Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tacoma Interlude

After we took Harriett to SeaTac for her flight back to Albany, we drove to Joan's brother, Ritchie's place in Tacoma.  Ritchie is a bachelor and we always have a good time with him.  Our visits are unstructured and relaxed.  We depend on serendipity.  There are a few things done every visit - flowers on the internment sites for Joan's mother, father, and grandmother; lunch at the deli in Steilacoom just up from the ferry; and of course, dinners at Ruston Way.

Ruston Way used to be lumber mills punctuated with a smelter at one end.  Economic realities caught up with 50 year-old plant, so the industrial sites were abandoned.  Tacoma has worked hard to convert the area into a park three miles long, bordering on Commencement Bay.  Great for walking.  Our favorite restaurant, Katie Downs (they know how to grill wild Alaskan Salmon perfectly), sits on pilings and on a clear day we can eat on the deck with simultaneous views of Mt. Rainer looming over Tacoma, the Olympic Mountains, and up Puget Sound the 15 miles to Burian and the planes landing at SeaTac.

Tacoma has a minor league baseball team, the Rainers.  Unlike their parent team, the Seattle Mariners, the Rainiers are a good team at the top of their division.  Cheney Stadium, where the Rainiers play, is close to Ritchie's place so we went to an afternoon game with the Sacramento River Cats.  I supposed we should have cheered for the northern California team, but we joined Ritchie in celebrating the Rainiers' extra-inning win.

One day, we stopped at Panorama, a retirement community to which friends from The Sea Ranch recently moved.  The community is nearly 50 years old and Joan has known about it for years, but in our research on the "what comes after we can't live comfortably at The Sea Ranch" question, we'd never stopped by.  This time we got the marketing pitch, but fortuitously were able to see our friends and visit their new home.  It's a very comfortable, well planned and managed, unpretentious place with beautiful grounds and many different housing choices.  It's now on the short list.

Ritchie isn't legally blind, but would be had doctors at the VA not rescued him just in time, just as they helped him and are continuing to help him recover from a stroke (we have enormous regard for the VA and the care they have provided Ritchie).  Part of the VA therapy is an arts program and we were able to see a copper transfer bas relief of the Last Supper that won Ritchie a silver ribbon in a national competition.

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