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Today is Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day. This is usually a big deal in Ballard, now considered a Seattle neighborhood that used to be (and still should be) its own entity. But thanks to the restrictions on free association and public gatherings, Syttende Mai is a silent affair this time around.

There’s no parade, no packed museum, none of the usual parties in the parking lots, yards, and bars around Ballard. After 130 years of proudly celebrating Norwegian heritage, this happy annual event is on hold. It was that long ago that my Norwegians came to the area. My great-grandmother, born soon after her parents arrived in this country, spoke Norwegian and I love honoring her family at Syttende Mai each year.

Per the National Nordic Museum, our local 17th of May Committee has still pulled off a virtual Syttende Mai. It starts within the hour… I hope that the museum and the committee are okay with me posting this information. I don’t see it on their websites; it came in email form. I’m assuming we still want as many people to participate as possible so am taking the chance of posting this part of the museum’s email online. If there are any objections please let me know.


From the museum:

Seattle’s 17th of May Committee has worked hard to bring several virtual ways to celebrate to our community! You can join them online for speeches, a concert, and a singalong on May 17th.
12pm—Speeches and Virtual Skål
With 17th of May Committee chair-person Anne-Lise Berger; Honorary Consul Viggo Forde; virtual grand marshal General Consul Jo Sletbak; His Majesty King Harald; Honorary Consul Viggo Ford, and more.
Link to join

1pm—Hardanger Concert
With The Norwegian American
Link to join

4pm—Syttende Mai Singalong
With Leif Erikson Lodge
Link to join 
(There is a meeting ID needed… I’m hesitant to publish this given the Zoom bombing going on. You might want to contact the lodge for log-in info.)

Share your at-home celebrations with Leif Erikson Lodge on Facebook!

Be Cool, Stay Good

Midday I was tooling along in my motor car when I noticed a crude sign taped to a speed limit signpost in Kirkland’s Rose Hill neighborhood. I pulled over to investigate. Technically it shouldn’t be taped to this pole, but the cheery scrawl on the placard intrigued me.

From the mouths of babes… the best advice during times of crisis can come from children. Someone clearly worked hard on this flower-embellished sign. It advises passersby to be cool, stay good, home, be nice, stay. The overarching theme is to be and stay cool, good, and nice by staying home, although I love the “be cool, stay good” vibe.

Nearby was another sign that caught my attention. Its message was clear and heartfelt. Its beauty is in its simplicity.

Ultimately, these expressions of goodwill and gratitude help to ease each others fardels, which happens to be the word of the week on the outdoor whiteboard long stationed in the Highlands neighborhood.

To paraphrase George Eliot, what do we live for if not to assuage each others’ fardels?


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

For years I have been fascinated with the story of a goldfish that survived the April 29th, 1965 Puget Sound earthquake. This was a strong quake that one of my parents remembers vividly. They were just kids when it happened, and as a kid I remember marveling over their description of the strong jolts, groceries toppling, and the pavement in the parking lot of a Pierce County grocery store rising and falling in waves.

HistoryLink’s Alan Stein wrote a piece on this nearly 20 years ago which is posted below (click to see the explanatory newspaper photo). Given the local connection to Juanita Beach, and the fact that Wednesday is the 55th anniversary of the earthquake and the goldfish’s improbable survival, I’ve wanted to make this into a local festival. I asked around. No bites. And that was before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.

At minimum, I wanted to put this logo, with its upside down fish bowl, on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Kirkland needs to celebrate its history more as its high density development is swallowing up the past. We see cars with odes to Wall Drug, the world’s largest ball of string, and the Mystery Spot, so why not our Juanita Beach goldfish? Why not make this a thing? It’s especially salient with the renovations going on at the park right now. Much of the park is being completely redesigned.

If you live or work anywhere near Kirkland, raise a glass to the Pepple goldfish this Wednesday, April 29th, then turn it upside down quickly and see if you can get a seal. We really should celebrate something this memorable, this miraculous, this bizarre… especially at a time when we all need a really good party.


Goldfish survives bizarre earthquake experience on April 29, 1965.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 3/01/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3037

On April 29, 1965, a goldfish owned by Juanita resident Howard Pepple survives a strange experience. The glass bowl containing the fish flips off a 4-foot 8-inch bookcase, overturns, and lands on the floor upsidedown, forming a seal. When Mr. Pepple returns home, he finds the fish swimming complacently in its overturned domicile.

A Fish Story

Pepple, a caretaker at Juanita Beach Park, lived in an apartment above the park’s concession stand with his wife and fish. No one was home during the quake except the fish, so two hours after the temblor Mr. Pepple returned to assess any damage that may have occurred to their dwelling and possessions.

The object most out of place was the fishbowl. When the Pepples had left in the morning it had been sitting on a shelf, more than four feet above the floor. It was now lying upside down at ground level. Examining it further, Mr Pepple saw water inside. The fish swam within, oblivious to its current predicament.

Flipper

Investigators surmised that during the quake, the shelf swayed, and the bowl was knocked from its perch. It flipped end over end as it fell to the tiled floor. The soft tile, similar to lineoleum, softened the blow, and the mouth of the bowl landed perfectly flush with the floor. A seal formed which kept water (and fish) inside. Rocks which had been on the bottom of the glass domicile were on the floor, still within the fishbowl.

The local newspaper was alerted to this bizarre event and photos were taken. Pepple then inverted the bowl, returned it and its resident back to the shelf, and things returned back to normal in the Pepple household. All was well again in Juanita.


Sources: “Juanita Goldfish Swims After Quake Flips Bowl,” East Side Journal May 6, 1965, p. 1.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com except HistoryLink article, which is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution.

Christian Coalition for Safe Families

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

When a church learns of domestic violence in a relationship, or suspects it, there are several common reactions by church leaders and members, all of which can endanger the victim(s).

First, those in the church, particularly in leadership, strongly caution each other not to take sides. The credibility of the alleged victim may be vigorously questioned at this point. The victim’s past may be dredged to find reasons that they may be fabricating or exaggerating the disclosure of domestic violence. Friends, acquaintances, and family members may be questioned as to the veracity of their claims. Physical illness, mental illness, disability, past trauma, drug or alcohol abuse, and infidelity may be offered as factors driving a victim’s “desire for attention.”

Another common reaction is to treat the victim and suspect as equally liable for the abuse. The couple in question is admonished to get into…

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Workplace Bullying

Wow! This video, posted online by the advocacy group Dignity Together, is the best summary of workplace bullying that I’ve seen. The target of the bullying is not the problem or the solution, yet employers often treat them as if they’re responsible for the abuser’s actions. Without intervention, the problem will get worse, and there is real psychological and physical suffering that results from the torment.

I often point out the parallels between this and domestic violence– both are driven by power and control. Both are motivated by a sick need to make others feel small and by those who find pleasure in making others miserable. We must stand up to this and educate others as to what workplace bullying is and what to do about it– please pass it on.

Perspective

This is the cottage I call the Feriton Fairy House. Where is Feriton, you may ask? It’s on Google Maps… right smack where the Google campus is in Kirkland, Washington. KirklandHistory.org has a well-researched explanation of why this area is called Feriton. Most Kirklanders are unaware of its historic name.

Located just north of the walking and biking trail through the heart of the city known as the Cross Kirkland Corridor, you can pass by and completely miss this gem built in 1945. The area is dominated by commercial and industrial sites from the CKC southward, and larger, more modern residential buildings on the other sides.

This is what you might see as you travel towards Houghton (PCC, Met Market, Northwest University) on 6th Street South.

Here is what you might glance at while traveling northward.

You might think it’s just a shack on property worth most of a million waiting to be swallowed up by another condo building. But stop for a moment. Look closer.

The closer you get, the more idyllic this setting becomes. The busy road and the bike lanes start fading away. You become aware of the tinkling water of a creek. You begin to marvel at the lush grounds and old trees.

Linger longer. Who lived here? What was its purpose? I’ve met the owner and know that he still cares for the place. There is nothing worth stealing, yet this little island of calm on the edge of downtown is priceless.

The Feriton Fairy House has seen better days. Yet it’s that worn, down home feel that lends itself to the fairy tale realm. You can weave many stories centered around this house. You can imagine a World War II veteran having lived there since he came back from France. You could conjure up a tale of three raccoons that live inside and argue over how to make the best buckwheat pancakes for their woodland neighbors. Perhaps a wise gnome in a blue cap lives there and only comes out in the moonlight.

Even when you’re walking by across the street it doesn’t seem like much.

Just cross the street, though, and you seem to be staring at a little slice of the shire. Imagine this without the fence, without the adjacent busy trail, without the sidewalk and sign. It seems like another time and place.

You’re standing in the middle of a city near the campus of a major corporation yet here is this splash of country. Follow the creek under the roadway and you’ll find a friendly willow and magnificent magnolia soaking up the hydration on the other side.

We often take one glance and keep moving. There is value in stopping, looking, breathing in, tuning the distractions out. We can fail to see great beauty when we pass by too quickly or stand too far off. It’s when we pause and explore, when we get a little closer, that we can find an oasis in the arduous busyness of life.

There’s no two-car garage here. No upper stories or pretentious balconies. The beauty here is in its simplicity. Standing on the edge of this property, while you’re drawn into the pastoral setting, you cross a threshold into a timeless state in which you realize this is what Kirkland once was.

May this cottage continue to stand as a monument to a simpler time when we wanted less and were grateful more.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Passover 2020

From the Israeli Philharmonic

During a Passover Seder, four questions are asked:

On all other nights, we eat chametz (leavened foods) and matzah. Why on this night, only matzah?

On all other nights, we eat all vegetables. Why, on this night, maror (bitter herbs)?

On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?

On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?

This year, some say that a fifth question has been added:

On all other years, we observe Passover with friends and family. How is this year different than other years?

An astute teacher pointed out that this is the first Passover… since the very first Passover… that observers are shut in. Israel, specifically, is on lockdown. Another said we are literally believing that, as on the first Passover, the destroyer will pass over our houses.

Many Christians believe in “pleading the blood,” meaning that they pray in the power of the One who shed His blood for humanity, and therefore are standing upon that power tonight. They believe that He sets us free and we are slaves to our selfish nature no more. On the first Passover, blood was literally painted on the doorposts of the Israelites so that they were saved from the plague. Soon after, they were able to flee Egypt.

Are these mere fairy tales? Or are these concepts of infinite importance as our entire planet is in the throes of a plague? Some may reject and denigrate those with faith, but many others are looking to God for deliverance at this time. Increasing numbers of people are finding divine meaning in this pandemic, recognizing it as a grand reset. This may be a reset of our priorities, of our values, of how we spend our time and with whom. Many are discovering new talents and new strengths, including new ways to generate income.

As we celebrate this strange social distancing Passover, expect miracles. Mankind is working hard to end this plague and we should. That work combined with sincere faith, which activates that wonder-working power, is going to overcome this alien invader. We will come out stronger– spiritually stronger, economically stronger, stronger in our relationships with others.

The night may be dark and the aether laden with risk. However, as the people of the cross like to say this week, it’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming. חג שמח!


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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