I remember when a walk to downtown Issaquah seemed like it took forever. In actuality, it was something like five blocks. To the dime store, to the grocery, to the library or park, going into town was a big deal during a time when kids were allowed to roam the sidewalk-laden streets of this tiny town with one flashing stoplight.
Yukon, Bear, my Dad and I all walked downtown yesterday to stretch our legs in between crazy spring storms. Our destination was the Issaquah Brewhouse, former site of Mr. Kramer's Butcher Shop where my mom purchased our meat, milk, and liver for the cat. Now it's a trendy little pub and Rogue Ale brewery that Yukon simply must visit each and every time we appear in Issy. Not that it's difficult, mind you.
That we decided to walk is also important. In Anchorage, there are few true "neighborhoods" like this one; places where residents have sidewalks and access to such luxuries as parks and brewhouses and the like. Being able to propel ourselves sans motor was big fun. Bear rode his scooter and we ambled along behind, stopping to look at the various attributes (or former attributes) of a city that's changed a heckuva lot since my growing up years in the 70's and 80's.
I took Bear to see the Salmon Hatchery next door to the Brewhouse; a place where thousands of kids have seen spawning salmon and where, I told my son, my entire neighborhood passel of kids would launch our truck tire inner tubes into the icy waters and float, without any grownups, all the way to Lake Sammamish some five miles away. Awesome.
The annual Salmon Days festival was an opportunity to see scores of dying fish clogging the same waterways; in disbelief we'd look, every year, over the railing of the then-wooden bridge at the flopping, stinky salmon. Then we'd go over to the festival booths and eat ourselves silly of cotton candy and Bohem's ice cream bars.
Bear looked at the water, looked at the holding tanks with leaping little fishes, wandered around the hatchery house, then asked, "You used to come here a lot?"
Oh yeah, man. I used to come here a lot. Five blocks, at least.