Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bill - Passing of a friend

While it had been my intention to be through with this posting site, news was just sent to the Port Gamble community which I want to personally comment on. It said in a letter from Shana:

    All of Port Gamble:
    It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I tell you that Bill Segerman passed away yesterday December 28th of an apparent heart attack. Bill was a friend to everyone he met and he leaves a great void and will be missed by all of us.

    We know very little else as his family is undergoing the shock from this news. We will share more information as it becomes available. Until then, please send out your prayers to his wife Martha, children, and family.

When one moves to a new community, the true "nice guys" are often the ones who show their faces first. They are the ones, like Bill, who aren't especially flashy, don't put themselves first, but always are there when you need them, willing to help, willing to give advice when asked, and never passing judgement on the people or events around him.

I knew from the first day I met him that Bill was special, that he could be relied  upon for any kind of help I might need, professional or otherwise, and he was willing to "go the extra distance" to make this new-comer feel welcome and comfortable.  I spoke with him a couple of times when I was writing a blog about someone in town and his perspective came from a jovial, positive viewpoint that was unmatched by anyone else here.

The loss of Bill will be felt for a long time by all of us here. It is especially hard in such a small town where everyone knows everyone (especially if he is a maintenance worker), but perhaps we will find some joy in realizing that we had the pleasure and privilege of knowing  a truly classic kind of guy, the kind of guy we may never forget.

A service will be held for Bill on Sunday, Jan. 2nd, at noon at the Hood Canal Vista Pavilion in Port Gamble (which he helped build). Everyone who mourns his loss is invited, in hopes that we might give each other strength.

God be with you, Bill

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A ending.

First the beginning.

There are several beginnings right now. The first day of winter. For  those of us who like to think we have "SAD" (Seasonal Affective Disorder), the first day of the days getting longer.  Or, as one of my sisters in law reminded me when she brought a celebration to our house, the event of the "winter solstice."

I'd heard of the winter solstice, knew little about it, but was intrigued by the notion of "a celebration of light" which she said it is. In a brief study of it, I found the name a bit confusing, "winter solstice", until I found it broken down into "sun" for sol and "stopped" for stice. Sure enough, we all know what few did in the dark ages, that our seasons are determined by the earth's tilt away from or toward the sun, rather than it's distance from the sun, so this stice is the stopping of the earth's tilt away from the sun (in the northern hemisphere) and the beginning of moving toward it. And stop it does. The days don't suddenly get longer, but for three or four days they stop and stay the same length until they get started down that path we love.

And what better way to celebrate this end of the dark nights than with light!!! with Christmas lights, for instance.  Here I am, a celebrator of the Winter Solstice, without even knowing it. BUT, in a bit of irony that we English speaking Christians understand, the event of the beginning of the time of the SUN coincides with the beginning of the time of the SON. Actually, the date of the beginning of the life of Jesus Christ (the son of God) has been determined to have been much closer to summer, and is thought to have been changed in the Dark Ages to its present date, probably by some frozen monk, looking for an excuse for a day off in December. But it is interesting that we now celebrate these two new lives at the same time.

So, thank you, Laura, for reminding me that the winter solstice is not some pagan holiday, but the beginning of more light in our days, which we all can celebrate. Especially Greg, who in a week or so will begin that long, slow process of taking down more lights than  any of us put up around our houses. Maybe next year some of us will present formidable challenges on the quantities of lights, but his position as "master of lights" on the east end of town is solid for another year.

And now the ending..........

I started "blogging" last spring when Kris and I first came to town. You all have been fun to write for and about, you opened the doors for me and told me secrets about this wonderful town which I have kept secret and will continue to do, but my health has lately told me it is time to let some one else tell the tales.

So, with MANY thanks for your many comments and great support, I bring this to an end.  I do hope that someone else can continue this because there are so many fascinating people, events, and stories here. And someone needs to tell about them. But thanks, Port Gamble, it was a lot of fun.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Country Christmas - final post

When a person like me gets behind a digital camera when there's lots of kids around, that person can go crazy when he sees how many photos he can take. Hundreds go on that little card that comes out of the camera.

So he takes hundreds and does nothing with them? No, he digs out some of the best and lets people see the fun those kids were having at the event ... like at the Country Christmas, for instance. I'll TRY to keep my comments to a minimum, but by now, you know me .....

Santa, every where you turned

But ALL the kids LOVED him.

This one had ALMOST too much.

He's enjoying the long wait for  Santa.

I've heard there are times of the year that ice cream should not be eaten. NOT!!!!!


Let's see. When I hit this big piece of metal with a wooden stick
.... I bet it's loud.

Haven't I met you somewhere before? Oh yeah. You-re my brother.

Santa is EVERYWHERE! Well, so are kids and they go very well together.

I'm sure I've seen these two guys somewhere ... was it in a Western with Clint Eastwood?
My mother is no doubt sitting up in her grave about now. She LOVED bagpipes.
Wow. This was worth getting dressed up for!!

If you are going to have your picture taken, you are going to have to look good.

The next planned weekend event for families doesn't seem to be until Summer. I heard mention of a town wide Easter Egg Hunter. That sounds like fun to me.

All this, plus there's a cookie under here too? TOO MUCH !!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Country Christmas, Day one, Part 2

I hope you are keeping track of all this. We are checking photos of both the Christmas lights and the Country Christmas' first day, the latter being the subject for this post.

There were all kinds of activities going on around town, these folks were trying a little wine tasting (which will still be happening Sunday).

The festival  was started mainly for kids, several years ago, although some adult activities have snuck in. But kids didn't HAVE to be involved. This young child has chosen to just "hang around" all day (yes, you can moan now), and what a time she had with Mother right there behind her.

Shop owners, too, got into the picture. If they weren't answering questions they were cleaning up the place, like Sheila was doing.

Lots of the products being sold were edible, some were not,

but the kids could all tell the difference. This boy knows what gingerbread is for .... and it's not for making houses!!!
It didn't seem to matter where Santa or the kids were, they always found each other.

And those kids ALWAYS found the gingerbread .... TASTY!!

Upstairs in the General Store was this group providing excellent live music. I wouldn't exactly call them a "rock band", however.

Give him, what? 2 years, and he will be as tall as the nutcracker?

And finally, three people who have their work cut out for them. It seems a tradition at Port Gamble, a new tradition anyway, that a major facility be put into place each year. The new Pavilion was a couple years ago, showing Olympic Property Groups'  serious interest in providing a quality facility for weddings, meetings and other gatherings.

Next came the remodel of the stables (or more recently a maintenance building) into a first class retail store, which  shows OPG's continuing interest in providing a unique shopping venue.

And now? Now comes OPG's plans to refurbish, remodel, and in a way recreate a top-notch theater for live performances for the north Kitsap area.  And these three can and will make it happen. The  building? The community center now housing the post office, which has an open third floor which began its life as a basketball court for the mill workers.

On the left is Tom, head of maintenance who over saw the construction on the other buildings. He knows how to get construction done, on time and in budget, and he knows how to use the expertise of others when needed. If it needs to be on time, on budget, and safely done, you'll see Tom behind it.

On the right is Shana, the representative of OPG to the community, the excellent link between the board of OPG and the people who live and work here. She's the one with the picture in her head of what Port Gamble can and will be, never stuck on a static view, always willing to let things change when it's needed to make things better.

Those two are the paid staff. Willing to add his interest and considerable experience in live performances is Scott, having been involved in live theater across the years and the country. He is not going to let OPG end with anything but the best  for the building, and has the ties to make sure the best people are using it once it is finished. And don't worry about his appearance ... he's dressed and made up for his appearance in A Christmas Carol as Scrooge, now showing in the facility to be remodeled.

I marvel at this project, knowing there is a lot to be done, it is a real challenge for OPG, but just another step in their efforts to  make the most of  this town.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Country Christmas - Day 1

There is so much going on around this small town that it is getting hard to remember everything. But one thing happened I do NOT want to forget, and that is the comment from Margaret in Nelson, New Zealand,  which showed it's face at the end of  the last post, the end of "Christmas Lights, Part 2".

I don't know how many of you write blogs, but I can attest to the fact that those of us who do, like to hear from people just to remind us that someone is reading. Most of us subscribe to some kind of statistic service to make sure we are not simply spitting into the wind, but those are never accurate because anybody can put a cookie somewhere to block the statistic service.

So, Margaret, thanks very much for the thought!!  Especially from someplace having summer right now.

Today was the first day of the "Country Christmas" and it was great fun!!!. I took lots of photos, but I'm told the more I put in of a reasonable size, the longer it takes some computers to open them. So I'll just put in a dozen or so with a few comments, and we will see about tomorrow for more.

This young lady was one of MANY cute kids who came to eat, color, make ginger bread houses, talk to  Santa, and generally have a good time. I thought we could find Gene Kelly and they  could do a duet of singing in the rain. I know, I know my age is showing. But I heard some woman talking to an older man and she asked, "Who is this Howdie Doodie you keep talking about?"  Ouch! Time marches on.
And today I thought I finally found the real Santa. After all, who would wear this hat?

and this sweatshirt

  Except the man himself !!

But then I went to a place where I found this (and PLEASE do not show this to your children).
But I know which one the REAL one is. He's the one I caught starting his speech to the elves about the hard economic times and increase in population, etc. 

You can't tell me he's not the REAL S. Clause. I guess I could ask his wife ... she will be at the Tea Room at a later date.

But the people today were really fun. Renee was telling me that she enjoys this holiday so much because she was born on Christmas. But I couldn't get a non-blurry picture of her because she moves so fast working at the General Store. And you can tell how badly her co-workers did NOT want their photos taken (yeah, right!)

I promise to show you the people who came ... tomorrow.

Christmas Lights - part 2

I'm continuing with the commercial side of town, since I have seen a few more lights coming up on the residential side, and I want to give them time to finish. So, continuing on our way ...

I noticed some of the reindeer must have gotten loose. These two in front of the quilt store should probably be
with ...

this one, which was in front of the pavilion. I tried to get a bunch of photos at the pavilions, since it is really lit up  nicely, but I kept interrupting parties

I had a man ask me, while I was putting up more lights, if I had any idea how many lights are shining in Port Gamble. Whew! What a question!!!  I would be overjoyed to know, but I wouldn't know where to start. This photo, for instance, shows white icicle lights for over a block on the right, and colored icicle lights for nearly the same distance on the left.

Let's see, maybe we can do this. A 300 light string of icicle lights is 14.5 feet long (and to confuse things even more, that varies). The blocks here are approximately 550 feet long. 36 strings to go one side of one block.....hmmm 72 strings to go both sides, which would be about 21,600 lights just to do one block of the lights on the fences. But wait, there's more. The people of Port Gamble manage to find icicle lights which are quite a bit longer on the part hanging down than us poor people. So for 2/3 of the distance I am going to add another 50% to the number of bulbs used, making a grand total of (drum roll, please):

For the lighting of the picket fence for approximately 2 blocks on both sides of the street and for approx. one block on one side of the street, it would take approximately 74,220. Now add all the other lights (rule of thumb, 100 lights per 1 foot of height for a tree, so  add up the height of all the lit trees and multiply by 100, all the fencing going to the stores or houses  from the picket fencing, and the other displays as well as the lights around the tennis courts, one can easily imagine using 100,000 lights in Port Gamble.

And when we use that many lights it brings to life such buildings as the Walker Amer house
or the event planning house or
the official Port Gamble tree or

the two nutcrackers  guarding the entrance to the Post Office building.

I'll have more in another day or two.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Addition To The Port Gamble Family

If you live, work, or just visit Port  Gamble, you know Lonnie (sorry, I never use last names on the internet). He lives here and he works here, and he is raising his family here. Meet his daughter, Lillian Grace:

When I took this photo a couple weeks ago, she was 19 days old, and like her father she appeared to be strong as an ox. She was looking all over, not raising much of a fuss, and looked to me like she would have her brother whipped into shape in no time. She seems to be a determined young lady, so for instance she stayed in her first "residence" much longer than was planned, but when she decided to join the rest of us, she put in maybe three hours labor and was here, all 8 pounds and small change of her.

And I would have had her photo here sooner, but it migrated around my CompactFlash card until I was sure I'd lost it. But it is found again, so I'm proud to be able to show you she has safely arrived!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The lights of Port Gamble

I keep saying it ... this little town is fun. Yes, I made a few wise cracks about a contest for lighting the town, yes I made it clear that the "King Of the Lights Is Dead", yes there were some people that jokingly told me that I should be strung up instead of the lights, but I'm also told that even though a lot of people still have plans for lights, we already have as bright a display as has been seen for quite some time. In fact just today Kris got this unsolicited note from one of her customers:

       "Upon returning from the Seattle Symphony last Thursday our bus driver, Tom from Silver City buses,    detoured through Port Gamble so we could enjoy the beautiful lights.  Oh what a beautiful sight to see especially the Quilted Strait display.  Thank you making the world a beautiful place to live in." (I haven't included her name because I didn't get permission.)

Since I'm told that many more lights are coming, I'm going to add a couple of houses or businesses each day to this post.  So keep coming back to "The Lights of Port Gamble" to see the lights this town has put up. I'll  keep adding them to this post.

We begin with the obvious, the place where the world of light at Christmas begins, at the church. As you can see, the lights don't have to be bright, glaring, or obtrusive. I was glad to see that the lights added a warmth to the picture, even though they are a cool white. They just add a dimension of depth that isn't otherwise there.

I've got no better name for this than "A River Runs Through It." Now I have not seen Greg's  work before, since this is Kris and my first Christmas living here, but this warmed my heart when I went looking for photo ops. Greg out  did himself, although there's some good work done on the commercial buildings, and some houses with no lights still to complete their work.

Greg has a way of taking just one element, then adding a bunch more to make the feeling you get
that if a person keeps staring, he will find so much more.

Thanks, Greg, you are an inspiration!  That's this year. Next year? Your lights are HISTORY!!

I mentioned that I'm going to try adding some lights to this each day, especially in hopes that some of you will continue to add some lights each day. Why? Check out this picture.
A few lights around the porch, some down the fence, and what a nice setting we have.  We could be doing this all over town. I'll show you more tomorrow.

Well, it's now "tomorrow", and I do indeed have some more buildings to show. First, I want to show you the low lit area of town, which unfortunately is our front door, the highway.
Fortunately, Sean and the Gable Coffee Co. put up some lights or a visitor might  miss us. I guess next year  I better do a better job of lighting up the entrance as well.
When you get closer you reealize Sean does indeed have some tasteful lighting. Speaking of tasteful lighting, check out this view of the Tea Room. They managed to put out enough lights that they should get a "Thank You" note from Puget Energy without overdoing it.

And it amazes me how one can add a little item like this:

and make the display so much more attractive. Attention to detail, I guess it's called.
And of course Tom, Bill, and Kathy have been digging into Shana's slush fund to help make us all look better.

One more look at the full effect one gets when everyone works together:
More again tomorrow or the next day.