After decades of ignoring the Daffodil Parade, we traveled all the way from North Tacoma to South Puyallup - a distance of about fifteen miles. This was the second year in a row we felt compelled to watch the grand floral parade. Since Peggy is allergic to flowers, we weren't there to smell the daffs. We were in Puyallup to cheer on two granddaughters who were marching in the event for the second year in a row. At least this time we were a little more prepared. Last year we were surprised half way through the parade when we figured out that we probably had two granddaughters marching. This year we knew we had two marching. Last year we had a delightful spring day with beautiful skies and warm breezes. This year . . . not so much.
We arrived in Puyallup on Friday afternoon after visiting with our youngest son in Edgewood, on the north hill overlooking the Puyallup Valley. Patrick and his son, Riley, were getting ready to travel to Yakima for a baseball tournament, so they would miss the parade. Patrick was picking up our grandson on the way out of town. He hoped to make it over the pass before the rain (too late) and before darkness (that worked).
I dropped Peg off at her favorite antique store (Victoria Sells Antiques) on Meridian in downtown Puyallup, while I drove around looking for a parking space. As the city prepared for the Saturday parade, many parking spaces on the main street were sacrificed early. I circled a couple of blocks and then lucked out when I parked about forty feet from where I dropped Peg off, and just outside the Twisted Kilt, where we planned to have an early dinner.
Someone remarked that the date of the Daffodil Parade should be moved to later in the spring, but of course the timing of the parade usually coincides with the blooming of the daffodils. Mother Nature controls the weather and the growing season. We adjust. As a senior at Clover Park High School I marched in three Daffodil Parades, which usually means traveling to Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting. My buddies and I missed the Tacoma portion. Since it was raining we were told that we would not be marching, so we disappeared into the crowd only to stare at our band as they marched by about forty-five minutes later. This of course was before cellphones and texting. The band did just fine without the trumpets of Rich and Bill along my baritone saxophone. The weather changes and plans change.
I ducked inside the antique store and checked out the nooks and crannies until I found her. She paid for a new collection of hand-painted plates and then we walked in the rain to the "TK." Our friend Catherine Reuter from Saturn Barter had suggested the Twisted Kilt for dinner. I knew about where it was, but never saw a sign that said Twisted Kilt. It finally clicked when I put two and two together . . . Irish pub . . . initials TK . . . graphic of a guy playing the bagpipe and wearing a kilt. Ahhhhh.
The pub opened in 2011. I'm guessing it's a popular place. We were early for dinner, so there were a few places open. There are about five small bars along the south side wall and each little bar has four stools with swivel tops. This set-up allows "make believe" Irishers to belly-up to their own little bars.
Peg ordered a pulled pork sandwich, while I ordered a cup of chowder and a bowl of steamed mussels and butter clams. While we waited for the food, Peg had a Heineken and I had the latest beer on tap, Pyramid Weiss Cream. The "pull handle" was shaped like an ice cream cone. We both prefered the Heineken. The clam chowder arrived just after out beer. It was excellent. I had just had a "good" clam chowder the day before. This one was excellent. It was creamy and had plenty of clam pieces to chew on. The earlier chowder tasted like it needed salt. I hate to add salt, but I don't mind adding pepper. With salt, it's better to add a little early on in the cooking process otherwise it take a whole bunch to make a difference.
Peg's pulled pork sandwich was excellent also. I enjoyed the slaw as well as the thick homemade potato chips. My mussels and clams were in a well seasoned broth with pepper flakes floating on top and minced garlic sloshing under the surface.
The TK is a sports bar with an emphasis on soccer . . . make that "Sounders" soccer. There are jerseys all over the ceiling and walls and many of them are from the Seattle Sounders.
There were flat screen TVs everywhere. Earlier in the day Tiger Woods, playing in the Masters Tournament, had dropped a ball after an excellent shot resulted in a strike on the flag and a deflection into the water. Tiger dropped the ball a yard or two behind where he should have, but not nearer to the pin. OMG, it was a big controversy. Probably still is. Tiger was penalized. I would have probably positioned the ball with my foot and then been executed. Oh, well. I'll give Tiger some pointers next time we meet.
Our server was Colin Patrick Murphy. Really! He answered our questions and made suggestions. We noticed on the menu that the pub served a breakfast buffet on the weekends. Let's see now, they promised bisquits and gravey, bacon and eggs, sausage, and potatoes. For $10? This wasn't just an Irish pub, this was heaven. In addition you could choose to have corned beef hash for $12.
I was extremely happy with the food. My only problem was with the Irish soda bread. It was dry. When Colin asked about our dinner I merely mentioned that the bread was dry, but everything else was perfect. Colin removed the bread from the bill. I wasn't looking for that. I've had worse meals, much worse, and haven't been asked my opinion. To be asked and then take action was unusual. This place was quickly becoming a favorite.
The next morning, the day of the parade, was cold AND very windy. We parked about a block and half away and turned around after about twenty steps. We thought we would try to get a little closer. We easily parked about half a block away and braved the biting wind. We arrived ready for coffee and breakfast. The buffet wasn't quite ready, but almost. We arrived right at nine (opening time). The manager, Waylon, brought us coffee and then let us know when the food was ready. "Everything's out, except for the pancakes," he said. Peg doesn't care about pancakes, so we were first in line. Actually, there was no line. We were it. I was a little disappointed that the potatoes were not hashbrowns, but rather cubed potatoes. They were well seasoned and browned very nicely. The gravey had big chunks of their sausage links, and the bacon was thick and chewey.
What's not to like. The sausage and the bacon were excellent and the gravey went well with the potatoes. My only disappointment was the biscuits. I asked Waylon if they were always overcooked. He shook his head. With only one person cooking and getting the food out you can't expect everything to be perfect. I didn't complain. I just asked.
Peg had left her scarf at home, so we asked about the Irish Drinking Team scarf in Sounder's colors. For only $20 on a cold, cold morning, it seemed like a bargain. Peg immediately wrapped it around her neck under the collar of her jean jacked and got a hug from Waylon.
While the walk back to the car, was a little chilling, it was warming to find some a great little place as the TK. Excellent food and excellent service. That's tough to beat. Of course it was nice to have the scarf around Peg's neck to keep her warm. too. Otherwise I would have had to give her my coat and I would have been freezing. When we arrived back at the car, Peg looked in the back seat and saw her gloves. Those could have helped, also. At least she didn't run her icy fingers up my shirt as we drove away.
Friday we noticed that Peg's favorite book store in Puyallup had moved. Their Meridian location was empty. This had been a surprise. Our plans had been to visit the bookstore, the antique store, and the Twisted Kilt on Friday afternoon. They would have all been within thirty or forty feet of each other. I love that about downtown Puyallup.
As it was we only had to drive three blocks to find the new location. Like TK, Peg likes the people at the Novel Approach. We parked and as I took some exterior photographs Peg went inside. I put my camera away and followed Peg in. Withing thirty second I had a new book for me: Black Box by Michael Connelly. I first read his book The Lincoln Lawyer on our adventure to Port Orchard. Black Box is a Harry Bosch mystery. Bosch was a character from The Lincoln Lawyer series.
Peg found a novel by Donna Leone. She had been looked at several books stores over the past two weeks and kept coming up empty. This is why she likes the Novel Approach. For some reason, even though it's a small shop, they always seem to have what we need. Or rather perhaps they have kind of what we are looking for and we just don't realise it until we are there.
As I took the photographs a few minutes before I noticed that the shop is just across the street from my friends at Tuell-McKee Funeral Home. I mentioned this at the cash register and received a blank look. "Funeral services . . . no . . . I think they do . . . what do they call that . . . ashes . . .?" "Cremation," I suggested. "Yes," the owner said. "That's one of the services," I replied.
Tuell-McKee is across the street on E. Pioneer right next door to the Meeker Mansion, the home of pioneer and legend Ezra Meeker and his oxen Dave and Dandy. I don't think I've ever been in the mansion. We stopped there was the kids were young, but the mansion wasn't open. I've seen Ezra's wagon that he traveled in along the Oregon Trail and seen the stuffed oxen, but it would be nice to visit his home.
Peg and I had a queen suite at the Fairfield Inn, which is located just south of the Western Washington Fair grounds. We've been staying there for almost three years now. It's a Marriott hotel. The service is always good and the suite is our favorite room. It's on the fifth floor facing norht and has a view of the fairgrounds, the valley, and the north hill trees. Directly below the room the spring buds on sprouting on the saplings and a small stream flows between the hotel and the road. This is most water I've seen in the stream. Daffodils are blooking along side the hills leading down to the stream and skunk cabbage (also known as swamp lantern) grows wild in the muddy sides of the stream. It's quite beautiful if you don't get too close to the skunk cabbage.
We arranged for a parking space along Meridian, just a few feet from the road where we could sit in our car and watch the parade pass us by. Last year we only spent a few minutes in the car. This year we pretty much stayed in the car with the heater going. Wendy, our daughter-in-law kept us apprized of the parade order. We knew that her daughter Bailee and the Edgemont Middle School band would be marching in position #110.
Wendy let us know the Franklin Pierce High School band was approaching. Our other marching granddaughter, Caitlin, is a cheerleader at FP. We knew that Caitlin, like the other FP cheerleaders had not protect from the weather. She was marching in her short cheerleading skirt and bare legs. As soon as Caitlin saw us she yelled to Peg that she would be calling us soon. We were originally supposed to pick her up at the end of the parade in Orting.
I remembered that my golf umbrella was in the trunk, so Wendy retrieved it and used it to keep her dry along with two newly met friends at curbside. Peg and I stayed warm and dry inside. When Wendy got cold she would join us. She relayed the winning scores from Riley's games in Yakima. We talked about the kids and about the coming concert in Auburn where Bailee would be performing that evening.
We saw many people dressed in hoodies and sweatshirts leave the parade area as the day wore on. One band passed on the street wearing white shirts and black slacks. The white shirts became form fitting and nearly transparent as they took on water.
Finally it was time for Edgemont Middle School to appear. I snaked my way through wet children, adults and seemingly abandoned lawnchairs on the sidewalk. As Bailee approached I constantly shot pictures and then ran on ahead for another viewpoint. I couldn't tell if I was shooting her or not. She wore a clear plastic rain parka over a blue hoody. A strip of parka wrapped around her head and protected her mouthpiece and its reed on her clarinet. The vibration of the reed is what makes the basic sound of the clarinet. When I was in band I hated the sound of clarinets. A bad clarinet player squeeks more often than not. I've not noticed the squeek from the Edgemont band. Either they are really good or I've become more tolerant. I think I know which.
As soon as Bailee's group passed Peggy and I bailed. Caitlin had called and the Franklin Pierce bus was taking their entire group back to the school. They were through for the day. Wet and cold and shivering watching the still threatening skies they decided to not continue to Sumner and Orting. Caitlin had one of Peggy's asmthma enhailers, which her mom had taken home by mistake. We needed to pick it up so we drove out to their home. I waited in the car, but when Peg appeared with her breather she had a dry Caitlin in hand. We had promised her dinner. We visited Bankok Thai on Southill and had a great meal. We sent all three boxes of leftovers home with Caitlin. She would probably get one and our son Del, would probably have two days of lunch ready for sometime over the rest of the coming week. We had a nice time talking about the possiblities of her attending Washington State University in the fall. She wants to be a veterinarian. Lunch was relaxing although I may have been teasing her a bit.
By the time dinner was over we had time to stop by the hotel and pick up our books and continue on to Auburn. We arrived at Bailee's church with about forty-five minutes to spare. There was no time for a nap, so Peg and I just remained in the car and read and relaxed . . and then read some more.
We really had no idea of what Bailee was going to do. I heard back-up and I heard something about playing guitar. She's self-taught, well her the internet anyway. We got to hear some folky religious songs (possibly Joan Baez?) and then some barbershop quartet. The group that performed we had last seen at Federal Way's CenterStage for Late Night Catechism. As they started singing Listen to the Radio I turned to Peggy and we both mouthed the words "Nanci Griffith," who is one of our favorite singer-songwriters.
Bailee and a woman were back-up singers for a guitar player/singer and then Bailee took the spotlight all alone playing the guitar and singing an original song, Umbrella.
We drove back to Puyallup from Auburn took the elevator up to our room and collapsed on the bed where we read, napped, and eventually slept. What a fun weekend. We met new people, found a great restaurant, enjoyed music, and spent time with our family. Now, that's an adventure.