My wife Peg and I love the various communities in the Pacific Northwest. It’s fun visiting them, but we found out years ago it’s even better living there for a few days . . . a staycation. It gives us a chance to get a feel for the people and the area they call home. It’s even more fun when it involves our own family. This adventure began with lunch at Antons, which is located inside the greenhouse of Watson’s Nursery along Pioneer. Our youngest son Patrick met us there for lunch. He works in IT at American Fast Freight, which is just across the Puyallup River in Fife.
As we got out of our car we were met by a small group of women leaving. Antons is a very busy place for lunch. Lots of women’s groups meet there. This wasn’t a women’s group but one of the women was Peg’s friend Katie Patjens from her P.E.O. group. She assured us that although it was busy, there was room for us at Antons. There were three empty tables. We claimed one, which had a great view of the dessert cold case. We had a very nice lunch. One of the reasons we were staying in downtown Puyallup was a concert on Thursday evening, where our youngest granddaughter would be playing flute. Patrick mentioned that she was also playing in the Pep Band for Puyallup High School that very evening. So many adventures overlap when you’re open to adjusting to change and fun.
After lunch Patrick returned to work, and Peg and I continued to South Hill Mall. Our daughter-in-law Johanna runs the Hallmark Shop there. Johanna is very sweet. She loves helping people and Hallmark offers many ways to share the seasons and special occasions. Johanna will be a grandmother in April and we will become great-grandparents. Peg has already been buying gifts for the new baby. At Hallmark she bought a card or two . . . or three.
I must have marched past the ABNB apartment three times in the Daffodil Parade as a member of the Clover Park High School Concert Band (baritone Saxophone). Leaving South Hill Mall, we drove down Meridian and past the fairgrounds to Puyallup proper. Meridian is the artery linking Edgewood, Puyallup and South Hill. When I first saw the information about a new ABNB (Air Bed and Breakfast) I thought to myself, “This must be just a block behind West Pioneer Grill and our one of our favorite waitresses Roccio. In fact it was just around the corner.
When we unlocked the door our eyes were drawn upward and I started humming Stairway to Heaven. The 26 stairs were a little daunting, but once we were inside the apartment, I changed my mind it was more like Stairway to Haven. Two and half trips up the stairs told me to pack lighter next time. The ABNB reminds me of our favorite condo in Ocean Shores at The Grey Gull (this is a major compliment). – abnb.me/M82QHxU7O2
There were crescent rolls and a bowl of apples and bananas waiting for us on the counter between the dining area and the kitchen. The refrigerator had more apples and more than a dozen eggs along with two bottles of Martinelli’s Apple Cider. The cupboards held dishes and enough appliances to warm up, cook, toast or wake up and smell the coffee. I opened one door and saw a cocktail shaker and a first aid kit – thoughtful Plus.
We had already experienced a tiring day. Even though our trip to Puyallup only covered roughly twenty miles from our west/north end home in Tacoma. We had morning meetings and were looking forward to relaxing. The Thursday evening concert was to be at Aylen Junior High School. Aylen is perhaps a mile away from the ABNB. The Pep band performance would be at Puyallup H.S, which is only a few blocks away from our cozy retreat.
Once settled in Peg and I started reading. At six I left a very relaxed Peg (a long winter’s nap?) and headed to the high school. Within five minutes I was parked and walking into the gym where a game was already in action. It was a girl’s JV game with Puyallup vs. Rogers. I saw no band. I sat behind the P.H.S. coach and their bench. If I had known I was going to see a girl’s basketball game, I would have insisted on Peg joining me. I loved it.
When I was a senior at Clover Park, friends and I drove to Ocean Shores for spring break. We were virtually the only visitors. We pitched an old army tent in the dunes near Ocean City. We met Frankie, a local kid our age. He invited us to join him for a pick-up BBall game. Playing with and rooting for strangers let us feel like we belonged. The same feeling overcame me watching the players I didn’t know in downtown Puyallup and cheering for both sides.
Watching the game I made a silent bet with myself that Rogers would score sixty points before Puyallup scored twenty. I was right. The Rogers team played faster, quicker, and smarter. The Puyallup coach stood the entire game, He reminded me of a younger Charles Barkley. I don’t know how long he had worked with his girls, or how much experience they had. For the second half I moved to the opposite side of the court and saw a broader scope of the game. The Rogers’ coach was a woman who sat down most of the time. Peg and I have been talking about attending a game featuring the Seattle Storm, the professional basketball team based in Seattle playing in the Western Conference in the Women’s National Basketball Association. Now, I think we should start by dropping in for a game or two at Wilson High School or even the University of Puget Sound. I had a ball watching the girls play. Peg would have loved it, too.
At the end of the game the Pep Band arrived and set up in the bleachers next to where I was sitting. I think they had been practicing. They were there to play for the senior girl’s team. The first song was Louie, Louie followed by Land of a Thousand Dances . . . no I was not transported back to the 1960s, but I certainly nnew the songs. The band was very relaxed and enjoyed themselves. Joe, a stranger who had been watching the first game, and I had enjoyed ourselves. I wished him and the team well.
I headed to the ABNB, but took a slight detour to Safeway on Meridian. I bought some sliced chicken and homemade cranberry sauce, which was nicely tangy. With the crescent rolls, two bottles of Martinelli’s Apple Cider from the refrigerator and bananas for dessert, Peg and I had a very nice dinner.
The comfy soft-top main bedroom bed was calling to me. I began reading Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Patton, while Peg was content on the couch watching the large screen TV (50′ inch screen) with Wi-Fi. It used a Roku stick, so Peg was very familiar with it’s workings. She found a favorite movie to watch and enjoyed herself.
Rising early is just something I do. Tired or not. Weary or not. It doesn’t make any difference. I always let Peg sleep. I sat down at the dining table to work the Seattle Times crossword puzzle from the day before, sip some Keurig coffee maker coffee, to think, and do some serious reading. In the second bedroom I had found a great selection of children’s books. There were also toys, but I passed them by.
I could hear a train whistle faintly. Thinking to myself, I thought that I could probably find a café for my second cup of coffee. Walking out into the slight mist woke me up a bit more. In the semi-darkness, I walked and looked at the shops and signs. A homeless person grunted at me from doorway recess. I don’t think I disturbed him. He didn’t startled me, but it did surprise me. A few steps later a man wearing a wool jacket of yellow and brown plaid was walking towards me pulling along a luggage carrier with no luggage on it. He passed by without a word of greeting.
A few steps later over the train tracks the red warning lights and bells surprised me. I hurried over and looked down the tracks toward Tacoma. I could see shadows of people lining the platform and ready to board. Soon the Sounder pulled in, loaded passengers, and hauled them all away to their jobs in the north.
Looking down the street I saw an “OPEN” neon sign where I didn’t expect it. Auntie B’s was one of my favorite places for breakfast in Puyallup, but I was pretty sure they had closed. I wove my way through traffic waiting for the train grate to open and looked into the Meridian Café. There were three people in one booth in a room that could probably accommodate fifty or more. I walked through and sat down at a four-top about ten feet from the back door.
Walking back from breakfast was a little more interesting. It was lighter and the mist was gone. I hurried across the train tracks just as the next Sounder whizzed through town, but not stopping. Just wandering the streets is interesting. I saw the morning clean-up crews working both sides of the streets. Making Puyallup neat and tidy. Downtown Puyallup has art on almost every corner. I love the race car driver sculpture, now decorated with a Santa cap even though it was over a month since Christmas.
Back in our sanctuary, I crawled in bed for a short, warm nap.
Up for a light breakfast and off to visit local shops. Less than two or three feet from our stairway door, Peg found two treasures at Ashley’s Room an unfussy store selling used women’s clothing, shoes & accessories, including many brand-name items. She bought two sweaters at 50% off for total of $9 plus tax.
We had a meeting in Parkland and then we had lunch back in Puyallup. The Trellis Café on South Hill was a fantastic find. Pam and Willie Triplet have a great place for tea, sandwiches, lemonade AND dessert.
We thought we had given ourselves plenty of time to park and get a good seat at the concert, but didn’t happen. We didn’t realize the concert included all the Junior High/Middle School bands of Puyallup. I dropped Peg off and then drove around until I finally parked in the school bus zone. Peg saved me a seat. We never saw Patrick or his in-laws. We only saw the back of Granddaughter Laci’s head but we enjoyed each of the bands and really enjoyed the finale when they all played together led by each of the music teachers.
We relaxed at the ABNB. Cozy and unique are the two words that best describe the apartment. There is a decorative hanging that suggests “Time to get cozy on the bedroom wall.” There is a huge walk-in closet adjacent to the master bedroom with a large expanse of framed glass panels between. There are transoms over some of the doors and yet the door to the bedroom is barely six foot tall. The views from the interior windows all look out on roof tops that feel like you’re living in a New York City loft.
There is only one slight problem. Like New York City, parking is something to be aware of. Watch for the parking signs. They range from fifteen minutes to three hours. If you park in a three hour spot after six you are good up until noon the next day. By the second night we were able to nab a parking spot just ten yards from our front door.
We loved living in the heart of Puyallup. We had adventures within a few steps from our door on Meridian. There was a sandwich shop across the street, a pawn shop a few yards away, a pizza place, two bars near by, and two restaurants within throwing distance. Pioneer Park is less than a hundred yards away and Giorgio’s for excellent Greek food is just at the other end of the park. Perhaps, we were actually living in New York. There more things to do than we could find time for. Watching the high school girls playing basketball wasn’t scheduled, but again it made me feel welcome and part of the city. Attending the middle school band concert in a packed gym was a major plus, but not a requirement for fun.
We felt like we belonged and welcome in downtown Puyallup.