Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alice doesn't live here anymore

When I was a teen, I loved Alice Cooper. I knew that some of his lyrics were a bit dark but I liked the music and I enjoyed singing along to it. This really seemed to bother my mom, as I remember. She thought of him as demonic.

So, when I first learned that Alice was coming to town, I thought that would be a great concert to see. I remembered the stories of his old concerts but after all, this was the new 62 year Christian know, the one who works with kids down in Arizona and is a scratch golfer. I figured he would probably have all of his old songs but would temper down the theatrics. Boy, was I wrong.

Trin and I got to the event center just as it opened and found seats right up front. Then my friend, Ron Alvarez asked me to help save some seats for his family so we moved over to his area which was about five or six rows back. We bided our time until the concert started and Ron ended up sitting next to me with KC at the end of the row. Ron had already been backstage and told me that there were lots of props including a gallows and I guess that it was about then that I wondered just how the concert would go.

I took notice of one big thing. The generation gap had certainly been crossed with what seemed to be about four generations and many of them right up front. With a steady drum beat and wails from the guitars, the anticipation began to grow for the beginning of the show.

A silhouette came up on the curtain that looked like Alice. Then another stood next to it, raised a sword, and thrust it through the first just as the curtain dropped and the lights blared on. I have no idea how both of the silhouettes looked so real but the one stabbed turned out to be a dummy and Alice was rolling into his first numbers.

Everyone seemed to be having so much fun singing along with the old lyrics and rocking to the beat.

There were two seats in the reserved section for Hooker Creek right in front of us and a very busty lady in a dress seemed to leap over the seats to get to them with a couple of security guards right behind. They began to argue with her as she did not have a pass to get into the section. She would not budge and as the concert was going on, the security seemed to give up and leave her alone. Shortly thereafter, her boyfriend showed up and stood in the seat in front of me. The security guards showed up again and told them to leave. They moved like they were going to until the guards moved away and then popped right back into their seats. Other than him holding up his camera to record the show which blocked my view a little, they really didn't seem to be a bother so I settled down to watch the show.

As the show got more advanced, it and the crowd seemed to get wilder. Alice began flinging his props into the crowd so the crowd began throwing back at him...which was mainly underwear. A couple of the guitarists hooked bras on to the end of their guitars and it looked as if Alice kicked a pair of panties back into the crowd.

The lady who had invaded the seats in front of me stood up on the back of her seat and began to dance sticking her butt in my face. I tapped her on the back and asked her to sit down. She yelled something back and Trin asked her to sit also so she reluctantly moved down but only after scowling at us both.

Alice brought out some beads that he was throwing out to the crowd as he sang. The lady in the couple in front of Trin got on her boyfriends back pleading for Alice to throw her way. So, the lady who had invaded the seats in front of me decided to do the same. Now, her boyfriend was a pretty good sized guy but she was not small and he grimaced as he raised her up. She immediately dropped her top, exposing herself and hoping that Alice would see her and throw to her. At the same time, her boyfriend lost his balance and as she was pulling her boobs back in, she was not holding on and they both came crashing down.

Just about that time, Alice threw all of the rest of the beads and one came right at the two couples. They both missed and it dropped to the floor. Trin was lightning as she reached under the chairs in front of her and retrieved them. The looks she got from both of the women were unbelievable. I thought they were going to come back and beat her up for the beads that she now wore proudly around her neck. After another set of death stares, I told Trin to give me the beads before they tried to rip them off of her neck. She handed them over and I placed them in my pocket.

Then some drunk came out of nowhere and ended up between the two couples in front of me. He looked at me and said, "Hey, do you remember me!". He then began to tell me that he was the son of an old friend of mine who had died of cancer around ten years ago. "You have to let me sit here.", he said, "My parents spent so much money in your diner that they should have owned it.". "I cant help you.", I said. I then pointed to the show and told him that he should be watching the show. I watched as he almost got into fights with various guys around him.

Ron had ducked out when someone ran on the stage and dove into the crowd. I think he felt responsible to assist with the security as it was their (The Twins) show. To keep the drunk from spying his seat, Nan, Ron's wife and I kind of stepped over a little so that it would not look like there was an empty seat. Eventually with a little prodding, the drunk moved on.

Now, the room was stifling hot and someone up front had just the ticket to help cool us off. He had brought spray water bottles and began to pass them around. People would spray others cooling them off and then pass back the bottle. The woman in front of me got the bottle, turned around and sprayed a couple of us and then passed it on to someone in Ron's party. Someone must have stopped spraying because I heard the lady in front of us scream, "If you aren't going to use it, give the damn thing back!". She reached back and grabbed it from someone and then then did the unthinkable or better, the unbelievable. Jumping up on the back of the chair in front of Nan, she pulled up her dress exposing her nakedness to the crowd and then sprayed herself. She giggled as she dropped her dress, jumped back down and then threw the bottle up towards the front.

I turned to Nan who had a shocked look on her face. I leaned over and said, "I think I have seen it all now.". Nan just shook her head and explained that she could not believe that had happened.

Now, I thought I had seen it all but it was only just beginning as Alice blew into the dark part of his show.

He began singing Only women bleed and had a young lady up on the stage and began to simulate beating her up and finished by slitting her throat. He then blew into Dead Babies of which he ended up hammering a stake into the heart of a baby in a crib. He picked up the doll baby with the stake through it and blood dripping off of it.

Head covered men came out from behind the stage and put a straight jacket on Alice. As he sang his next song, he worked his way out of the straight jacket only to be caught again. This time, the gallows was brought out. The executioner and the men with covered heads put the noose around Alice's neck and a man with a Alice mask called for the execution. Alice was hanged and the gallows were taken off of the stage.

Now, I was not enjoying the show. I looked at the rest of my row and it seemed like non of them were especially Trin. Nan was now sitting down as I believe she had had enough. I was wondering if she had wished she had not brought her sons. I began to think back at my mom's reactions to my listening to this type of music and I could see much better why she felt as she did.

Trin leaned over and said, "If this is what a rock concert is like, I will stick with country.". Nan told her that this wasn't a typical rock concert.

Although I really enjoyed hearing some of the old songs that I had loved so much as a youth, I was rather happy to see it all end. Both our ears were ringing as we exited the event center and headed towards our car.

We had parked it out where we thought we could get out ahead of most but thinking that the middle road was opened for the exit from the fair, I ended up in the wrong line and in grid lock. An hour and a half later, we gladly started down Hwy 97 back to Bend and our beds.

I felt the need to write this down as it was fresh in my head. Although some of his songs still will bring back memories of my youth, I think that I have been to my first and my last Alice Cooper concert.

Schools out for the summer, Schools out forever, Schools been blown to pieces. And so has my admiration for the man. Sorry Alice fans. And the telephone is ringing...or is it my ears.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Seattle, July 23, 2008

Thanks to Trinity and her job at Horizon Air, we were all able to fly up to Seattle early Wednesday morning. The first thing that I noticed when I got off of the plane was the amount of Red Sox shirts, jerseys, and hats that seemed to be all around us.

Arriving before most businesses open, we took the bus downtown, got off at Pioneer Square, and walked down to the piers. McD's was the only place open so we stopped for a bite to eat and to figure out what to do in the hours before the start of the game.

After breakfast, we walked up to the Curiosity Shop and mingled around there for a while looking at all of the weird and strange stuff that they have displayed.

We then walked up to Pikes Market. We took the elevator up with some Red Sox fans from New Hampshire. At the time, I had yet to see one Mariner item worn on anyone. We got off of the elevator with Red all around us. I commented to Trinity about it and she said that it was probably because all of the Mariner fans had jobs and that these were all just people site seeing before the game just like us. I looked across the way and saw a Mariner jersey but only a glance as two Red Sox fans quickly blocked my view.

We walked up to catch the bus in the underground. During the day, some of the buses drive through the tubes that will one day have light rail rolling through them. After 7PM, however, the buses roll back up topside for whatever reason. We caught the bus back down to the International zone and walked down to Safeco field going right by Qwest field on the way. By now, it was getting close to noon and I figured that we should be getting something to eat before we went in. All we could find were hot dogs which was good for me but not any of them.

As we came close to the field, we walked by a Mariner store. I stopped and did a double take as out front of the store were two shade covers with Red Sox logos on the side of them. I could not believe what I was seeing. It almost seemed sac religious! I mentioned it to one of the girls telling them that you would never find Mariner gear sold in front of a Red Sox store. I had to take a picture as I wondered if anyone would believe me if I told them.

We ended up walking back down to Pioneer Square and finding a sandwich shop there and packed our sandwiches into one of the girls backpacks and walked back to the stadium taking our seats out in left field and chowing down on our lunches. As I looked around the stadium, it seemed very similar to what I had seen in town. Red was everywhere including all around us. The couple sitting next to Trin were both decked out in Red Sox gear.

The game started and I believe it was the second inning and two Red Sox on the bases. The batter hit a hard ball into Right field where Ichiro plays. Sprinting towards the wall and leaping just at the right time, Ichiro caught the ball above the wall and saved three runs. On the very next pitch, however, he bobbled what should have been an easy out and the two on the base made it home. Red Sox 2 Mariners 0.

Jay told me that he was thirsty so I offered to take him out and buy him a Root Beer. After all, Root Beer is the official drink of baseball for kids or so it should seem. The problem was that we could not find a vendor who sold Root Beer. One tried to talk him into a Dr Pepper. As we walked around looking for the frothy drink, we were lucky to see a Mariner hit the ball out with a man on base. The inning ended, Red Sox 2 Mariners 1.

We finally found a vendor with Root Beer and as we walked back to our seats, I asked if Jay needed to use the bathroom. "No", he said so we rejoined the girls and the game.

The top of the sixth came and the Mariners brought in a relief pitcher as Hernandez's pitch count had gotten too high. With two men on, the relief pitcher walked a man and then walked the next man....thus walking in another run. Red Sox 3 Mariners 1.

Then the game got good. With a man on in the bottom of the sixth, the Mariners hit yet another home run and tied the game up. At the end of the sixth, the score was Red Sox 3 Mariners 3.

Jay looked up at me and said, "Papa, I need to go to the bathroom.". I looked around at the mass of people around me that we would have to climb through and said, "Can't you wait?". "No!" was the quick answer. Trinity leaned over and said that she didn't mind taking him After all, the Red Sox fan behind her was really starting to annoy her. Every time a Mariner would get out, he would yell out, "See Ya!'.

As we approached the end of the regulation, the Mariners seemed to have the momentum and actually had more hits than the visitors. In the bottom of the Eighth, with men in scoring position, a rocket was hit to deep center/left field. Jacoby Elsbury (the kid from Madras) was playing Left field right in front of us. The ball looked to be either a home run or it would go off of the wall and undoubtedly bring in the run. Jacoby came out of nowhere to stab the ball in the warning track. The next batter drilled a shot just over third base. The Red Sox coaches must have really done their homework because there was Jacoby again. This time, he dove and grabbed the shot ending the inning and the rally.

The top half of the ninth brought nothing for the Red Sox but did bring some entertainment for the fans. A man jumped out of the stands and began to take off his clothes as he dodged security. He actually almost made it all the way to the other side before getting tackled, cuffed, and led off of the field.

In the bottom of the Ninth, the mariners threatened again. I had leaned over to Trin and we were getting ready to turn around to the annoying fan behind her and say "See ya!" just as soon as the winning run was brought across. This time, the hit was into center field looking like it was going to drop right in front of the center fielder with a good chance to get the winning run. Once more, seemingly out of nowhere came Jacoby racing behind second base and stealing the mariners last chance before going into extra innings.

Extra innings was fun with both Mariner fans and Red Sox fans vying to see who could yell louder. Lets go Mariners became a garbled mess with the Red Sox fans almost out yelling the locals. I looked over into right field as one drunken fan tried to start a wave. The fans in the next section were totally into the game oblivious to his antics. He finally gave up and sat down raising his hands up in disgust.

In the extra innings, neither team seemed to get anything going. I don't know if anyone else felt the way that I did, but the Mariners didn't seem to want to pinch hit. With the game on the line and no one really doing that great and the bottom of the order coming up, the manager just paraded out the same bats.

In the top of the 12th, the Red Sox began to awake again. With two on, the batter hit one out into center field. The manager had made a switch and had sent the second baseman out to center. The second base/center fielder bobbled the ball and the Red Sox soon had 2 runs. A hit later and we ended up with what was to be the final score of Red Sox 6 Mariners 3. The Mariners loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but could not drive anyone over.

So the Red Sox won thanks to two errors on the Mariners bringing over 4 runs and one walked run. The real hero for the Red Sox, however, was the Central Oregon connection, Jacoby. That almost made the loss worth while.

As we left the field and walked back down to catch the bus, we walked by the Mariner store again. The Red Sox gear was now half price and almost all of it was gone. I managed to find a shirt that was Jaydens size and bought it for him as a souvenir of his game.

A tired foursome got off of the plane in Redmond at Midnight. We had had a full day with lots of fun and memories.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Most of you who have come into Jake's have noticed the pictures that we have put up on one of our walls. They are pictures of celebrities who have eaten at Jake's, one of our cater jobs, or that I have just met somewhere in Central Oregon. All of which have given me permission to place them on my wall.

But reading a post from BOR the other day brought back memories of others that have been in but are not posted on the wall. Others such as LL Cool J, Tommy Lee, Boston (I do have one of their guitar pics posted however), Ernest Borgnine, Inner Circle, and my personal favorite, Willy Nelson. When we were a truck stop, I am sure that their were more than that, however, as you never knew who all came through in the middle of the night.

Tommy Lee was in a few times and the waitresses said that he was very friendly and animated and all around him enjoyed him very much.

Inner Circle were there one morning as I arrived at work. I sat out back and talked with a couple of them after they had eaten and were waiting for their bus to be serviced. I had no idea who they were but noted that they had Jamaican accents and I had a friend from Jamaican. I asked them if their band was famous and they said, "No, we are just a band.". I had fun talking with them as the sun was rising and when they got on their bus and drove away we all waved and said our goodbyes.

A week or so later, I was driving my Jamaican friend around and asked him if he knew of a Jamaican band that had passed through. "The symbol for their band was a circle with stick people inside of it.", I told him. My daughter screamed from the back seat, "Dad, that is Inner Circle.". "Who are they?", I asked. "They are the ones who sing "Bad Boys".

But my very favorite was Willy. He came and sat at the counter. He was singing that evening in Sisters. The waitress came and got me and told me that they thought Willy was there and asked if I could check and find out for sure. I grabbed a pot of coffee and started his way. As I stood in front of him pouring, I asked him if I could ask him a question. He looked up and in a voice that is so unmistakable said, "I am not him. I just look like him. I am a truck driver. I drive a truck.". I knew right then that he did not want to be bothered . He probably just wanted to get away on his own from all of the craziness. I told him that he would not be bothered. He looked up and me, winked, and said, "Thanks.". I walked back to the waitresses and said. No, its not him. That guy is a driver and his truck is sitting out back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Poker Strategy 101

I know that I am a pretty good poker player. First off, my personality fits. I remember a college professor calling me pet names like "stone face" because of my lack of showing emotion. "Come on, show me some emotion", he would chide me, "At least then I would know that you are listening to me.". Then there was a former employer, Howard Deutch (one lawyer, accountant, writer, publisher, producer among his many hats) who would actually scream at me during business discussions. "Show me some emotion!", he would yell. "Get mad back at me. Then at least I would know that I am reaching you!". I have a poker face.

Secondly, I am able to concentrate well on the game and have a pretty good idea and feel of the table that I am playing at. I have folded some pretty good hands just because I could feel better cards on the table around me.

But, alas, I still have not qualified for my own big tourney that is to be held in October that we have named "The World Series of Holdem for Habitat". In order to qualify for that tourney, one has to win one of the weekly tourneys that are held at Jake's on Monday evenings. BTW, we have now raised over $12,000 for Habitat for Humanity playing these weekly tourneys.

I have been close so many times but always seem to go out with a bang on some crazy hand. My buddy, Frank, always laughs because every week, I have a different story of some crazy hand that becomes my demise. This week was certainly no exception to that.

I had only won one hand but that win had given me quite a few chips. I had some pretty good cards but others on the table always seemed to have better. I had played pretty smart and had actually smelled out a couple of those "better hands" and had folded before losing to them thus saving my chips. So, when that table next to me had worked down its players and was looking for someone to join them, I gladly accepted thinking that a change of tables might change my luck. After all, you could be the best player in the world but without some luck, you cannot win.

I came to the new table in the big blinds. For the person who has not played holdem but understands poker a little, it is the only person on the first deal of the cards that has to play the minimum bet. He is also the last person on the first deal to bet. The attitude of the table was electric with the previous two hands having taken out people and with the winner who was sitting to my right having two aces in his pocket in both hands. I held on to my emotion as I was dealt those same cards in the first deal. No one was going to expect this one. After all, the chance of two aces being dealt in a hand three times in a row are astronomical.

I smiled to myself as I surmised that this change of tables had come on just at the right time. Most of the table bet the minimum so when it got to me, I raised but only twice the blinds so as not to scare too many people out and in hopes of raising the pot a little to maximize the chips in my win. Bob and my buddy, Frank stayed with me while the other two bowed out. Then came the flop with a King, a six, and another small card all of different suites. I checked hoping that one of them would have the king and I could trap him with my pair of aces. Bob too checked and then Frank bet pretty hard showing me that he had a pair of kings. I then decided to go all in. My thoughts were that I wanted to take the hand before someone lucked out and ended up with two pairs and thus beating me. I was quite shocked when Bob followed my all in with one of his own. "I remember Bob saying as he bet, "Frank, I am calling your bluff. Now, Lyle has a pretty good hand here. I just think that mine might be a little better.". Frank then looked at me and said, "Lyle, this is your time. I am going to contribute to your chip stack so you can win it all tonight.". With that, he called both of our all ins.

I quickly flopped over my two aces with a smile. "Unbelievable!", they all seemed to yell in unison. I then sat back and gloated at my winning of the hand. That is until a cool Bob smiled and said, "I thought my hand might be a little better.". At which time, he laid out his pair of sixes that matched with the six on the table gave him three sixes. Frank showed his King and Jack of clubs that gave him the worst hand of the three with the exception of one of the cards on the table being a club. No other aces came out so I knew that I still had a chance but my chances were getting slim. None of the next two cards were aces but both were clubs so the worst hand on the table turned into the best as Frank took the hand with a king high flush.

As Frank collected his chips after taking us both out, he laughed and said, "Well, Lyle, you always have a story on how you went out and tonight is certainly no exception".

So true, Frank, so true.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Elvis is back in the building

Back by popular demand. The Elvis Cinnamon Roll. I dont know how many people have stopped me and asked me about them. I guess that i just need to have more patience when it comes to introducing different items such as this.

Anyway, I have talked with the baker and they are back, this time on more perminent basis.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mr Bean at Redbox

Trinity rented a movie the other day at Redbox. The next morning I agreed to return it for her so I drove to Albertsons to do my duty and return the video.

When I arrived, I found a man about my age checking out the videos that were for rent. He had a list of movies written on a paper in his hand. He seemed confused as he looked at the movies and then back at the list. From time to time, he would place his index finger on his lips like he was trying to decide whether to rent the movie or not.

He went through the list of movies in the kiosk a couple of times, constantly checking back and forth between his list and the list on the screen. I know that he knew I was there since he kept looking back my way and then placing his body in front of me so that I could not see what he was looking at. I remember thinking how much his various reactions to things seemed to remind me of Mr Bean. For those of you who don't know who Mr. Bean is, I highly recommend you look up the TV shows that he made years ago in England. His reactions were so similar to the Bean character right down to the grunts and low voiced talking to himself. Then the unexpected happened.

Flatulation. And not the soft quite ones but the heavy loud ones. I began to wonder if I was on Candid Camera or something. I remember after one of the louder ones, that I actually chuckled. I looked around to see if anyone else had heard the gas attacks but no one was close enough to hear. I wondered what I should do. Should I stay or just come back later. Since Albertsons was so far out of the way, I decided to stay. After all, how long could he take.

After much contemplation, he finally picked a movie. I thought that I was about to get my chance when he stopped and looked at his list again and and we were back to the grunts, mutters, and more flatulation. One was so loud that I actually stood back a step or two. This couldn't last too long....could it. Back and forth between the list and the screen. Changing the screen to alphabetic he looked for that just right movie. All the while, he seemed to look back at me as if he wished I wasn't there.

Finally, after much consternation, he made his choice. I happily waited as he went to finalize his transaction. He swiped his card and it must have been a debit or something as he had to put some numbers into the screen. He raised his right elbow so that I could not see what he was typing on to the screen showing me that he must realize that I was there. He waited patiently for the videos to dispense from the machine.

With the movies in his hand, he quickly turned to leave. Seeing me, he threw his hands up in the air and almost dropped the videos pretending that he had never seen me. Then off he went, grunting and muttering as he shuffled out the door with his entertainment in his hand. I stood in awe and then looked around trying to find the hidden camera that I knew must be close by.

Seeing none, I laughed to myself as I returned the movie that Trin and I had watched the night before. I smiled to myself as I left the building and returned to my car. Would anyone believe what had just happened.

Mr Bean in real life.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July at Jakes

First off, I want to thank all of you who helped get the message out on this event.

The day started off with a bang rather early when I realized that we had not scheduled enough waitstaff. I quickly called around and brought in Judy and Ricci (one of our evening girls). One of the bussers wasn't feeling well and we sent her home thinking that the rush could not be that long.....we were wrong. Group after group showed up and the numbers seemed to overwhelm us from time to time and then we would seem to climb back out. Being short on help, it was important that we all back each other up and the crew really pulled together as a team. Needless to say by the end of the rush, we were all pretty beat up.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, Z21 news called and asked how I felt about Christian Boris, their weatherman doing the weather from our diner. I was very excited and told Judy. But Judy was far to busy to be happy about it. I knew that would change as soon as she was able to collect herself.

After the rush, I drove home quickly to tape the news so that I would not miss it. I set up to tape the five o'clock, 6 o'clock, and 11 o'clock. Then I woke up 30 minutes or so later. I was so bushed that just fell asleep with the remote in my hand. I quickly jumped back into the car and began helping to get ready for the BBQ. Everything seemed to run smoothly as we setup, decorated, put out flags and signs, and Jimmy got the BBQ ready.

Between 4 and 5, Z21 showed up with their broadcast van. I had never met Christian before and was quite happy to see him show up in attire that I would and was wearing. Shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. He was quite a bit taller than I had previously expected. I brought him in to introduce him to Judy. "Isn't he taller than he seems on TV?", I asked her. "He is on TV?", she returned. As you can probably guess, we don't watch much news on TV. Christian handled it with a smile.

The vets showed up and I began telling them what I needed of them and getting them to set up their organization. My buddy, Richard Smith, showed up to man the front of the line. Richard checks the stamps for all of our events. As a matter of fact, Richard is involved in just about every special event that Jake's puts on. A vet himself, a former Sea Bee, and a former circus performer, Richard is just plain a great guy.

Carrie and Jay showed up and Jay quickly took to Christian. He sat out on the curb at first watching his weather casts. Shortly, he was sitting on his skateboard, watching the monitor that Christian watched. Before long, Christian was talking with him between shots, quizzing him on Geography. Christian quickly found out just how good Jayden was at the subject. It was so much fun watching them interact and I was so thankful for Christian's attention to Jay.

Next the band showed up. I was told that the drummer would be the man who sometimes drums for Merl Hagard so I was very surprised to find out that I knew him. I am old friends with his father. After he drove up, he told me that his dad sent his greetings. The whole night just seemed to be looking up.

The BBQ started off with a bang and we quickly ran out of room on the deck and back room area. We did our best to direct the diners to our front room area and were quite pleased to see customers inviting other customers to sit with them. This only added to the fun of the event. I checked with Jimmy to find that the BBQ was going just as well for him. He commented that he was almost leery of how easy the night was pulling together.

With the band playing, the people eating, Christian doing his broadcasts, and local cruisers pulling into the lot, I was really in my element and was enjoying going from one area to the next just looking for a problem to solve. As I walked by the band, Richard started belting out one of his original songs about "Shaky Jake". "You know shaky Jake.", he sang, "He is the guy with the bright Orange hat on. I realized that he was singing about me and the crowd seemed to love it. I gave him a smile and a wave and kept going on my rounds.

Only minor hitches such as the lighting the BBQ after changing out the bottle and handling excess water on the floor marred the perfect night. Our crew seemed to work well along side the Vets who had volunteered.

The night seemed to fly by and before I knew it, Z21 had left and the band was breaking down. We began to break down the BBQ and take down the decorations while customers got themselves favorite spots in the parking lot. I instructed Gene, one of our guys, to put out pickle barrels with water in them. Last year, even though I had asked for no fireworks on my lot, it quickly got out of hand so I wanted the water to put those old fireworks in to keep them safe.

I quickly noticed that although their was fireworks outside of the lot, all within the lot area were just enjoying conversations and calmly waiting. I later found out that our customers were policing our lot for us. Richard saw one lighting some and challenged the guy. "Lyle lets us watch for free here. All he asked is that we don't light off fireworks. If you want to let them off, why don't you go to one of those places that charge you to watch.". I was overwhelmed with how much they cared.

Just before 10 with the diner closed and almost secure, I ducked out and drove over to my house to watch the fireworks with my family. Carrie had our tripod out, ready to get those shots of the pirotechs coming off of the butte. We watched the fireworks together and then Judy and I drove over to Ron Mercenheimer's (the man who I started the BBQ in honor of) as his girlfriend, Debra was having a birthday party. On the way down Eagle road, we encountered skateboarders wearing dark clothes and skating down the road in the dark. It was kind of unnerving trying to see them with lights coming down the road the other way blinding you even more.

Around Midnight, Judy and I arrived home and I lost no time getting right to sleep knowing that I would be getting up early to witness Kent's big flight. I do remember feeling very content as my head touched the pillow and I quickly lost consciousness.

I am very thankful for my crew, for the Vets who volunteered, for the band who played so well, for all who got the word out, for the pleasure of meeting Christian and his cameraman, and for the honor of being chosen to be the event that they chose to broadcast from.

The Kent has landed

Got word from his family a couple of hours ago. Kent landed in Idaho. The third time was truly a charm.

I got up early this morning and walked down to his gas station from the diner. All of his Model A buddies were out helping along with many other friends. I got to go into the inner circle which felt real good especially since I was having a hard time finding a place to watch. I talked shortly with Kent and he seemed so calm. I would probably be on such an adrenaline high or so anxious that I would not want to speak to anyone.

It was fascinating watching them hook up the last of the balloons. When they were all hooked up, you could barely see Kent. After a couple of tries to figure out the right ballast, Kent calmly shot up into the sky. Now that might sound like an oxymoron but Kent seemed very calm as the balloon rose very fast.

I went back to the diner and went out to my office for a short rest. I put my feet up on the garbage can and woke up an hour later. When I went out to the diner, I found that many of the crew had come down for breakfast and I got to speak to the last bunch of them.

Around 11, after not being able to track Kent online, I stopped by Stop and Go. A pilot had drove in and said that he saw the balloons and that Kent was not with them. This did not seem possible so I called his father in law, Stan up on the phone. Stan was able to get ahold of his daughter and found that all was well and that Kent was over John Day just slightly north of track. I then called Stop and Go to assure them that all was well especially since I figured that most would call them for an update.

Stan called me later this afternoon and informed me that he would be landing somewhere around Weiser. I then called Stop and Go to fill them in. I later called one of the Model A guys who was very happy to hear the news especially since he had heard of the pilot who felt that something had gone wrong.

I am very happy for him and for his family. Kent is a very good down to earth type of guy who is always a pleasure to talk to. I guarantee that even with all of the notoriety that he has attained, he does not consider himself famous. Even though we do.

Congrats Kent. Well Done!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Krazy Kent 2008

Here is another event for your Fourth of July weekend viewing pleasure. And this one you can actually interact with on your computer. Kent will take his 2008 version of his flying lawnchair up on Saturday morning from the Shell Stop and Go parking lot. This has already garnered him national news and I would bet that they will have to direct traffic on the corner of Hwy 20 and 27th street on Saturday morn.

I wonder if it is too late to get him to put Jake's on one of his water tanks. You need to add this to your list of events, Hack.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dud and Duke

It doesn't happen very often when you meet someone who makes such an impression on you as these two did on me. Two separate retired guys from two separate lifestyles. And then to have them pass away a month apart. I feel so honored to have known them both and so sad to not have their presence around anymore.

"Dud" Lemke was the first. I met Dud shortly after I began to move Jake's over to its new location three years ago. I did not know it at first but this friendly happy man was the father of a close friend of mine, Carl Lemke. Carl had talked about his father many times but I had not met him and now....he was living right behind our new building. I got to talk to Dud many times. Sometimes when he was just outside his house tending to his plants, or when he would come over on a Wednesday to look at the old cars, or when he would come in with his family or others, or the special times, when he would just come over for a cup of coffee and talk. Dud had some great old stories and jokes.

I was shocked when I found out that he was in his nineties. Especially since he had come over just a couple of years ago with his how and said, "I know you are busy, Lyle, so I am going to how down your weeds for you." and then did. It was hard but I visited Dud after he had had his stroke and was in a home. He laid there and looked up at me. I talked but he could not say anything. I asked him if there was something that I could do for him. He tried to speak but could only open his mouth. His caked lips said to me that he needed some water. I remember telling him, "I sure wish that I could read your mind and then know what you need.". Dud personality came out with a gleam in his eye and the sides of his mouth curling up in a smile. I knew then that he could hear me.

Dud passed away on May 24th.

The very first week that I began working on our new building, I was out back looking over the old appliances that the last restaurant had left behind. A man rode up on his bicycle. "Are you Jake?", he asked. "Actually, my name is Lyle.", I returned. I am not sure if he caught that or not but he always called me Jake from then on. He was riding around picking up cans. I immediately liked his smile and personality so we figured out a place between us where I would leave my cans for him to pick up. I enjoyed a few conversations with him but never got to know him real well. I always wanted to but I guess I just never found the time. Oh, we talked and talked alot but it was always small talk. I never knew that he was married or that he loved to dance. That truly became my loss.

After picking up the cans in our special place last week, he rode down to the Costco parking lot and was hit as he crossed Purcell. He passed on Saturday, June 28th. I deeply miss his smile, wave, and his "Hiya Jake!".

Two totally different men with two similar names and the two people from the park behind me that affected me the most. I have always prided myself with being a good judge of people. These two men were both characters and both of them were men of character. Good character. Men to look up to. Men who left behind loving wives, children who loved and respected them, and grandchildren who adored them.

Goodbye Dud. I wish I would have stayed there at the counter longer with you instead of jumping up to do my "work". Goodbye Duke. I just wish that I would have invited you in for that cup of coffee that I never did because "I was just too busy".

I miss you both, my friends.