In Edmonds, Washington: Natural Beauty, Grandkids, and a Corner Office at Starbucks.
That's how it used to be for me -- until our daughter and her husband and three kids moved to Edmonds three years ago. Since then, Barbara and I have been spending time in Edmonds -- recently returning from three weeks there -- and we're beginning to fall in love with it.
First, the beauty. Here's the family enjoying the beach, a short walk from downtown. Barbara is sitting on the log. In front of her are, from the left, son-in-law Ed, daughter Misha, granddaughters Mia, Talula, Bella, and far right, grandson Max.
Not only did Misha and Ed house us in Edmonds, but Misha also took on a project for my sister Ruby: a sign for her Oxford, Mass. lakeside cottage. The job: make it something to be proud of and to last at least forever. We gave her the size. She did the rest.
Misha picked the wood (cedar), type (color and size) and background (of her own making). Most creative and remarkable of all, she drew and then painted in red, white and blue the Pollock symbol: a fish. Then, to weatherize, she sprayed front and back with polyurethane over a few days, letting the surface dry after each application.
It was an original work of art. It bowled me over. When I showed it to Ruby, her jaw dropped. It was the sign of her dreams. Everybody else in the family loved it too. Now, drum roll please, here is the new sign for Ruby's cottage:
Below left, grandkids Aidan and Nathaniel, are shown enjoying the lake at Pollock Place.
They swim and net our little fish friends for hours.
I also have my own personal doctor in Edmonds, Dr. Bella. Here she is giving me my regular physical exam. She is very thorough and does it all. Last summer, with her brother Max assisting, she gave me a heart transplant.
For this exam, Dr. Bella's sister Talula assisted.
Dr. Bella pronounced me healthy and well, though she was concerned about my age. She gave me a prescription for a cough.
When Talula is not assisting Dr. Bella, she screams bloody murder when things don't go her way. I got into a tiff with her over a drink of apple juice. I stood my ground and kept the drink. Then I got her another drink and we made up.
Mia and I talked a lot. She is 11. I am 75. Oh, you think that with such an age difference that we don't have anything to talk about? Well, we do.
For one thing, we talk about an upcoming E-book, "Something Tells Her." It is about a 12 year old girl, a foster child, who runs away from her latest abusive foster home. Alone on the streets, no family, nothing, how is she going to survive?
Written by Miabella T. Riley and Published by State Kid Publications, "Something tells Her" is the real deal. Miabella T. Riley is a pen name. The author, whose childhood was spent in abusive foster homes, prefers to remain anonymous.
Spending time with Mia, I got to understand a 12-year-old girl -- how she thinks, what she knows and doesn't know, her fears. One afternoon the two of us walked to and from a park about twenty minutes away, talking the whole time. She can't wait to read "Something Tells Her."
Like her mom, Mia is multi-talented, a singer, dancer, actress, and a gymnast. Here she is performing during our park excursion.
The cover of "Something Tells Her" is done, with Mia posing as the girl. In the book, while her foster parents are playing with their own daughter and could care less where their meal ticket is, our heroine wanders down to the beach. She is about to wade into the rough waters when something tells her that she'd better not. She stays put.
On that beach on that day, another girl drowned. Here is the cover starring Mia:
Max is shown here sitting across from me at Starbucks. Unlike those gabby sisters of his, we two guys, he on his I-Pad and I on my computer, go long periods hardly saying a word.
One afternoon, Max and I walked to McDonald's where he got his favorite Happy Meal and then ran around the play equipment with other kids. On the way there and back, Max showed me how he could make the cars stop.
"Watch," he said at a crosswalk. He pressed the button. Sure enough, the cars stopped. He strutted across the street like a little emperor followed by his manservant.
"You made those cars stop," I said. "How did you do that?"
"Easy," he said with a flip of the hand. "Easy."
If afternoons were for kids, mornings were for editing "Something Tells Her" at Starbucks. I was there every morning between 6 and 6:30 and so had my choice of work spot. I picked the largest table, the handicapped table in the corner, and it quickly became my "office."
Ordering the same thing every day, coffee and a multi-grain roll, I worked every day until about noon.
At first, I wondered if the staff was going to show me the door. But all I got from every single one of them were smiles and apologies when one of them had to get something in the cabinet behind me.
"Sorry, sorry," they all said.
And they meant it, every single one of them. My corner office quickly became a home away from home.
I got to know other regular customers and they got to know me. Soon we were on a first name basis, chatting back and forth. It was like old home week.
Two regulars are Mike and Elaine, pictured here. Elaine works for the post office and starts off her day at Starbucks. Mike, who lost a leg in naval service, always had a joke or happy story.
When I came in a little later one morning, I found Mike hovering over my regular spot. "What are you doing?" I asked.
"What do you think I'm doing? I'm saving your place."
With another regular, Dave, right, it might have gotten nasty in a place other than Starbucks in Edmonds. We both wanted my corner office.
When I came in a little later one morning and found Dave sitting there, I stood surprised and obviously disappointed. "Come on," Dave quickly said. "Sit down. We'll share it."
So I did and, between working, we laughed and told stories as everybody does in the Edmonds Starbucks. A couple of times that I was sitting in the corner office when Dave came in, I invited him to share. He waved me off. He wanted me to have the corner office.
Another two regulars are Eber and his wife Teresa, left. She goes by Terry. We chatted just about every day. Terry gave me a personal tour of the elder care facility nearby where she works.
On the day before I was to fly back to the east coast, she came over to my corner office. "I'm going to miss you," she said, clasping my hand. "I hope you come back soon."
"Gonna miss you, too," I said. "I'll be back soon. I love Edmonds."
Let me end now with a photo of Barbara and me. It was taken on the ferry to Kingston, a small quaint village where we had a wonderful few hours walking around, sipping coffee in a quaint cafe, and enjoying life and each other. Edmonds is in the background.
Amazon E-Books by George Pollock
"Something Tells Her" is coming soon. Look for it here. Other E-books now available are: "State Kid: Hero of Literacy" is fiction based on his real-life experiences growing up in foster homes; "Last Laughs," is the true story of how five foster kids (he and four younger siblings) found their way in life and each other. "Killers: Surprises in a Maximum Security Prison," is the story of his being locked up for 23 hours with killers in a maximum security prison; "I, Cadaver" is about his postmortem adventures and mischief in the anatomy lab at UMass Medical School. “A Beautiful Story” demonstrates the art and process of creative writing as a 16-year-old boy goes all out to write a story that literally saves his life; "A Long, Happy, Healthy Life," is about how to live the title every day; and "Unlove Story," Writing anonymously as "Elvis," a husband, dumped after 38 years of marriage, lets it all out on love, marriage, life, everything. A guy doing this? It's unheard of.
For the Nook: