Well, there goes Harry Shephard, out for his stroll around the downtown streets. Though you may not know his name, you’ve probably seen him because he’s out and about nearly every day. He sets a pretty rapid pace, just a couple of ticks below a jog.
On the other side of Cole Street, Chuck Bender of Skynet fame catches my eye and stops for a second. I suspect he considers joining me but, instead, he smiles and waves and continues on his way.
Kimberly wanders by with her 3- or 4-year-old daughter in hand. (My God, has it really been that long?) Unfortunately, I can’t recall Kim’s last name, if I ever knew it, but you may know who I mean since she’s a popular waitress in the Rainier. Her attention is so engaged by the child, she doesn’t look up to see me watching her.
One of those cute, modern, tiny-teeny commuter cars pulls up to the traffic light. You know the kind. They aren’t much larger than an easy-chair on wheels. Directly behind it, there’s a monster Ram truck with a double cab, gigantic tires, long bed and more diesel horsepower than any 14 Plateau horse stables combined. The two of them make quite a study in contrast.
Our town’s two largest antique dealers may be pooling their business sense for their mutual benefit. Marilyn Nelson, owner of Collectables On Cole, and Sharon Porter both exit Porter’s Antiques and pause on the sidewalk for a last second discussion and farewells, before Marilyn starts up the street toward her own operation.
Timi and Wendy, co-owners of Rendezvous, lope on by and I try to get their attention, but they’re far too involved in their own conversation. Susie follows along behind them and she sees me, smirks insightfully, then turns down Griffin toward her pie shop.
Here come the gals from Mutual of Enumclaw. I suspect they’ve just finished lunch somewhere. And there goes Brandi Carlile’s mother. You know the singer, Brandi Carlile, don’t you? Well, perhaps not. At any rate, her mother works at Mountain Aire Mercantile.
Of course, I don’t know the overwhelming majority of people passing before me, but many of them notice me. Most smile happily, flash me the thumbs up and a few pretend to stumble drunkenly. One young fellow laughs and discretely throws me a time-honored, all-American, street-level hand gesture.
Now Brian Thim stops and waves. He wears jeans and thick red suspenders, so I assume he’s still topping trees. He walks inside and sits on the empty stool beside me. “You want some company?” he wonders.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and, buffered by a dry vodka martini to soften the edge, this is what the world of Enumclaw looks like through the corner windows of Jackson’s bar.