At a post-election party just after the November election Al was talking with Kelly Linville, the mayor of Bellingham. They were discussing the fate of our new jail after a funding plan to utilize sales tax was defeated by voters. At the end of the lively discussion the mayor said, “I don’t know you; what is your name?” Along with his name Al said he is married to Ruth Higgins. “I know about her,” said the mayor. This defines our 2015, a very political year.
Al, at 85, is slowing down; Ruth, only 77, is a dynamo. She is membership chair of the Whatcom County Democratic party who helped recruit precinct committee officers and organiz community teams to increase turnout. She made many phone calls (a computerized system makes possible as many as a hundred calls an hour). Al made a few phone calls, knocked on some doors and answered the phone for Ruth. Now she is part of a team organizing the presidential caucus for our area to early next March.
That post-election party was at a “locker” in the Bellingham dock to celebrate the victory of Bobby Briscoe, a dark horse fishing boat captain who was elected port commissioner, an important office in coastal Whatcom County. Also at that party were two newly elected county council members. One is Todd Donovan, a political science teacher at Western Washington University who was quoted by Ruth Bader Ginsberg on voter district fairness in a recent Supreme County decision. The second is Satpal Sidu, the first Sikh to be elected to public office in the Washington State and he believes only the second in the U.S. We have known him since 2005 when we interviewed him for an article about Sikhs in Whatcom County. Then he was dean at Bellingham Technical College
When not politicking, we managed to escape twice this year. In the Spring we drove down the Oregon coast to California staying close to the water all the way. After a short stop in San Francisco we drove south to Big Sur and our beloved Deetjens. Then across the state to Reno where we stayed with Affordable Travel Club friends who we had yet to meet. In the Fall we made a shorter trip to the Olympic Peninsula, a remarkable place where we hiked through the mountains and river valleys. These trips refreshed us.
When we are at home we enjoy watching the wildlife that comes to our deck. And the tidal stream that flows past the deck is alive with migrating waterfowl. We continue to feel blessed to live in the Northwest, despite the fact that Birch Bay at this time of year is zinth. At the 49th parallel dark comes just after 4:00 p.m. Most of the neighboring houses are dark. A marvelous exception is the home across the road, where folks have beautiful lights. A lot of the residents go to Arizona and California for the winter. Those who usually come for weekends and summer vacations – mostly from Canada – stay home. But our cottage is warm and cozy – we very much enjoy being here all year.
Yes, we are making our annual pilgrimage to Ohio to be with Ruth’s son, Geord, and his wife Mary. They both have good jobs they like. She is a writer at Nationwide Insurance. He is the “Mac Man” on the computer help desk at Big Lots. Both companies are headquartered in Columbus. Mackenzie is at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington and just moved into a new apartment where she walks her dog past the neighbors at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Ryder is on an extended gap year from college in Chicago, working at Nordstrom, planning a return to higher education.
This has been more about our year than greeting you. We hope you have read this far and, like us, are looking forward to the New Year.
WOW! – it will be 2016.
With best wishes,