In February, Rich’s long-time friend – Mike Pomeranz — visited him from Jerusalem. Mike and Rich both graduated from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy in 1976 then joined the Glendale Police Department. Throughout the years, they’ve kept in touch and were finally able to reconnect in person after twenty or so years!
After picking Mike up at the SeaTac (Seattle Tacoma) Airport, they headed to Port Townsend to see Stacey on the Adventuress, a tall ship she’s been working on since October. They then took a ferry to Anacortes to see our lot and wandered through a local park, where Mike posed by a very large Native woman holding a Chinook (salmon).
After spending the night in Mount Vernon, they zipped down to Kirkland. That evening, all three of us went to a fabulous Indian restaurant and ate some very unusual vegetarian dishes. I had a yummy cheese curry. Both Mike and Rich had large divided trays of food with small servings of curry, yoghurt, vegetables, and dessert.
The owner of M. Pomeranz Bookseller, Israel’s premier English Judaic bookstore, Mike was interested in seeing the Elliot Bay Book Company. So after dinner, we headed to the historic Pioneer Square District in downtown Seattle where the Elliot Bay Book company is located. The store looks to have started as a small, hole-in-the-wall hippie bookstore with handmade cedar shelves set on bricks with posters to cover the holes, pipes, and electric cables in the exposed-brick walls. As neighboring stores closed, the bookstore expanded until today it takes up an entire block. It reminded me of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon.
I scrambled up to the "sale book" section in a little loft and quickly found a book on Indian cooking, which Mike (thank you) purchased for me. I need to visit Uwajimaya or another local Asian food store to get the necessary spices and sauces like garam masala and asafoetilda to replicate the Matar Paneer (green peas and cheese curry) I had that night.
A few weeks after Mike’s visit, we flew to Bullhead City, Arizona to see Rich’s father, Ted. Also visiting Ted was his son Chris and his wife, Teri. Rich couldn’t remember the last time he saw Chris and only remembered that he was "nice."
Well, Ted has a very dry, quick sense of humor. Chris (sorry Ted) is three times funnier and can find humor and irony in the mundane and ordinary. Add a cupful of Ted, a healthy dose of Rich’s propensity for puns, insert Teri’s hysterical Italian wit and flamboyance and you have four days of hilarity. I laughed, giggled and chortled until my sides hurt!
The first day we were there, Rich and I had an afternoon to ourselves while Ted and Chris drove to Las Vegas to pick up Teri at the airport. We drove to Oatman, an old mining town, to pester the wild burros who are descendants of the burros brought by the miners in the late 1800’s. The burros all have attitude and will only pay attention if you whip out a dollar to buy them a bag of carrots. Over the years, they’ve developed super long ears to better hear the crinkle of money in tourists’ wallets!
Several new shops opened since we were last in Oatman. Behind one shop was a fenced in area with several huge tortoises. I think they were African Spurred Tortoises. Of course, I couldn’t resist petting them and thoroughly examining their scaly feet and long toenails. They’re kinda’ pigeon-toed and walk on their sharp claws.
In spite of the popular belief that the hare beat the tortoise, the tortoises in Oatman moved surprisingly fast and after a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that one of them was "chasing" me and not coincidentally walking the same direction. I can’t say whether he was territorial and simply determined to evict me from his fenced-in area or enjoying the attention since the scowl on his solemn faces never changed.
The following day, Saturday, we went to a flea market in the parking lot of the Mojave tribe Avi Casino on the Colorado River. It was fun wandering among the booths and talking to the people; Rich wasn’t impressed and thought most of the stuff was junk.
We then headed to Katherine’s Landing, a resort and nature area on the Colorado River and the site of Katherine Mine, an abandoned gold mine… one of the many in the area. I’m particularly fond of Katherine’s landing because the water is crystal clear and you can walk down the marina and feed giant carp. If you get on your hands-and-knees and toss out a couple of pieces of bread or other food, you can pet the carp with their huge, tooth-less gapping mouths and silly little whiskers. Most are light to dark gray. A few, like their koi cousins, are yellow, orange, white, and black.
They’re very friendly (or maybe just hungry) and swim up to the dock. When they swarm, they can lift a duck out of the water. It’s not unusual to see a duck walking across the backs of a group of carp.
That evening, Rich made his "famous" macaroni and cheese along with stewed tomatoes. My contribution was sampling (and sampling) the cheese along with making tossed green and fruit salads. While eating dinner, we watched the "Killing of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." It was a rather strange movie.
The next day, we visited a few places then found ourselves sitting outside at Ted’s house, sipping libations and talking for hours before Rich and I dashed to the store to buy the "stuff" to make spaghetti with puttanesca sauce, garlic bread and a large salad.
It being our last night together with Chris, Terri and Ted, we talked until nearly 1 a.m. No one wanted to say "good-bye." Just when the conversation started to wane, another topic would be introduced and the laughter and sharing of stories would start all over again.
After a restful night, Rich and I packed up and headed to Hoover Dam, Boulder City and the surrounding area before driving down the Las Vegas strip on the way to the airport. The strip is surreal with so many large, flashy, themed high-rise hotels and casinos that seem to change every few years. Twenty year old casinos are now "so yesterday" and are being torn down to make way for higher priced and more luxurious establishments. Treasure Island and the Mirage now look shabby next to the Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and the Venetian.
Mike looking very small in Anacortes  Mike, Stacey and Rich in Port Townsend  Colorado River  Cool sculpture at Hoover Dam, commemorating the men who placed dynamite  Hoover Dam  Julie tormenting a tortoise in Oatman, Arizona  Rich with a mule from Oatman, Arizona