Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

24 July 2016

First Times If Not Fast Times

The first time I went to The SweetRiver Bakery was the very first day I arrived in Brewster back in 2011. It had been an arduous journey on my motorcycle. The last 1,000 miles were rainy and cold, a challenge to even the most stalwart, dedicated motorcyclist, which I’m not. I was tired and wet and, frankly, just happy to be somewhere.

Shortly after parking the bike at our company headquarters which were then at the Brewster Airport, before I even had a chance to unpack, Mikey showed up and hijacked me. “Come on!” he said, ushering me out to his truck. We hightailed it down to the Bakery, which he had been telling me about for the past couple of years that he’d been coming to Brewster.

As soon as we walked in, they greeted Mikey the way the people at Cheers did to Norm on that old t.v. show (i.e. like a celebrity). Before he even said anything they were already making him a large “Carne” (meat lovers) pizza. He introduced me to the employees and I felt warmly accepted simply for being Mikey’s friend. We sat outside…had the place to ourselves since the weather was so dismal. We ate pizza and drank wine until our stomachs were full and we were both good and drunk. It was awesome.

Welcome to Brewster!

And even though it was an otherwise-unremarkable day, it was still a magical experience in that I was with an old friend in a new place, meeting new people, embarking on a new job flying a new (to me) helicopter in an area of the country that was strikingly beautiful in spite of the dreary, low-overcast weather conditions.

I sat there with Mikey, thinking about how strange my life is…how I do all these weird-ass things and how I’m in grave danger of fulfilling my parent’s biggest fear and never growing up. (I get pensive when I drink wine.) It might not have been the most exciting moment of my life, but it definitely was one of the most sublime. It ranks right up there.

Since that fateful day I’ve been to the Bakery countless times. Alex, Donna, Barb and the rest of their crew have become like an extended family.

Last week one of my closest friends, Matt, my partner-in-grime, who I’ve known forever and who’s been on so many adventures with me both in the air and on the ground, came up to Brewster. Of course he wanted to see the sights. Of course we went to The Bakery. And thankfully it was jam-packed.

It might not have been the same kind of experience for Matt as it was for me at first, but hey, at least he got to see what I’ve been writing about for the last six years. The beauty of this area is it’s nothingness. It really is the middle of nowhere. And so places like The Bakery stand out, maybe more than they would in a city like Seattle. Or Atlanta. Or even Pensacola.

But that doesn’t make it any less special.

10 July 2016

The Bakery Experience

I write a lot about the fun we have at great places like The SweetRiver Bakery, Smallwood Farms and The Club Sports Bar. And I try not to embellish any of the things that happen. But sometimes visitors will come up to Brewster and they specifically want to see this bakery that I keep blathering on and on about. They want the “bakery experience.”

So we’ll go there…

And sure enough, it’ll be an “off” night. There won’t be a band, there won’t be much of a crowd, and Alex isn’t up there being his usual goofball self and cajoling people into singing karaoke. We’ll sit at one of the outside tables, just chilling and drinking beer, and I can tell that the visitor is, well, less than impressed. The expression on their face is one of, “Ho-hum, so this is it, eh? Meh. I could‘ve had more fun if I‘d stayed home and watched my Chia pet grow.” Sometimes they say that out loud. It is perhaps not the magical, thrill-a-minute, exciting time they expected…that I make it out to be.

Because that’s just life. This is, after all, Brewster, Washington. It’s about as far off the beaten track as you can get. It’s halfway between Middle of Nowhere and Bumphuck, Egypt. There are no…as in zero bars in Brewster. “The” bar (Kodi’s) is six miles downriver in Pateros. In Brewster, there are three restaurants, and they all have “Mexican” in their name. (Although having said that, our McDonalds is fixing to reopen after being closed for two years due to a, ahem, “fire.”)

We go to The Bakery because it's basically the only place around where people can congregate and eat and have a good time. But that doesn’t mean it’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve every weekend. It ain’t Bourbon Street. Sometimes these places are pretty boring. Sometimes we are pretty boring.

And so for every night that somebody gets up and drunkenly karaokes “I’m On A Boat” (Note below) at The Bakery there might be two nights that we’ll just sit around with nothing happening. I like it when things are jumping, but I happen to enjoy the off nights too. And when it’s “lit” (as the kids say), we have an incredibly good time.

But it could go either way.

NOTE: “I’m On A Boat” is a…ahhhh…I guess you could say it’s a parody of a rap/hip-hop song by a couple of white guys. I won't post the video here, but I’ve put a link to the YouTube video. But be warned: it's raunchy - definitely something you don’t want your kids to hear. (And yeah, someone really did karaoke it at the Bakery. It's a long story. And it was perhaps not our finest moment.)