Quantity or Quality?

We all have a limited time here on Mother Earth. How do we spend that time? Does quantity trump quality? Or is it the other way around? Do we want to live a long life, or do we want to live? Whatever the answer, it is a uniquely personal one. We all need to keep this in mind. How we look at it may not be the same as our family or friends.

Most, if not all, of us have been in a position of dealing with a loved one who is dealing with a life-threatening situation. “Do whatever it takes!” “You have to think of the kids” “What would your wife (husband) do without you?” “So what if it hurts, you’ll live 6 months longer!”

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Old Men, Stories and Beer

We gather daily in the dark cave like bats returning from a night of foraging. As we settle into our roosts and eyes adjust to the familiar murkiness, beers appear and pleasantries are exchanged. “Good to see you, John.” “Good to be seen Mike!” “How are you feeling today Bob?” “With my fingers as usual!” Laughter rises to join the nicotine stains on the ceiling. Old retired men, some by choice, others forced into it by a world that favors the “New and Improved” over the “Tried and True.” We gather here to dull the floundering of our lives with beer and bourbon. Souls gone wandering, but not yet lost, using each other as anchor lines to sanity.

Joe shows off his missing front tooth, proudly explaining how he yanked it out himself using pliers. “Ain’t got no insurance so…POP! Done!” I cringe a little but offer up the strongest “Right on!” I can muster.

Burl shows up with 2 baggies of freshly smoked salmon. “Caught these last week, aint any fresher!” He passes the bags around then grabs a beer. Damn good fish! Damn good! The salty tang going perfectly with the IPA. Better than store bought, that’s for sure.

Talk around the bar settles into a low drone as the old men discuss the salmon, where the best places are, how much better the fishing was 40 years ago, what the best bait is. Karl starts talking about his days as a crabber while eyes roll. Karl has told this story so many times we all could recite it, but it’s okay. Karl is old, he’s entitled here. This cave lost too many bats over the past year. Cancer, age, accidents. Karl is close and we all know it. Better to hear his old stories today.

I glance up at the TV to watch the noiseless words flow from the talking heads. Old men, their stories, and a beer. I smile a little and go back to listening to Karl, nodding along with the others, and adjusting the anchor line.

Gregor

Old Men, Stories and Beer Pt II

La Conner WA – Day Trip

After our wonderful day in the mountains on Saturday, a trip to the coast was in order for Sunday so we decided to head up to La Conner. Sitting on the Swinomish channel, across from the Swinomish Reservation, La Conner is a typical coastal town, full of tourist type shops, antique stores and restaurants. During the summer months it can be hard to find a place to park in town, so go early. If you want to go during the Tulip Festival in the spring, my best advice is to book a room at one of the little inns in La Conner at least a year in advance. I’m not kidding. During the festival, this little town can quadruple the number of people it normally handles. Little tidbit of history on the town; When it was first settled in the 1860’s it’s name was Swinomish. A couple of years after settlement, a Mr Conner bought the trading post (and thus the town) and changed the name of the town to La Conner. Ah, Mr Conner must have been of French descent you say. Non! Turns out Mr Conners’ wife’s name was Louisa Ann Conner. Yup, he named it after her, and the La is just her initials. Feel informed and excited now, don’t you?

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