the salmon are here!…the salmon are here!

No salmon met with a more uproarious welcome than those returning to spawn…and die…in our small town this past weekend. If we could only bottle “Salmon Days” and sprinkle its contents over the country, we might see an upturn in the overall economy. There seemed no end to the numbers of customers…browsing…and buying…from the vendors selling food and crafts. My husband and I agreed we’d not seen so many people when we frequented the festival some years ago. Perhaps the dry, sunny weather was a contributing factor.

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We wandered the backroads and main roads of downtown, eyeing booth after booth of delectable offerings. Flavorful aromas tickled our noses. I could’ve eaten one of almost everything sold. Instead I stepped into the first short line I saw, and got a “kids hot dog.” All the other dogs were foreign…Polish sausageGerman bratwurst and the like. The cashier informed me , rather snippily, when I asked for a regular hot dog, that the “kids hot dog” was it. Okay, I thought…everyone should know that.

I made the mistake of ordering curly fries to go with my dog. At $7 a pop, I got more than I bargained for…a large block of deep-fried, high cholesterol boosters! A passerby stopped to comment “That’s a block of fries!” To which I responded “I’d no idea what I was in for!” We both laughed, as did others around us.

Hubby and I polished off half the fries, giving the rest to a family of 5, three of them teens. They happily accepted, their mouths too full of the fries they’d already finished to thank us. No matter! My mom’s motto of Waste not; want not!” was furthered. That made me feel good.

It wasn’t easy taking pictures with people coming and going from all directions. Most paid no heed to my stopping to set up a shot. They kept on walking. A few apologized, or waited. I told them not to worry, that they should keep on going. After all, I was trying to remain inconspicuous. I didn’t want folks objecting to my photographing them, or their wares. Crafters are very wary of having their ideas stolen. I don’t blame them, having been one myself for many years.

Of course dogs were welcome. Most seemed okay with the idea of wending through legs and strollers. Some led; others let their owners do the leading. Some had to be coaxed. Some looked like they wanted off their leash to go bounding hither and yon of their own accord. Now that would’ve been a sight!

The salmon…what about the salmon? I’ve never known the fish to care about all the hoopla that surrounds them. They lie in the bottom of the creek doing their thing, unaware of all the prying eyes trying to spy what exactly it is the salmon are doing. Kids are curious. Adults explain the best they can. Docents are nearby to offer information. I’m with the salmon…

…we’re just doing our thing…they’re swimming and spawning…i’m pointing and shooting…with my trusty little, red, canon…

………hugmamma.

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“point, and shoot!”

Had a great “date day” with my hubby. After a 20-25 minute drive to a massage appointment that turned out not to be until next weekend, we headed into Seattle.

Recent events of the last several weeks had me rescheduling appointments. Unfortunately I didn’t make the changes where they counted, on my calendar. Seniors know we have to write everything down. I forgot to do that, so we were surprised when a note on my massage therapist’s door said “Closed. Returning at 1 p.m.” Like a scrabble game, my brain started rearranging my thoughts and came up with “OMG! What date is this?” After being told, by my husband, that it was March 5th, we burst into laughter at my senior moment. “Oh well,” I said, “the ride through the countryside was beautiful. Now we’ll be able to enjoy the urban jungle of the city.” And off we went.

The primary purpose of our trip was to see about getting tickets for the musical, “Billy Elliott.” Online tickets were pricey, and the available seats didn’t look good. As always the “doubting Thomas,” I wanted to stand at the box-office window, ask the person sitting there for the prices, and look at the seating chart. I also wanted to query her as to her thoughts about the location of the seats. Which seats are better, these or those? I prefer the human touch, over the computer “clicks.” Call me old-fashioned, or old-school, or just old. It’s a generational thing, whatever you call it.

Pike Place Market in Seattle

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After finding out that the box-office was only open Mondays through Fridays, we cheerily wandered down the street toward Pike Place Market. My hubby will return and check out the ticket situation. If we see “Billy Elliott,” fine. If not, the movie version of several years ago suffices.

As we wandered down sidewalks overflowing with Saturday shoppers, I decided to capture images with my camera. I was fascinated with shops along the way. At Barney’s New York, I stopped to take photos of words boldly written across their over-sized windows. They spoke of backstage happenings. Of course I was captivated.

My daughter’s often spoken of things that occur behind the scenes at ballet performances. One particular incident involved a fellow, male dancer carrying her from the stage “wings” where she was crouching in pain, backstage to the physical therapist’s station, where the “charley-horse” in her calve muscle could be checked out. This prevented my daughter from dancing in the finale. With the help of female dancers gathered around, her costume was quickly removed, and her understudy was just as quickly shoved into it. And as the saying goes, it was “on with the show.”

The sun’s warmth felt glorious! My husband kept up with me as I wend my way in and out of the crowd, stopping to snap pictures of Macy’s windows with mannequins in funky

outfits, a boutique window with artsy graphics, a “Chocolate” shop I’d never noticed on previous visits.

Everything looks delicious when I don’t have to dodge raindrops. I lingered everywhere, on curbsides, in the cozy courtyard of a small hotel near Pike Place Market, and then, of course, the market itself.

People were everywhere, soaking up the unique sights, smells and sounds of food booths, craft booths, flower booths, produce stalls, fish stalls. My absolute favorite is the vendor who sells fresh-roasted nuts. I never leave without a pound of her cashew nuts. Today, I also purchased a pound of toffee-covered nuts for my husband’s “sweet-sour tooth,” a mixture of peanuts and hazelnuts. These nuts are never a disappointment! And I’m a nut aficionado. I love cashew chicken, goobers, “turtles,” chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, almond rocha, almond joy, and on and on.

Making our way back from where we came, the downtown area, I turned my camera on passersby. People fascinate me, all kinds. I wanted to capture Seattlites, although I’m sure they weren’t all city-dwellers. Nonetheless, when I asked if I could photograph them, I said it was to let readers of my blog see the people of Seattle. All but one responded with smiles and nods of agreement.

I’m sure I startled those on the other side of window fronts, a chef preparing ingredients, a couple of guys eating lunch,  and a Sephora makeup artist doing her thing. Caught up in playing amateur photographer, I approached a mother and daughter, a woman waiting outside a shop with her luggage, sales people in the coolest, new clothing store, “All Saints…,” and a street musician.

I was delighted to buy the street newspaper, “Real Change,” from an amiable homeless man. But another homeless person, an elderly woman, stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d never seen a woman who looked like a school teacher, or a librarian, or an office worker, leaning up against a lamp-post, plastic bags gathered around, dressed in an oversized, yellow, rubber raincoat with a long, green scarf snuggly wrapped about her head, cup in hand, begging. Wanting to “tell” her story, I asked if I could take a picture of her. Eyeglasses cast a shadow, while a small smile softened the blow of her emphatic “no,” in response. As we stood, a guy who looked to be in his late 20s, early 30s, pressed a plastic bag containing a boxed lunch into the woman’s grateful hands. He was on his way, before she fully mouthed her words of thanks. Oblivious to my presence, she hungrily removed the bag’s contents, murmuring how she really needed the food. As I pressed a $5 bill into her free hand, her eyes widened in disbelief. I can only imagine that she felt today was a good day. But as I walked away, I wondered about her tomorrows.

My husband said it best when he declared of me…”You dance to the beat of a different drummer.”

he’s right…i come up with my own “choreography”…hugmamma.