Eugene Daily News.

Viewpoint: Go Set A Watchman

Go Set A Watchman
Go Set A Watchman US Book cover.

On July 14, 2015, one of the most anticipated fiction novels was released both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Go Set A Watchman, the second book by author Harper Lee made it’s debut almost fifty five years to the day after the first release of To Kill A Mockingbird. The storyline of Watchman centers on Jean Louise Finch, “Scout” returning home to Maycomb County to discover, everything has changed since she and her brother Jem were the object of attention from neighbor Arthur ‘Boo’ Radley.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch
Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch

In the weeks leading up to the release, reviews began to emerge that the father of Jean Louise, Attica Finch, had become a racist. In To Kill A Mockingbird, Atticus defends a man falsely accused of rape, and later during the film of the same name, Gregory Peck delivers one of the revered performances ever, which won him an Academy Award.

Writers and the blogosphere cried out in dismay at the fall from grace.

“Say it isn’t so?”

“Falls from grace – first Cliff Huxtable, now Atticus Finch.”

With a simultaneous release in both the United Kingdom and the United States, fellow writers “across the pond” got their hands on the book and were putting their thoughts into newspapers, before I even woke up. After reading their reviews, I wondered if it was worth preordering and prepaying for my copy on the first day release.

On the third day, and after avoiding the “mass hysteria” about Mister Finch’s tainted view, I picked up my copy and isolated myself for the read. Cover to cover, one sitting. As I read the book, I could not help but be drawn back to the circumstances that brought Lee’s first book to me.

Growing up in Australia, there was not a lot of detail paid to the civil issues of the South. The book, To Kill a Mockingbird, is required reading in junior High School English, along with Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. My first viewing of the film was in 1982 – not a lot of television in Australia. However, as my daughters grew up, they too also experienced Mockingbird as required reading in both Australia and the USA. Like myself, they also were not exposed to the civil issues of the south before the book, but had more exposure to Hollywood’s interpretation of the issues.

Go Set A Watchman draws on the premise that every person has a Watchman, a conscience. Jean Louise, on a humid Sunday afternoon finds herself sitting in the same balcony of the courthouse where she watched her father so many years ago. This time, Atticus is leading a Citizen’s Council. Jean Louise is horrified and then goes on tirade against almost everyone. Almost.

The book has flashback scenes interspersed explaining where her childhood friends ended up.  Dill lives in Italy and her older brother, Jem, passed away with a heart attack. About the only person in Maycomb that hasn’t changed is Calpurnia, who is still the housekeeper for Mister Finch.

Go Set A Watchman reads like a “first draft”, including a reference to Atticus defending Tom Robinson, and having him acquitted of rape twenty years earlier – the storyline that would eventually became Mockingbird. Watchman does not have the same hold as Mockingbird, and it’s hard to imagine that Lee would “allow” this to be released, after a lifetime of rejecting pleas for a sequel. Lee, aged 89 and still living in Alabama, had her manuscript of Watchman “found” during an audit of assets by her lawyer.

Widower Atticus Finch
Widower Atticus Finch

The commotion about Atticus appears to be, unjustified. After getting into a heated discussion with Jean Louise, Mister Finch delivers the same lines from Mockingbird that his daughter has always heard from him. As her father, Atticus has never “forced” her daughter to do anything, and this time is no exception. The hysteria about Atticus being a racist old Southern lawyer, is unfounded. The town of Maycomb may have had a change of viewpoint towards civil rights, but Atticus, is still the same reserved man fighting the same internal demons that he did in Mockingbird.

I wouldn’t expect anything else from a single father bringing up his children in a evolving world.

Behind The Scenes: Don’t Be Ashamed of Selfies


I think the negative press surrounding “Selfies” is absurd and we need to fight back. I myself have been called “The King of Selfies” and wear that badge with honor. Not everyone can take a picture of themselves and have it come out looking great.

I don’t know when I figured out the art of “Selfie” photography but perhaps because I videotape myself a lot I’m comfortable pointing and shooting a camera at my own mug. My kids sometimes make fun of me for shooting pictures of me, me and my wife, me and your wife or even politicians I spot shopping for a tie at the Rack (Ron Wyden)


We recently produced a video explaining our position on “Selfies” and I’m asking people like you to send me a “Selfie” so I can put it on the Rick Dancer TV show. I believe “Selfies” are an important cultural issue. I’ve heard parents concerns over the “Selfie” but for goodness sakes there are far greater issues to tackle out there than kids/adults or even people like me who take one-handed pictures of themselves.

I’m supposed to use these “Behind the Scenes” blogs to talk about the Rick Dancer TV show so before the editor of Eugene Daily News tries to fire me (Kelly Asay) I’d better get back to topic.

For the month of June we are digging through our archives finding our favorite stories to re-air on the show. Its fun to go back and look at what you’ve done and think of what you want to do differently in the future. We’ve created some amazingly important content over the past six or so years and I hope you enjoy what we’re dusting off and bringing back.

We are also adding many new things to the show, a new helpful tips piece from Womenspace on how to talk with your kids and A-1 Auto Glass begins a new series of spots about Rock Chip Repair and the importance of getting your windshield replaced by a reputable dealer, like A-1.

One of the greatest things about my job is I learn so much from my clients. I’m excited to share some of these A-1 facts with you over the next few months. Some of them deal with safety and we’re all better off understanding how our cars operate and the importance of the windshield when it comes to safety.

If you stayed with me to this point in this blog you win the big prize. You can now go online and watch the Rick Dancer TV Episode for Sunday June 1st.

If you choose to wait, you can watch it live on KEVU Sunday at 4:30pm.

Mandarose: A Local Film to Challenge the Spirit of Sprout



When you think of a movie about someone with a disability, you might imagine the disability being the main point of the film. But in real life a disability is simply part of life, part of someone’s story, not the basis for everything about that person.

The same is true in the film “Mandarose” to be presented this year at the Full Access sponsored “Sprout Film Festival” on March 14th.

“Mandarose”, a film by Portland film director Gabe Van Lelyveld, is a challenging look at a relationship between two sisters.

One of those sisters has a disability and the other is the caregiver.  The film explores three days in the life of Amanda and Rose as they confront the challenges of their relationship. The movie is about that string connecting two people that can sometimes be pushed and tighten to limits that become unbearable.


“Mandarose” will challenge the audience as the film has important things to say about relationships, spirituality and sexuality.

Gabe Van Lelyveld got the idea for the movie while following two women on the streets of Port Townsend, Washington.  He noticed, by their stride, the closeness and also the tension that often make up our relationships.

It wasn’t until later, while writing the script, that the idea to include a sister with a disability, surfaced.

Van Lelyveld believes it’s important to give voice to people who are often misrepresented in mainstream media.

This is not a film about people with disabilities it’s about two people and their struggles. It just so happens one of those characters has a disability.

Van Lelyveld does something I admire in this film, he doesn’t label or even give official diagnosis to the disability, and instead it’s just part of the film, part of life and part of the story.

This movie will challenge you on many levels. Van Lelyveld draws no conclusions but leaves plenty of room for you to make your own.

You will experience the emotion for yourself at the Sprout Film Festival at the Wildish Theater on Friday March 14th.

There is a reception from 5:30 to 7:00 that you won’t want to miss. The films run from 7:00 to 9:00pm

Van Lelyveld will be at the festival to answer you questions and watch this film with you.

For more information and tickets call 541 284 5070 or visit us at

Here is a trailer for Mandarose.


Goodwill and Centro Latino Americano Team up For Jobs


Goodwill has an amazing Jobs Connections Program. We’ve shown you that in the past and if you’d like to find out more just click HERE and you can watch the video.

Now, thanks to a partnership with Centro Latino Americano, a lot of Spanish-speaking job seekers in our area are getting the help they need to find a job.

This video explains how the internship works and a client in the video will show you why this is so important.

If you know of someone who might benefit from this program, please send that person both of these videos.

And please remember when you are cleaning out the garage or the closet and have things you don’t need, bring them to Goodwill Industries.

Not only are you helping by recycling, but the dollars produced off your gently used goods help fund the Jobs Connections program.

Behind the Scenes of RDTV Survivors


When January rolls around something in my soul becomes uneasy. I never used to get that way but January of 2010 changed my January’s forever. That is the year doctors discovered my Prostate Cancer. A few months later I added a new label to my resume “Cancer Survivor.”

Recently while thinking of a topic for the next Rick Dancer TV show the thought hit me: “Rick, you should do a show on survivors?”


So that is what we are doing. Over the years we have produced many stories on folks who beat the odds, fight their fears and make their way into the survivor category. We’re starting with my Prostate Cancer story and moving to a woman with a very rare, yet fatal disease called Scleroderma.

Don’t worry the show is not all about illness, in fact one of my favorite “Womenspace stories” will also air in this episode. The story of a mother and her son and how she discovers 20 years after receiving services that she truly did the right things. Also included in our look at survivors a couple of amazing women from the Look Me In The Eye Program.

We even have a song, written by a local artist, about survival.

Rick Dancer Television is moving into a new realm. We are shifting focus a bit and going deeper than before and it’s really starting to resonate with viewers. We’re still going to produce the fun shows that introduces you to restaurants and informs you about the community. But a little depth to the soul never hurt anyone and besides, pain is the beginning of passion and we could sure use a little more of that in the community today.

Rick Dancer TV “Survivor” airs January 12th at 4:30 on KEVU.

For EDN readers, you can watch it right here (hit Fullscreen!)

[youlist vid=”cDXfMEXlO90″ width=”650″ modestbranding=”0″ showinfo=”1″ controls=”2″ fs=”1″ rel=”0″ start=”0″ loop=”1″]


You can also find it on along with all the other great episodes you may have missed.


Take A Hike At Spencer Butte – The Butte That Almost Wasn’t


Eugene is full of landmarks but nothing compares to the domineering Spencer Butte.  The Butte that almost wasn’t.  You can see it for many miles and once you have made the hike to the top, the view is amazing.  Standing at the summit is like standing in the center of a bundt cake! (well the shape anyhow) Really.  It’s elevation is approximately 2058 feet.  Once you reach the top it can take your breathe away (if it hasn’t already during the climb up that is).

Summit of Spencer Butte
Summit of Spencer Butte

Standing at the summit you can see out over the entire Eugene area and the mountains that surround it. You can literally turn 160 degrees and look at Lane County, it really is quite amazing.  There are 4 separate trails leading up to the summit of the butte.  I have only been up the main trail but have plans to hike the other trails.  It consists of switchbacks and amazing scenery.  There is also Poison Ivy and Oak so be careful on your hike.

The Calapooia Indians called the Butte Champ-a-te meaning Rattlesnake Mountain.

In the mid 70’s over 10,000 man hours were logged by volunteers improving the trails and walking in tons of rock, no machinery could be used to haul it in.

There are a few conflicting theories on who it was named for, but it is known how it came about.

F.M. Wilkins Mayor Eugene, Oregon  April 1905 - April 1907
F.M. Wilkins Mayor Eugene, Oregon April 1905 – April 1907

In January 1937 the Eugene Parks Commission began talks to purchase Spencer Butte, which was owned by two different person’s.  240 Acres of the Butte was owned by the daughter of Dr. Charles Church, a prominent businessman in the steamboat industry.  When his daughter Lizzie married Ida Giese, she and her husband inherited the property from Mr. Church.  The 40 Acres remaining on the West side was owned by Alice M. Morse.  F.M. Wilkins, a former mayor of Eugene was acting president of the Eugene Parks Commission.  Talks with Mr. Giese narrowed down a selling price of $30 an acre.

“Remember, Eugene boys and girls will be climbing Spencer Butte fifty and one hundred years from today, to be inspired by looking over a city built out of the very foot of the butte.  F.M. Wilkins

Negotiations ensued about the down payment of $1,100 and repayment of the note in full over time, the question was how to raise the money for the agreed upon down payment.  Geise was requiring the payment to be made within 30 days as there was now a second offer on the land.  The private party that was trying to purchase the land from Geise had his eye on the property with plans to clear the trees and use it as a goat pasture.

The City of Eugene failed to acquire a loan from the bank to secure the transaction, time was running against them.  Left to their own efforts and want of that Butte, they devised a plan.  During a meeting the Register Guard and the Eugene Daily News offered their support and ran a publicity campaign, informing the residents of the need for donations.

The fund raising campaign began on January 13th, 1937.  It seemed as if the entire community was involved, the newspapers reporting the daily tally as it inched closer to it’s mark.  The deadline was drawing near and it looked impossible to reach their goal of $1,100. By the deadline of January 30th, the funds were short; coming up with only $687.00.  Adding insult to injury, Mr. Geise lowered his offer to $6,000. The $200 was his contribution to the parks fund.  At the last moment, an elderly man posted $1,000 government bond to guarantee the funds and the rest is history.

Photographic reproduction of a lithograph of Eugene, looking south toward Spencer Butte. Copied from Walling's History of Lane County (1884).
Photographic reproduction of a lithograph of Eugene, looking south toward Spencer Butte. Copied from Walling’s History of Lane County (1884).

More than a thousand people contributed to the fund, ranging from 1 cent to five dollars during the campaign.  The remaining balance due was put to the people and onto the ballot to cover the costs.  The ballot measure passed in may of 1940.

A celebration dinner was held to thank the people of Eugene and the newspapers for the support and generosity in helping to raise the funds necessary.  

There are always things happening at Spencer Butte, and a never ending need for volunteers to keep it cleaned up.  Won’t you be a part of it’s history?

For further information about volunteering at the Butte, please visit the City of Eugene.

Take a hike!  You won’t be sorry that you did.  I would recommend comfortable shoes, water and a camera!

See you at the top!



Celebrating The Harvest At Detering Orchards – A Photo Essay


I headed out to Detering Orchards this past Sunday to enjoy their Apple Daze and had such a blast!  I met the Owner Greig Detering upon my arrival, instantly I felt at ease and right at home.  I wandered around enjoying the grounds, and took photographs as I did.  I wanted to share them with you, I hope you can see what I see.  I would encourage you to head out there, they hold their Apple Days each weekend during the month of October.

Detering Orchard
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

There were many different types of squash to be had at Detering Orchards.


Detering Orchard

Beautiful Pears at Detering Orchards, walking through the orchards was amazing, the sun ripening them even more on this beautiful October day.

Detering Orchard
Detering Orchard Image | Sandy Harris

The atmosphere at Detering Orchards was welcoming everywhere I turned. It suited the children and adults alike.  A family oriented event.

Detering Orchard
Detering Orchard Image | Sandy Harris

Making memories for her and her children to last a lifetime as they head out to the orchards to pick apples on their own.  Detering Orchards has been in business for nearly 80 years, imagine the families that have made this same walk.

Detering Orchard  Image  |  Sandy Harris
Detering Orchard Image | Sandy Harris

This sweet little girl was peeking over the fence line to see if she could get the attention of the goats and coax them over to her.

Detering Orchard
Detering Orchard Image | Sandy Harris


Celebrating the harvest at Detering Orchards has become quite the event each October.  Head out to see what they have to offer.  To find out more you can click here.  It is a wonderful place.  Check out their famous Apple Cider and tell em Sandy sent ya!  See you out there!


Apple Daze – On The Farm At Detering Orchards


Fall is officially here (no, I’m not after your job Tim Chuey), the air is crisp in the mornings and the leaves have begun to change.  I fight the loss of summer with every ounce of energy that I have, for a few reasons really.  I like to be warm for one thing and the other thing is the fact that I hate socks, but that story is for another time.

Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

Begrudgingly, I opened my drawer and actually found a matching pair of socks (a small miracle really) put them on and glanced at my flip flops in the corner, seemingly discarded as I fought a tear and headed out the door.   My destination?  Detering Orchards.   I wanted to see what their Apple Daze were all about.

Detering Orchard was started nearly 80 years ago by Gerald and Marie Detering during the Great Depression.  Growing over the years from 40 acres to about 200, as it stands now, and is known as the largest u-pick / fresh pick fruit and vegetable farm in the Willamette Valley.  It is located in Harrisburg, Oregon about 15 miles north of Eugene.

Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

The sun beat down through my windshield as I drove towards Harrisburg, instantly regretting my socks, shoes and jacket; the digital thermometer read 76 degrees!  Once I arrived at Detering Orchards, the attendants directed me where to park and off I went.

People were everywhere, pulling carts full of apples and wagons with pumpkins.   What I liked about this, instantly, was the fact that children were everywhere.  I spotted a corn maze and swing sets, antique tractors for anyone to take a seat on and pretend they were a farmer for a moment.  The kids, not caring who was looking and doing what they do best, climbed on board and took over the controls.

Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

I saw the produce stands and couldn’t get over how beautiful everything was.  I have never seen such large purple cabbage in my life.  I raised my camera to take some photographs and before I knew it, someone was calling my name.  I turned around and there stood Rick Dancer! He was shooting for his upcoming show Rick Dancer TV , which airs each Sunday.  Holy cow… I’m going to be on tv!

I had never met Rick before and I can tell you he is a very pleasant man and he’s tall!  We chatted for a bit and then off we went to do what we both do best!  I continued to shoot (with my lens) the happenings around me, enjoying the heat of this beautiful October day at Detering Orchards.

Not only do they have a free corn maze, tractors and swings for the kids to play on, there are hay rides, apple cider and food!  I was feeling a little parched when I noticed an orange cooler with tiny Dixie cups neatly stacked beside it and decided I needed to investigate.  What I found was an amazing apple cider.  Oh my; it was delicious!  Okay, delicious is an understatement.  I don’t typically drink juice of any kind since my scare with possibly being pre-diabetic but I decided to try theirs (when in Rome, right)?

Detering Peach Orchards  Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Peach Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

I am a rebel and so instead of taking the hay ride, I meandered through the orchards.  The quiet was amazing.  With the sun streaming through the leaves casting a light on them and the rows of grass between the trees, I think I could have stayed there all day.

I headed back to the main event and the orange cooler that held my bliss.  Refreshed after a few sips of amazing Detering Orchards apple juice I headed over to the apple sling shot slinger where I found kids loading up the apple blaster and firing apples at an unsuspecting target.

There is a horse kids can sit on and some goats who seemed curious to see me and wondered why was I talking to them through the fencing.  I know they wanted to come see me but waiting for the other to make the first move.

Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

I found some Herefords (the orange and white cow) in another fenced off area.   If you have never been close to one, now is your chance.  They are the sweetest things.  Did you know they have no upper teeth?  It’s true!  These animals had the longest eyelashes I have ever seen on cows!

The heat was getting to me and I decided I needed to head home and find my flip flops.  I made my way back to the main market area; I was not going to leave without some of that delicious apple juice, which is made right there on the farm.   On my way I noticed a little girl standing beside some pumpkins, patiently waiting for her family to return.  Obviously, she had already made her choice of pumpkins and stood watch over it.  It was all I could do to get my camera up and ready to take the shot.  I bought myself a half gallon of apple juice and headed home, the whole time wishing I had something to drink from in my car but, alas, there was nothing.  Anticipation set in and I sped home, my juice safely buckled in the passengers seat.

Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris
Detering Orchards Image | Sandy Harris

I had such a wonderful time at Detering Orchards and plan to make it back there for sure.  A warm and inviting place to go.  They are holding their Apple Daze each weekend during the month of October.  I would highly recommend heading out there.  The maze is free and if it wasn’t for a little boy who happened to show up, I may still be in there.  I am pretty sure he saved my life!  I let him know I has happy to see him and if he would kindly escort me out as I have lost my way.  Taking the reigns, he gladly stepped up, glancing back occasionally to make sure I hadn’t wandered off and led me to safety.

Here you can find more information on their Facebook Page for directions, contact information and schedules.

See you out there!


The Kindness Of Others


Growing up on the rock (Revillagegado Island – AKA Ketchikan, Alaska)  One of our goals (mine anyhow) was to get off it and into the “real world”  which meant “down south”.  It was right up there with getting our drivers permit when we turned 14 (yes you read that right) 14 years old and then of course the biggy was our drivers license when we turned 16.

Aerial View of Ketchikan, Alaska
Aerial View of Ketchikan, Alaska

You may have read in my last column piece my experience flying to Alaska last week to see my family and the rough ride (cough – understatement of the year – thought I was going to die flight) into Ketchikan. My plan was to stay a week.  I got up the morning I was scheduled to leave (Thursday) to check on my flight and my reservation wasn’t there, the plane wasn’t even there!  What?  I found out that I should have never been booked on that flight because it was taken out of service for the winter 4 days prior to my scheduled trip off the rock!

I looked online to see if there were other flights that I could get onto, all were packed.  Maybe one seat available here or there but only one seat.  I was flying on a pass (given by a friend in order for me to go up in the first place) so I was low man on the totem pole on any flight.  I started to stress because I needed to get home and didn’t see a flight in my future for at least 3 more days.

Airport Ferry  Ketchikan, Alaska  Image | Sandy Harris
Airport Ferry Ketchikan, Alaska Image | Sandy Harris

Keeping an eye on the flights I decided to take a chance and try to leave on Saturday.  It looked like my best chance to get out.  My son brought me to the ferry that would take me across the Tongass Narrows to the airport; we said our good-byes and I headed down the ramp and onto the ferry.  The flight I wanted to leave on was leaving at 9 a.m.  Once I made it to the ticket counter I told the gal I was flying on standby, she took a look at my confirmation and said she couldn’t help me because I didn’t show up for my flight (that didn’t even exist) and I needed to call reservations.  She gave me the number making it sound like all would be well in my world once again (its 8:00 a.m. now and the plane is boarding at 8:20) I called reservations, thankful that my cell would go through (I hadn’t been able to talk on it since I arrived 9 days ago).

“I can’t help you ma’am. You didn’t show up for your flight.  You now need to go online and rebook your flight”.  The voice on the other end said to me.

Me faking a smile while riding back to Ketchikan on the ferry
Me faking a smile while riding back to Ketchikan on the ferry

I explained to her the flight didn’t exist but she seemed unresponsive to my story.  It did sound ridiculous but it could never be more true… My life.  Getting  a little frustrated at this point I did what I was told and went online.  There was no way I was going to be flying home today, all the flights were full.  As I shut down my computer and packed up my belongings I heard over the intercom “Last call for so and so and if you do not show up at the gate in two minutes your seats will be forfeited”.  My heart sank.  If the gals could have helped me, I could have possibly been on that plane.  Feeling completely deflated I headed to the ferry to go back to Ketchikan.  It’s hard to say good-bye in the first place, but to have to do it repeatedly does not do a body good!  I called my son to come back and get me.

Friends had heard of my troubles and offered their miles to get me home!  Now, I’m a pretty tough person but when people do things like this out of the kindness of their heart, without blinking an eye or being asked it brings emotion out.  I burst into tears! I am probably looking like an emotional basket case but thats okay.  I love my family and friends dearly and begin to miss them the very moment I see them each time I arrive, already knowing how hard it will be to say good-bye but I had to get home to my life; my responsibilities.  I graciously accepted their very kind and generous offer and within a few moments my travel woes were solved.  I would land in Eugene at midnight Sunday.   I made a few rounds to see my friends one last time.  My plane would be leaving the next afternoon at 1 p.m., landing at SeaTac.

Ketchikan Airport Image | Sandy Harris
Ketchikan Airport Image | Sandy Harris

I barely make it on board due to the fact that there are spiders hanging from the ceiling near my gate entrance but I did it (halloween) Once onboard I found a teenager sitting in my seat.  I told him it was okay, I would just sit in the isle seat, his friend sitting next to him.

“Scuse me you are in my seat”  Turning my head, I realized she was talking to me.

I’m in 8D and that was the seat she was claiming.  My eyes darted to the kid at the window (my seat).  He should have been in the middle, so I looked at the kid in the middle, and told him I needed to see his ticket (I put on my flight attendant hat for a second)  “I’m actually in 6F” he states.  Before I knew what was happening I started laughing, my finger automatically wagging at him directing him to his seat.  The 4 of us looked like a three ring circus doing the dosey doe in the isles for a few moments but we got it figured out.

A SeaTac barge  Image | Sandy Harris
A SeaTac barge Image | Sandy Harris

It was a packed plane, one of the last people to board the flight was a woman with three small children all under the tender age of about 5 settling into the row in front of me and my new buddies in row 8.  The smallest being around 2 years old, a tiny thing she was.  I am not sure if she was claustrophobic but she let out this blood curdling scream that would freak anyone out.  My heart went out to the mother.  I put myself into her shoes and would hate my life had that been me.  I think we have all heard horror stories of little kids on flights crying.  The thing with kids crying on a flight is they can get away with it!  I know there have been times when I wanted to pitch a fit but have to hold it together because I’m an adult, kids get to cry and scream and it’s automatically the parents fault.

This poor little girl was in obvious discomfort the ENTIRE flight.  The sounds coming from her tiny body was scary.  I just knew if I looked over the seat I would find Linda Blair practicing for the Exorcist.  All I could do was laugh because it was seriously freaking me out.  Towards the end of the flight, a man across the isle from her was not happy and decided he needed to give the mom his opinion.  It was then that I could feel the atmosphere in the plane change.  This is when people go mad in flight.

The poor kid who sat next to me in 8E kept cracking up and said something to the affect that the little girl was sucking all of the oxygen from the cabin.  Bursting out in laughter every once in a while at the ridiculousness of the situation, I’m pretty sure he was convinced of never having children.

Kicking back at SeaTac
Kicking back at SeaTac

It was a pretty bumpy flight into SeaTac.  I had to elbow my seat mate once.   He was joking about the plane flipping upside down, seriously not funny after my flight into Ketchikan.  We finally touched down and relief washed over me.  I was in no hurry to get off the plane, I had 7 hours before the next leg of my trip.  With so much time on my hands I decided to ride the train back and forth between the N and C gates at SeaTac for a while until I found a great spot to kick back, plug in and write.  After a few hours I started to feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

I began to learn the ropes around there, found the good spots to plug in (C gates) at the very end of the terminal, you can go down to A gates for some quiet time.  My only problem there was I found myself singing and wanting to bust a move while listening to my music on my head phones!

After 6 hours I was done playing, I just wanted to go to sleep and my plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 11 p.m.  I decided to walk around to wake up when I heard this thunderous roar… I looked out the window and it was as if there were buckets literally being dumped outside.  It was storming and I knew then I was in for another extremely fun ride in a plane.  Tim Chueys article about planes came to my mind.  It was another rough flight home.  The flight attendant came over the intercom and said “If we get up in the air safely (Excuse me?  There are some things you shouldn’t say, just my opinion) we will have a very short inflight service”   I passed on the snack and drinks.  I realized then that it is best to keep my eyes shut until we touch ground, this way I didn’t have to see the plane twisting or the people and chairs shaking, I could just imagine it.


SeaTac - my home for 7 hours
SeaTac – my home for 7 hours

I didn’t climb into bed until 3 a.m., but I was in my bed.  Waking up way too early I was pretty much dead to everything and tried to relax all day Monday.  Realizing I was hungry, I put my flip flops on (I’m in denial about the rain right now) and headed out my front door, I wanted some fresh picked tomatoes from my garden.  I opened the door and found a bag of groceries, a container of home made chicken soup and a note from my wonderful friend Sonja.

“I figured you hadn’t had a chance to go shopping yet.  Glad you are home!  Talk to you soon!”


I was exhausted from the last few days and to find this on my front steps was a small miracle in itself.  I reached into my refrigerator earlier for some butter and found some items my friend Janet had placed inside for me as well and I am still finding things she has done for me.  My heart is overwhelmed by the people in my life and “Thank you” just doesn’t seem enough.  Often times we can’t begin to imagine what we mean to others.

Because of the rough flights I endured on my trip to and from Alaska I can say I don’t want to step foot onto another aircraft for some time, unless it is headed for the Bahamas.

See you out there!





Bike Friday In The Bike Capital Of The Country

Image | Sandy Harris
Matthew Corson-Finnerty Image | Sandy Harris

While I was Out & About, I stopped by Bike Friday in west Eugene to see what was happening. Much to my delight, I caught Matthew Corson-Finnerty cruising around on his prototype chopper bike.  He was having so much fun with it.  I of course grabbed my camera and began to shoot as quickly as I could!

I ran inside to look around a bit to see what they had to offer and to chat with the guys inside.  They showed me with obvious pride, how in 4 seconds their bikes can fold down into something that could fit into a carry on!  What?

Bike Friday has been building these very cool bikes for 20 years!  Offering their standard to custom built bikes.  Once folded, the bikes have a really cool feature; a built in handlebar.  You can ride it to the grocery story and take it inside with you it’s that handy!

I had a pleasant time visiting with the guys at Bike Friday and will be heading back to see the finished chopper bike.  You can find them here.

Bike Friday Image | Sandy Harris

See you out there!

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