The time eventually came wherein I had to leave Vancouver; British Columbia; Canada. I reluctantly departed the daydream.
My next stop was Bremerton, WA: home of one of only two direct-to-Seattle Downtown ferries. Also home to my best friend, his wife, and their three children — one of which being my goddaughter.
I spent three weeks here in an apartment that was only about a 10-minute walk to the ferry dock and had quite the view of the ‘Port Washington Narrows’ section of Puget Sound. In that time, I would come to find out that most of the publicly available coffee in downtown Bremerton was awful; be confronted by a woman who came down from her stoop to interrogate me as I passed on the sidewalk on the basis that sexual predators were rampant in the area; would see Puddles coming out of the Admiral Theater at the end of the night and play the role of the doting entertainer by mounting fans’ Harley’s for a photo.
I would experience what felt to be a Bremerton in remission. Downtown would see little jubilation during the week, and not a whole lot more on the weekends. There were multiple closed art galleries, but they had been closed down recently enough where they had yet been cleared out. Thinking on it now, I was in town at the end of October …could they have been more of a summer thing? The Pacific Northwest is known for its morose winters, and maybe some of what I experienced was representative of an area acclimatizing to their own sort of hibernation. I wouldn’t dismiss that.
Bremerton has an active Naval shipyard, and it as a nucleus of economic fuel for the area and its inhabitants is not easily overlooked. As it so happened, near the end of my stay my best friend, his wife, and I would end up doing a little bit of bar hopping with a small crew of folk we would meet that night — nearly all employed with the shipyard to one degree or another. And not to be plain, but the range of downtown businesses felt to reflect this: sports bars, Americana comfort food, the token Indian place, something Irish, more sports bars.
Manette, just across the bridge of its namesake, had a surprisingly vibrant town center, albeit tiny. It was where I had one (no, two) of the better brunches and one of the more memorable dinners of all the places I made it to during my time in the area. Their downtown stretches a total of about four city blocks and yet what is there is good, quite good. At Hound & Bottle the coasters were printed with the bartender’s name; what a delightful thing that is.
But enough with my hot take, I came to Bremerton to spend time with family, and so I did. I arrived on a Friday evening, and that Saturday morning I was making a Safeway run for team snacks as the younger son plays soccer and the families rotate whose responsible for providing basic sustenance on game days. And I believe the Halloween house party was that same weekend. And then there was joining the fam for trick-or-treating later that week; and hanging out at their home most weekday nights; and us all trying out the new Hawaiian restaurant [oh kalbi!]; and my very young goddaughter warming up to me to the point where I would show up and she’d immediately pull me to her room to play, and how we made a game of putting away toys. Likewise, I had the opportunity to meet up with an old friend and her family for a dinner in Redmond — the younger of their two daughters I hadn’t yet met. Afterwards, I may have ended that night by standing in line at IKEA for an hour-and-a-half. For a bag. But enough about me.
Parenthood is enviable and frightening.