I did something that I have always wanted to do, I packed up my car, and Laddie, and drove off into the sunset, so to speak. I only had a vague idea of where I wanted to go and no idea how long we would be gone. It was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. I was completely free, with no one or anything to hold me back.
I knew that I wanted to see the Washington peninsula; I had never been there before. I had lived in Washington for five years and had never seen that side of the state. The side that promises mountains, the sea and cute little towns along its coast.
I knew that I wanted to hit some of the more popular spots, so I started off with Port Orchard, I didn’t stay. It wasn’t what I expected, too commercial. Which makes sense as it is very close to Seattle. I went on to Bremerton, which was a huge surprise to me. I loved the port feel, the small downtown feel, the ferries coming and going. However, I was very saddened by Bremerton at the same time. It is a dying city. Most of the cute downtown shops were closed; the only people I saw were just walking to the ferry, or to the naval buildings to start their shifts.
The potential of Bremerton is pretty vast. The tourist industry could really take off if the right people took of some of the empty stops downtown, which is within walking distance of the ferry. It broke my heart walking around what was once a thriving port that is now almost deserted.
I had breakfast at a cute mom and pop, Sweet and Smokey Diner, that had been there for generations. I sat at the bar where there was an old photo album. I started flipping through it which caught the attention of the little old lady who was my waitress. She told me all about the diner, the scandals and how the diner and the people who worked there were her whole life.
Her favorite story was how a young dishwasher married a waitress who was 30 years older than him. I can see why, that must have been the talk of the town! It turned out, that despite the town whispers, he loved her. He really did. They were married for a few decades before she grew ill. He took care of her until she passed and he couldn’t handle her loss. He became an alcoholic and lost everything. My waitress took pity on the man and gave him a job back at the diner where he met his late wife so many years ago. He stopped showing up after his second pay check. She still has hope for him though, and is waiting for him to come back to his job.
We chatted for way too long, she told me story after story. She shared with me how she too felt the loss of her will to live when her late husband passed. She was driving one morning to a town nearby when the sun was rising over the mountains and she knew, she knew that she didn’t want to die. That she wanted to live. The beauty of our home brought her back to reality. It took her a year before she had that moment. When she told me this, she wasn’t sitting by me. She was somewhere else, I can only imagine where. I’m glad that the sun rose that day for her. I am blessed to have met her and to have heard her stories. Such a beautiful person is a gift to our world, so full of love and generosity.
She told me that she had no desire to see other countries because ours was so wonderful and it had it all. She has traveled all over the United States and Washington is her home and always will be. I couldn’t agree with her more on both points. However, I do hope to see the world someday.
I met her on the first morning of my trip.