library where we loaded up heavy. My library card was maxed out (fifty items) so Adam pulled out his card like a high roller and we did a lot of beeping and bipping at the self-checkout.
Moving closer to now, some time last weekend finally should have been the family outing to the university’s famed spectacle of cherry blossoms (that first time would’ve been too early) but upon receiving additional reports of partypooper campus security protecting old trees from the children not to mention a record-breaking number of selfie-sticks, Adam and I decided this was a job better tackled by the junior varsity: So we dropped Oliver Fern and his mother off at the Montlake Bridge. They had a lovely time of it on campus though there was the minor incident involving Oliver who being tall for his age yet still learning how to read, caused a temporary ruckus in Red Square after reaching up a metal pole to press a button for emergency assistance customarily reserved for those who have been assaulted by fraternity brothers or fans of the notorious recent Greek demagogue.
All the while, Adam and I engaged in early spring baseball on a mushy diamond at Dahl Playfield. This morning was the occasion of his first little league game, a tedious affair of base-on-balls rivaled perhaps only by the Cricket World Cup. I knew this would be the case and so Oliver Fern and I had taken our time arriving to the game via bus. While we waited for our ride to Garfield High School, lo and behold the proprietor of the best ice cream shop in Seattle stopped and shouted to Oliver and he informed me it was so-and-so’s mother from school. On the bus ride to the field I contemplated how wonderful it must be to have a mother who runs an ice cream shop. At any rate, about the game: Having receiving a mere two at-bats for his hours-long efforts on the splintered bench (stir crazy utility infielders started a round of fungo in the dugout) Adam was starving for catching and batting someplace and I ignored the disapproving glances from Wedgwood soccer moms unnerved by the bowlegged, werewolvish hoss throwing batting practice to the nerdy boy standing in a butterscotchy puddle at home plate in the raindrops. One hundred pitches was all I could manage (not counting just catch) but it was worth it- Adam was beaming at the end. Baseball fever! Before returning to the other side of the Ship Canal we stopped at the bookstore in Ravenna to treat ourselves to a handful of titles (despite reserving a certain enmity for this bookseller, the cause of which was a dictionary purchased from there some years ago which contained approximately 75 pages upside down).
On the Sunday following the baseball game, Oliver Fern and I boarded a ferry and crossed Puget Sound for an easy hike to the woods to a small lake and a pleasant sliver of salt water beach. The path in question has a reputation for bloodthirsty owls notorious for utilizing walkers’ noggins for portable helipads. At the beach on Port Orchard Narrows, we ate cookies and found what we decided was an early historical railroad spike (from the Puget 49er Bonanza Brilliant Diamond Mine which heretofore has remained secret in the annals of history) garnished and crusty with barnacles although it’s entirely possible the thing was thrown overboard from a tugboat in the 1970s.
This afternoon, Adam and I pushed Oliver Fern’s bike up the hill to school in short-sleeve sunshine. While preparing to cross the street so we could head back down to Miller Park (Adam and I played catch while Oliver drank a huge bottle of chocolate milk) an elderly man lay down in the middle of the street with one shoe off and traffic came to a standstill. Internally debating the rendering of assistance (but how) with shaky Oliver tipping back and forth on lopsided training wheels, the problem was solved when the fellow stood up and his pants drooped down to reveal a horrific old man wedgie and the geezer cackled and shuffle-darted to sidewalk safety. Thus was necessitated that thrice-yearly talk with the boys which spans mental health doozery, the straw-breaking craziness of real life and those frequent, curious going-ons at Seven Hills Park.
We played catch at Miller Park for a short duration. Adam has a surprisingly good arm but his glove is atrocious when we’re warming up so I had him stand against the brick wall of the community center so he wouldn’t have to chase every third miss. Ah, spring was in the air! Maybe it was the grass-stained baseball? Oliver finished his chocolate milk and rode his bike home the rest of the way (we spotted him on the hills). I preheated the oven for dinner and tucked the ice packs in my shoulders.