November 26, 2019

This photo must have been taken at 3 am. I have never seen Hartsfield this uncrowded

Dateline: Seattle, Washington

And it’s back to the Pacific Northwest for Thanksgiving and some family time before returning back to Birmingham for holiday madness. The journey here today was uneventful. The Thanksgiving crowds haven’t quite started to inundate the nation’s highways, byways, and airports and even the dreaded halls of Hartsfield International weren’t too horrible. Staying with my father at his senior living facility where I will sing for my supper tomorrow by giving a talk to the residents on various aspects of aging. It’s become a bit of a routine and I’ve found the easiest thing to do is to ask for some questions in advance, and then riff for ninety minutes or so until everyone’s sick of everything I have to say.

The last couple of weeks of Birmingham life have been relatively quiet. Been rehearsing my role in JM Barrie’s Dear Brutus which opens on the 12th. Barrie is rather wordy and rather specific in his Edwardian idioms making it a challenge to learn the lines. I have Acts I and III down but Act II, in which I have sixteen pages of dialogue with a twelve year old girl, is not sticking yet. It’s about half way there. One of my young cousins is a theater kid and I’m looking into pressing him into service to run lines some this week while I’m up here as I have to be off book by next Monday.

I’m busy making lists for some winter projects to accomplish over the next few months when I’m not in rehearsal, mainly about organizing my life and my stuff in preparation for downsizing in the next year or so. I’m tired of home repair and dealing with yard so condo it shall eventually be. I’ll be looking to rehome certain things that have useful life as I’m trying to simplify so don’t be surprised if I turn up at your place with an offer to donate something you never knew you needed.

Mainly catching up on family news and gossip tonight before retiring early. Flying cross country always makes me tired, even though I’m really just sitting there for hours. I’ve taken to spending the extra money for Delta Comfort + seats so I don’t develope leg cramps somewhere over South Dakota. Talking over old family times with my father always makes me recognize that I did relatively well with the luck of the draw regarding parents. The two chief rules of aging: Choose your parents carefully and trust to sheer dumb luck… The beached cruise ship of a senior living facility he lives in is a couple of blocks south of Northgate mall in North Seattle. Northgate was one of the original malls built in the 50s and has been a fixture for decades. It’s dying as brick and mortar in general dies and has lost most of its anchor tenants in the last couple of years. The lands too valuable in the Seattle of today for it to sit empty and it will become repurposed into something else eventually.

Northgate of many years ago…

I think the first time I truly remember being at Northgate was when I was about six and my parents took me out to the toy store there and bought me my first two wheeler bicycle for me for my birthday. I rode that bike out of the store and down the mall, complete with training wheels and felt like the king of all I could survey. The training wheels came off a few weeks later and I did a lot of falling over in the back alley until I got the hang of it. Once I did get it, I was zooming all over the neighborhood with the other kids my age. I definitely came from a gang of free range children who ran around the neighborhood in our own tribal society. Fortunately, there were always enough watchful adult eyes to prevent anything devolving into full Lord of the Flies. The bicycle survived for years. It was passed down to my younger siblings eventually. I think my brother eventually scrapped it, in his eventually successful quest to become a racing cyclist. (He was, for a while, one of the top ranked bicycle racers on the west coast).

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