Waterslide Time Machine

Family vacations are usually great for making new memories. Yesterday, while Henry and Ruby were busy with that, Kristine and I relived some old memories from our youth. We spent the day at Atlantis Waterslide Park in Vernon, BC.

Hit me with your best shot by Pat Benatar was playing as we entered the park. That was followed by Billy Idol, The Rolling Stones, Guns & Roses and Van Halen. We hadn’t entered a waterslide park; we’d entered a time machine. It was 1986.

With the soundtrack of our youth playing all day, we rode the slides, sunbathed and ordered food from teens working the snack bar. Kristine and I reminisced about our respective hometown waterslide experiences at Splash Down (Spokane) and Moby Dick (Omaha). I even relived the experience of being reprimanded by the lifeguard when I wore my sunglasses down the slide – a flagrant disregard for the rules.

Atlantis continued to crank the hits from the 80s and 90s, tuned in to The Beach 107.5 FM. Henry and Ruby thoroughly enjoyed the day. I think they even liked the music. They spent most of the time riding the slides together, with periodic visits to our spot on the lawn to tug Kristine or me up the hill to go down the Zoom Tube, River Raft or Double Trouble.

By late afternoon, after six fun-filled hours, the air became a little too thick with smoke from the BC wildfires, so we called it a day. As we drove south toward Kelowna on Highway 97, the kids quickly fell asleep from exhaustion. Kristine turned on the radio. The station? The Beach, 107.5.

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Bike-Mow-Reflect

Sometimes a long bike ride is as relaxing as lying on the beach with a cool beverage. Today was one of those days. I rode 28 miles roundtrip to mow the lawn at Fry Lodge Mud Bay.

The one-hour-fifteen-minute ride from one end of Lopez Island to another was a good opportunity to reflect on life. It’s interesting how my mind wanders on these long rides that put me into a meditative state.

My mom turned 77 today. After mowing my lawn, I called to wish her happy birthday. She was in Colorado, about to enter a restaurant for a birthday party of a friend whom she’d driven 1000 miles to surprise. It wasn’t even her friend’s actual birthday. Celebrating somebody else’s birthday on her own birthday. Classic Kaye.

My trip to Lopez was bookended by ferry rides. Such a beautiful way to travel – especially when a bike allows you to skip the hour-long car line to board.

It was a very relaxing, thought-provoking day. I think I need a cool beverage on a beach to recover.

Reliving Khan’s Wrath 

In the summer of 1982, my sister, Kelley,  took me to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We somehow got the start time wrong and arrived too late to see the movie. Kelley quickly assured me that we could catch a later showing, so we went home with the plan of returning later that evening. At home, to kill some time before going back to the theater, we watched some TV. Coincidentally, a rerun of an old episode from the original ’60s Star Trek series was on. Better yet, it happened to be the episode that introduced the villain character, Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban. So, when we saw the movie later that night, we were probably the most prepared in the theater (with the exception of maybe some diehard Trekkies). It turned out to be one of my favorite movies from childhood, and I’ll always remember that my 19-year-old sister took her 10-year-old brother to see it. 

That fond memory resurfaced this morning when Kristine told me about an article she was reading discussing the controversy surrounding the realness of Ricardo Montalban’s pecs in Star Trek II. By all accounts, they were very real. In the course of our research, we realized that, to celebrate the movie’s 35th anniversary, a director’s cut version is playing in Bellingham’s movie theater. We immediately decided we needed to take the kids to see it tonight. Before going, I insisted Henry and Ruby watch the 1960s Khan episode, “Space Seed” – the same Star Trek episode my sister and I watched in 1982. 

Thirty-five years after seeing it for the first time, The Wrath of Khan was awesome. It was preceded by an interview with William Shatner, who vouched for Montalban’s pecs and told some good stories about the making of the movie. I’m pretty sure I was the most excited for the experience. Henry enjoyed it. Kristine made fun of some of the dialogue and special effects. Ruby fell asleep. 

There’s an old Klingon proverb: Revenge is a dish best served with buttered popcorn. 

Family Trees 

The back side of Fry Lodge is a fish bowl. Up ’til now, with only a family of deer living behind us, this hasn’t been an issue. But we know it’s only a matter of time before we have neighbors staring into our back yard, living room and bedroom. This weekend we decided to invest in our future privacy with some tree planting. Each family member picked out, planted and named their own tree: Branchee (Ruby), Bobert (Henry), Katie (Kristine) and Howie (mine). The trees are supposed to grow at a rate of six inches per year. We should have a private back yard by about 2040.

Fry Lodge Mixed Media 

It’s been a summer of creativity so far at Fry Lodge. Screens have been *mostly* pushed aside to make room for sketch books. Henry and Ruby have discovered Manga. Now, instead of fighting over who gets the computer, they fight over who gets the Manga how-to manual. This morning, Ruby woke up at 6AM and immediately started drawing in her sketch book. She’s such a perfectionist when it comes to art. Henry’s work, just as creative, has been on the more practical end of the spectrum. The other day he drew a yellow chalk center line all the way up the access road behind our house. It confused the hell out of the construction crew building the house next door. 

The summer’s art hasn’t been limited to drawing. Today, Ruby turned to science experiments in the kitchen. I’m a little nervous about the road ahead. 

New center line, courtesy Henry 

Seattle Field Trip 

The Fry Family Quartet spent the day as tourists in our former hometown today. While I biked between business meetings, Kristine, Henry and Ruby visited some of our favorite Emerald City places. Daily Dozen Donuts and the comic store in the Pike Place Market, Ballard, and PCC in Fremont. We ended the day with a picnic at Gasworks Park near the old Fry Lodge in Wallingford, while we waited for traffic to subside to an acceptable level before our drive north back to Bellingham. Seattle: a great place to visit. 

The Cedar Chest 

When my dad was 19, he bought my mom a cedar chest. I never knew how the cedar chest made its way into our family. I just remember it always being around – the place where we stored old family photos, birth certificates, baptismal gowns, and other family heirlooms. When I was a young boy, sitting on the floor of our rec room, I would occasionally open it up to sift through its contents. I loved the smell of cedar that would waft out as I opened the lid. I could keep myself busy for hours looking at black and white photos and my parents’ wedding album. I’m pretty sure I was the only person to regularly look through it, so the cedar chest became my hiding place for my own secret treasures. That’s where I kept my baseball cards.

This Memorial Day weekend, Kristine, the kids and I traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to help my parents move out of their house on Lake Coeur d’Alene, where they have lived for 20 years. That chest has sat untouched in a closet under my parents’ stairs for those two decades. My mom and dad have known for a while that I’ve had my eye on the cedar chest, so they are now ready to part ways with it. As she cleaned it out in preparation for our visit, my mom said she found my old baseball cards. She also found old photos of my dad and her from the dances they attended at Gonzaga Prep and Gonzaga University in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Henry and Ruby got a kick out of those.

Today, we all visited my parents’ house on the lake for the last time. My dad helped me load that cedar chest in the minivan. When we get back to Bellingham, that cedar chest is where I’m going to keep the memorabilia of Fry Lodge. I wonder if Henry or Ruby will develop their own relationship with that piece of furniture. Either way, I’m sure I’ll occasionally find myself sitting in front of it with the lid open, as the smell of cedar washes memories over me.

Goodbye, Fry Lodge Rockford Bay