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.


Bob said...

Oh man, you're making me want to come up there!

Bob Barbanes: said...

Bob, I'm almost hesitant to write too much about this area of Washington State. It's so undiscovered and unspoiled. Bringing more tourists would ruin it. And yet...and yet...

I see these travel magazines that boast on their cover, "Ten Best Undiscovered, Out-Of-The-Way Beaches!" And I think to myself, "Not anymore!" We've spoiled the Grand Canyon...spoiled Yellowstone...spoiled Four Corners. Once we Americans discover someplace, we *all* flock there to revel in and enjoy the unspoiledness.

I thought about this tonight ("Prime Rib Night") at this place we go to called The Club. On one hand, it's just a local sports bar that serves food - the only bar in town actually, that town being Okanogan, WA. On the other hand, they serve really good food! You wouldn't expect such good food from such a hole-in-the-wall place. But their steaks rival the "steak place" down in Pateros where you can go and pay $32 for a steak that's...meh.

Washington is an incredible state. There is so much to see and do, so many different types of land, from rain forests to deserts to Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. And so I...cautiously...urge everyone to visit. Once. And then go home ;)

But if/when you come, you absolutely must hit The Bskery, Smallwood Farms and The Club. Oh, and maybe Blueberry Hills too down in the town of Manson on Lake Chelan. And if you get here before Thanksgiving, I'll be happy to show you around!