This past weekend the family met up in Seattle to commemorate the 5th anniversary of dad passing by planting a tree at our church in Washington. It was a simple, understated affair that consisted of the three of us planting the tree with Granny watching over us.
Mom chose an english beech tree, that has bright green leaves that stand out against the horizon of deep evergreens. It should grow to be about 45-60 ft tall, and provide plenty of shade for the playground adjacent to the church building.
That was the purpose of the trip, but there were plenty of other highlights that made this trip a great memorial weekend.
Number one on the list would be visiting with friends from church. I haven’t seen some of our WA friends in 5-7 years. It’s crazy how some conversations pick up right where they have left off despite time and distance in-between visits. I would put that up there pretty high on the list of things that you can expect from a good friend. Conversations are never a strain.
Then there are always the great awkward conversations. Talking for 15 minutes with a person before you remember their name, not remembering the person at all, or the dreaded ‘did I ever know you to begin with?’ conversation. Despite some of the initial awkwardness these conversations can be pretty fun as well.
Friday night we ventured down to Snoqualmie Falls and had dinner in the park with the fame. I got some great photos and had some great quiet time watching the waterfall. It may seem simple, but there is a lot of peace that comes from standing in awe at what nature has to offer. Standing there, I was reminded that the world will continue to move on whether or not I am there to watch.
It also afforded to the most potentially awkward moment of the weekend with mom. Me, Mi Hermana, Madre and (whatever the the Spanish is for) Granny were sitting around the picnic table enjoying a nice dinner. Mom broke in with the unintentionally awkward question for me and Shar, “So what’s your favorite memory of coming down to the falls?” The first thing through my mind were the names of the girls that I had spent time with there. So was the second, the third, and fourth. And if memory serves me correctly, possibly the fifth. I looked at Shar and she had the same ‘there’s no way I’m telling mom’ look on her face. Fortunately, she responded with a simple, ‘pass’ which allowed me the time to go down the mental list far enough to find something family picnic friendly. I don’t think mom caught on, but me and Shar did have a great brother-sister moment.
Saturday morning I took a tour of the Seahawks training facility courtesy of a friend who runs security. It was awesome to walk through such a high-end facility, and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of throwing a football on a professional football field. I also got to see Pete Carrol’s office. I texted a picture of the office plaque to several friends who immediately texted back the same thing, ‘Fight On!’.
Saturday afternoon the whole crew took a boat tour of puget sound. It was a pretty peaceful time. I got to take a lot of pictures of downtown and Mt Ranier. It also afforded me the opportunity to say ‘I’m on a boat!’ enough times to wear out that joke with my sister. Throw in a few minutes at pike place market and I walked away reminded that sometimes it is fun to play tourist in your old hometown.
That night me, share and her friend sam headed down to Safeco Field and picked up tix to a Mariner’s game. We had right field upper deck bleacher seats but we opted to sit right behind the right field foul pole until the usher kicked us out. We grabbed a bit and kicked it out in center field over the bullpen for a while. After taking a couple of innings to tour the stadium (see hanging out in the aisles until spotted by ushers) we headed back to the right field foul pole for the 7th inning on. I’m sure we could have managed better seats but it was a matter of principle. We would not be denied potential foul ball seats. Needless to say it was a great night with lots of laughs, and despite the fact that the Mariners lost we all had a great time.
Sunday morning we got to worship with our old congregation at Woodinville Church of Christ. It was a surreal experience. Sitting there in the same pews we used to sit on so long ago brought back a lot of good memories. Singing a lot of the same songs, with a lot of the same people etc was kind of like being in a parallel universe a la Back to the Future 2. Fortunately I was not actually stuck in time. Unfortunately there were still no hoverboards.
After a long lunch, and a great Sunday nap. We were back at it again for Woodinville’s 5th Sunday singing in the evening. A lot of friends came from all over the NW to say hello, and it was a great time of worship with family that transcends blood, and geography. The highlight for me was getting to share the invitation thought at my old church. I stepped up to the mic and was immediately reminded that this location was the first place I spoke publicly in Church. It was a great moment that brought a lot of joy to the next few minutes that were spent talking about dad.
If anyone is reading this that is not part of a church family, I would highly recommend that you allow God to direct you to a local church community. There is a joy that simply can not be described, or felt outside of knowing that you have a common bond through Christ. Our family spent the better part of last night sharing time, stories, a meal, and even a few tears of joy with people that we connect with on a deep, soul level, that simply cannot compare with other common allegiances.
I’m still processing a lot of the other thoughts from the weekend. Fortunately I have a couple of hours in the airport and a three hour plane ride home to sort that stuff out. In the mean time, a big thank you to Mi Madre for being dedicated to planting the tree for dad, the Woodinville Church family for allowing us to plant that memorial there, the Jackson family for putting me up for a few days, Shar for providing the laughs and God for blessing the whole weekend.
And one last pic, my favorite from the weekend:
One love, one heart.