My eldest sister Nora and her eldest grandson, Jesse, visited last week. It was Jesse’s first trip to Washington state.
Among the many Seattle activities were the visit to the Space Needle, seeing Pike Place Market, having them take my yoga classes: Continental Place Yoga and the Tuesday outdoor Yoga in the Park class, taking the water taxi from Pier 50 over to West Seattle where we had dinner and enjoyed Alki Beach, and an outdoor dinner garden party at our Capitol Hill apartment. Perhaps the biggest Seattle highlight was touring the USS Dewey, a US naval ship on the waterfront in Seattle for Seattle’s Seafair Fleet Week! We waited in line for over an hour for the tour and it was quite worth the wait, even in the 96 degree heat wave. Sailors in their Navy Whites were handing out ice cold water and talking to all of us. On the ship, Jesse got to sit in the Captain’s Chair located at the bridge of the ship!
We then took Nora and Jesse to our house at Ocean Shores and enjoyed “our” beach, Protection Point. We also bought fishing licenses and fished for trout and lake perch at Duck Lake. Jesse caught a trout and I kept catching lake perch. Rick suggested we throw the lake perch back into the lake as soon as he helped me unhook it. I was shocked when I saw him throw the fairly unharmed fish back in. Rick explained that lake perch are hard to clean and tasteless. On my next catch, he helped me unhook (I have the heart to catch them, but not the heart to unhook them) and he promptly gave my plump lake perch to the woman who was fishing next to us on the same pier. He did this again and again. Later, the recipient of my fish, an excellent fisherwoman with plenty of lake perch in her bucket, gave my perch back to me, saying that lake perch are actually quite tasty and worth the time it takes to clean. Jesse offered to clean and cook them. He breaded and pan fried the perch and they were as delicious as the trout. Even Rick agreed to that!
We also took Nora and Jesse on a long drive along the Olympic Peninsula. You will see from the photos below what a gem we have right here at our fingertips on the Olympic Coast! Enjoy the photos below. There are lots of them!
Jesse was the motivating force behind going on the tour of the US naval ship, the USS Dewey. But when I heard that the Admiral and Commander of the U.S. Third Fleet was a woman, I was thrilled, proud, and excited to tour the ship! I never imagined I would actually meet Admiral Nora Tyson, the first female commander of a Navy ship fleet. You can imagine how excited I was to see her! I recognized her because of all the decorations on her uniform. She looked so dignified, so accomplished! Call me strange, but tears sprang to my eyes when I saw her. I mean, I was not even six feet away from the top dog, the Fleet Commander, the number one person in command!
Sometimes when filled with excitement, I get giddy and say silly unrehearsed words that come to mind. I stepped out of the long line and went right up to the admiral and blurted out, “Hello Admiral Tyson. I am so honored to meet you and I am so proud of you!” As I said this and shook her hand, the ugly fearful judgmental little voice inside of me criticized. “Are you kidding? Did you say “proud”? Who are you? Do you realize who this is? Don’t you realize how silly you sound?”
Well American Naval Admiral, number one in command, Nora Wingfield Tyson, looked at me and hugged me! Her hug silenced the little voice inside of me. Then she said, in her lovely Memphis accent, “Thank you! And I am honored and proud to be here!” She asked me for my name. She told me a little about herself. I turned around and saw my sister Nora timidly looking on. I introduced Nora to Nora! Nora Tyson asked my sister Nora Brown, “Do you spell your name with an “h” or without an “h”?” Once they figured out they spelled their names the same way and that they were namefellows, a heart-pact was made between the two Noras.
In a recent interview, here is what Tyson said about the role of the Seafair Navy Fleet presence:
Tyson said it is important that the relationship between the people of Seattle and the Navy is understood.
“It’s all about partnership and all about the support we get from the Navy League and from the community,” she said. “The Navy is all over the place here, and we are a part of the community.”
There are several thousand sailors in Seattle right now for Fleet Week, aside from the ones who are based here.
“It is important that the sailors get out and about and get to know the community,” she said. “It’s important that Seattle sees that what we do is important around the world, providing safety and security on the maritime commons. Seattle’s economy is so dependent on that.”