Some of you have probably seen me early in the afternoon sitting in storefront windows of The Local Coffee House or Ann’s Bakery or, my favorite perch, the corner windows in Jackson’s, with a cup of coffee — or, on warm afternoons, a glass of lemonade — dazing nonchalantly upon the Cole Street parade. I personally know many of the people passing by and many of those whom I don’t know, recognize me because of this column. In either case, we often smile and wave at one another.
For instance, here comes Marilyn Nelson, owner of Cole’s Collectibles. She laughs and gives me the thumb’s up sign. I like what she’s done with her hair.
Now Ken Borg ambles by and he grins at me. Any time I have an investment question, I simply walk off the street into his office and he always has time for me.
The Lee bartender, Tamara Dedmon, and her boy-friend exit the Mint Ale House and climb into her car. Frank Hicks leaves the restaurant a few steps behind them. I haven’t seen Frank for several months and I suspect he’s been pumping iron. Whenever my computer goes on the fritz I carry it down to Skynet and he and the “backroom boys” whip it into shape in a few days, which is fortunate because if I’m left without the damn thing longer than that my mind starts doing strange things.
And here comes Mike Runland of American Heritage fame. He usually thumbs his nose at me — or, if not that, he offers some other kind of universally recognized, all-American gesture. Before he vanishes around the corner I return the gesture. (What else can a fella do?)
Lance Brown is heading for the Ski Inn, a favorite watering hole for professional roofers. I had a problem with my porch roof and had planned to repair the damned thing myself but, after considering my abilities for a few days, I had second thoughts and hired Lance.
Rob Kahne, uncle to the stock-car racer and owner of the graphic design studio on Railroad Street, wanders down the opposite side of the street. He’s probably headed to the Lee for lunch.
Well-tanned Martha Rossi is one her way to work for the “Pie Goddess.” Lorri Maras waits for the traffic light and I wave at her, but she doesn’t see me. She’s turned inward on her own thoughts; maybe wondering where “Arts Alive!” might establish its new shop when it’s kicked out of its present location.
Three young bucks bounce by, hanging on one another, laughing and waving at me. I suspect they’re recent high school grads who are high on their acceptance by the same college—or perhaps something else.
Postwoman, Pepe, walks briskly from door to door, for nothing will stop her from completing he appointed rounds.
But now I’ve finished my coffee and it’s time to move on. (In fact, it’s time to go home and write this column.) But before leaving, I pause for a moment to consider this brief, fleeting episode and I realize such social interactions are one of the last vestiges of small-town charm left in our Southeast corner of Greater Seattle’s suburban sprawl. Trust me on this one: Such experiences won’t be around much longer.