SLO-MO-SHUN

Slo-mo-shun IV was out of control on the north end of the elliptical Gold Cup course on Lake Washington and coming right for us.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up.  Phil Perry and I were in his 12 foot runabout with a souped up Mercury engine, waiting for one of the unlimited’s to break down or catch on fire so we could tow the boat off the course and away from the other boats going 100 MPH or more.  We were volunteers who loved unlimited racing and carried an ax in case one of the boats crashed into the log boom and we had to cut loose boats that were moored there.

I stood up, ready to jump into the lake when Phil grabbed my arm.  Slo-mo-shun IV sped by only a few feet from us.  Phil explained how the boats slipped sideways coming around the corners, preparing to go straight.  It only appeared that she was aimed right at us.  I could see between her pontoons as they bounced clear of the water, finding less forward resistance in the air.  Phil was a classmate at Seattle Prep and the next generation of Perry Brothers Eggs, the largest egg producer around.  We were between heats and down in the pits while the crews scrambled to get the boats ready for the next race and we listened to the drivers as they described the vagaries of the race and the strategy for the next heat.  Phil and I had special pit passes with a blue ribbon hanging from them.  The less important passes were red and those people weren’t allowed in the pits.

While in the pits, we ran into a tall man all dressed in black and packing a 6-gun.  “Who are you supposed to be,” I asked.  “I’m James Garner and I play ‘Maverick’ in a new TV series,” He said.  It was as crowded in the pits as it was on the shore of the lake, you never knew who you might run into.

*** John Sweetman lived on Bainbridge Island in the 1950’s and though he went to the unlimited races, we never knew each other until the 1980’s in Republic.  “I once built a flying machine out of 2 x 4’s and cardboard, John said. “Naturally it failed; but so did the Wright brothers and they, like you and I, only had experience with ground based bicycles…an early lesson that ‘gravity was not your friend.’  Thank goodness that my ‘invention’ was too heavy to haul up to the barn roof…although I did try to fly it off a quonset hut.  I was on the roof of the quonset and the wind was blowing so hard, I could hardly hold my wings down.  A big gust came and I ran down the roof to jump into the wind only to land in piles of decomposing, aged horse manure.”

“My older sister Liatris and I built a trail to the creek…it was downhill..She smacked my hand with a shovel…I still have a scar…Just before that, I had talked her into eating ‘skunk’ cabbage as a really good thing…I was just curious…I do not know if there was a causal relationship in the events…”

Sean@vashonloop.com