Ian Johnston – Farewell

June 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Miscellaneous 

The exact date I met Ian, and the particulars, are lost in the fog of time like so many memories, but it must have been 25 years ago or so. I have an image of being approached while I am playing tennis with my wife but that may be a false memory. I might just be projecting myself into a scenario that I witnessed many times in the years that followed. Ian would spot someone he didn’t know on another court and introduce himself. It doesn’t really matter how it happened, the point is that we got together on the Walnut Grove tennis courts and a tennis friendship was born.

Ian and I had similar skill levels at that time unlike some of his original partners. His friend Richard, Barry the schoolteacher, and Peter the Brit often made us look foolish. But over time the group grew. Ian was indiscriminate and assembled an interesting cast of characters. There was Young Ian, the hearing-impaired teenager who drove us crazy chasing down every damn ball. Mark, the first galoot, along with Little Ron, who only earned that name because he was, and is, slimmer than me. Harold, who was better on one good leg than many of us are on two. Ted, who Ian loved to tease about being cheap, and Roy and Bryan with his snowshoe-sized racket. Old Raymond, who was just “Raymond” until New Raymond came along. Many more joined in over the years. Some stayed while others came and went. Some were better than us, some weren’t. Some could make a line-call, some struggle with that part of the game. But Ian didn’t care about skill level, language or accent, gender, or nationality. If you could hit a little green ball with a tennis racket, you were “in”. Ian was “inclusive” before it became a cliché.

For years we played in fog, cold, wind, and scorching sun. When the rains came during a match, we kept going until the risk of slipping was too high and “coffee time” was declared. Ian was the “President” of our group before it became a proper organization and was absolutely instrumental in bringing together enough tennis enthusiasts to support an indoor facility in Langley.

There are many things I will remember about Ian, like his desire to win the warm-up, the victory cackle and celebratory strut after hitting a winner, and his supply of corny jokes, the love for his family, but most of all – the joy he found in the game and the friends he made along the way.

Ian, I was one of your early tennis mates and your last doubles partner. I enjoyed the first game, the final set, and every point in between. Thanks for finding me, however it happened. I will think of you every time I play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final days.

February 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Miscellaneous 

We didn’t plan any outdoor activities on Saturday. With our vacation winding down, an Outlet mall was high on Sigrun’s list of things left to do and I had my heart set on visiting Joe’s Real Barbecue in downtown Gilbert. We managed to do both of these things, plus a bit of a walk, before seeing a special New Year’s Eve presentation of a play called Is He Dead?, advertised as a comedy based on a story by Mark Twain, at the Hale Theater in Gilbert.

The shopping was so-so (Sigrun did buy a pair of shoes); the barbecue was very good; the play wasn’t that special (it was more slap-stick farce than the type comedy that I associate with Mark Tawin’s dry wit). The second act salvaged the performance and all-in-all, it was a very nice evening. We returned to the condo and treated ourselves to some treats and drinks to bring in the New Year.

The next day, the rain returned in ernest and we were happy to have planned a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in north Scottsdale. In a nutshell, we loved it but 3 or 4 hours is not enough time to do it justice. They give you a headset and receiver that is activated every time you stand in front of a display. You see a video and hear dialogue and music. The galleries are large and full of instruments from all over the world.

Rastafarian harp in the lobby.

Steinway’s 1836 “kitchen” piano. Made before moving to the U.S. and changing his name.

Beautiful guitar.

A percussion zither.

After leaving the MIM we finished our trip to Arizona with a steak dinner at Wally and Laura’s place in Mesa. Early the next morning (January 2) we caught a cab to the airport and were greeted in Bellingham with Arctic outflow wind and snow. Welcome home.

 

Hieroglyphic Trail

January 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Miscellaneous 

It was a convoluted drive to the trail-head. Thank goodness for road signs after leaving Hwy 60. We started up the trail marked Hieroglyphic Trail (Petroglyphs). I remarked that it didn’t make sense that it was called “Hieroglyphic” since they were native petroglyphs. Read more

Siphon Draw/Basin

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Arizona 2016 

With only three days left and more rain moving in on the weekend, we got ambitious on Friday, planning two hikes. The first one started back in Lost Dutchman Park and penetrated the lower reaches of the Superstition Mountains not far from the Massacre Grounds trail. It’s mostly uphill from the parking lot on a well-marked route for a change. It turned out to be one of the more challenging hikes we’d done but the pay-off if a narrow valley carved out of solid rock by eons of rushing water into the shape of a bowl. Read more

Scottsdale

January 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Arizona 2016 

On Thursday we decided to do something different. Instead of hiking we drove to Scottsdale and rented bikes. Sigrun learned, on the internet, about a bike route called Indian Bend Wash, that runs the length of Scottsdale, north/south for 11 miles. Read more

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