Tag Archives: Seattle

Me & the Policeman

Recently I had an encounter with the Seattle police. The background is a long, drawn out story that I may tell someday. But right now I am focusing on what the officer said, partly because it’s so odd and partly because I find it amusing.

I sit in public spaces for long periods of time when I am not feeling well, and this apparently makes some uncomfortable, who then call the police about this strange man — me — who just sits. I rest up and then eventually move on. But when I am exhausted I just sit and rest.

I usually do this in spaces with wifi. Otherwise, I’d be bored out of mind, though lately I have been catching up on my book reading. (I am reading one about Martin Luther and the Reformation that is fantastic.)

Part of our conversation went as follows:

ME: “I’ve been having serious medical issues. I may have lymphoma.”

A look of alarm suddenly covers the policeman’s face. He backs away slightly as if I might somehow infect him.

OFFICER: “Is that contagious?”

I am taken back by his ignorance.

ME: “Seriously?”

I am quickly chastised by his partner, so I expound on my answer.

ME: “It’s a blood cancer,” I reply, incredulously.

He probably still has no idea. Did he get into his patrol vehicle and look it up? My guess is no.

I’ve been wondering if he was hoping he’d have something on me, like being a public health threat, so he could call in a HAZMAT team and ship me off to a hospital ward somewhere.

These two officers were hard, cold-hearted authoritarian types. Not a fan. I’ve encountered so many heartless bureaucrats recently.




His complete name is Gotthilf David Siegfried Lentz.

Recently I visited a friend, a retired Methodist minister, who has been visiting her daughter in Seattle.

For years she lived and worked in Seattle. The family is from Vermont, and she spent much of her youth in Switzerland, where her father was stationed with the State Department, I think.

While we talking one evening, she mentioned my tweet. She was curious about the name. We figured out the God part, but didn’t get farther than that. So later I decided to use the Google, specifically Google Translate, and after learning the meaning of his name, I sent off a note to her.

Just learned that Gotthilf is ‘God’s help’ in English.”

And she promptly replied, after her return home to Portland via the Bolt Bus.

“That is fantastic…nice name.”

Get thyself on Twitter, Hager-Smith! And then ye may tweet me directly.¹


1. She is, or was, on Twitter, but hasn’t updated her account since 2014.

1941, Seattle

My great uncle, Everett Franklin Hay, lived in Seattle from 1939 to 1941, when he married his longtime girlfriend Grace Leek and his father George died from cancer.
My great uncle, Everett Franklin Hay, lived in Seattle from 1939 to 1941, when he married his longtime girlfriend, Grace Leek, and his father, George, died from cancer.

My great uncle died earlier this year, in February. He lived to the age of 101. Before his death, I interviewed him in-depth multiple times about his life and what he remembered.

He taught me a bunch, indulging what corn cribs are, the storms of the Dust Bowl, and a slew of humorous stories, his particular talent, which I wish had been documented in some way.

While living in Seattle, from 1939 to 1941, he was recorded in the phone book, which are quite hefty to lug around. He lived with the Neilson family, who came from the same South Dakota town as him, Lake Preston.

Nineteen forty-one was a pivotal year. Everett married his longtime girlfriend, his father died from cancer, and the Japanese launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting America’s entry into the Second World War.

The death of his father, George Hay, impelled him and his newlywed wife to return to South Dakota, where he took over operation of the family farm, until doctor’s orders made him give it up in 1953, the year they returned to the Pacific Northwest, moving to a berry farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.


❄️️ I have had enough of this long-term weather pattern, thank you very much.

Another ‘Special Weather Statement’!?
How many of these have we had this winter?

Snow yet again!? The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for Seattle and vicinity warning of possible snow throughout the first weekend of March.

Special Weather Statement for Seattle and Vicinity, Washington

Issuing Office: Seattle/Tacoma
Source: National Weather Service
6:47am PST, Fri Mar 3


It really is difficult to read ALL CAPS, so I am gonna convert it over using a handy online tool.

… Lowland snow showers and localized snow accumulations likely from Saturday through Monday… A return to cold and showery weather is expected from tonight through Monday morning. The air mass should be sufficiently cold to support snow showers over the lowlands, especially during the cooler morning hours from Saturday through Monday. It is too early to pinpoint specific snowfall amounts and locations. So the main message right now is simply to expect hit-and-miss snowfall accumulations around 1 inch or less at almost any time from Saturday through Monday. The cooler morning hours represent the more likely time of day to get accumulating snow. Air temperatures will generally be above freezing, so any snow accumulations are likely to melt a few hours after occurring.


It’s been strange but beautiful weather


I knew it was warm yesterday, but I didn’t realize how hot it was. Eighty-nine degrees is impressive.

There’s more of the same today.

It has been very warm off and on since early April.

The warmth extended far north, into British Columbia, where the city of Prince George broke a 103-year-old record.

Maybe “global warming” ain’t such a bad idea. It sure beats the alternative, cold and wet, though it was chilly this morning.


Amazon’s Spheres‏


During the past few years I’ve been watching as Amazon slowly takes over the city. The pace of development, particularly massive high rises, has been incredible, prompting an ongoing debate.

One of the latest additions to the Amazon empire is three interconnecting spherical buildings. Months ago I was admiring the steel structural innards coming together.

Unfortunately, such a cool place won’t be open to the public, as reported in Seattle Weekly, which drew a slew of critical letters and comments. I, too, am concerned about making the city more and more corporate and private, closed off to the masses.



In Seattle, Beware of Pickpockets & Thieves

I am really sick of pickpockets and thieves. If ever you’re in the vicinity of Third & Pike in downtown Seattle, be wary of the crowds hanging about. Property crime seems to be on the increase in Seattle. So I’m doing what I can to temper the situation.

While walking to catch my bus, I noticed a group of discarded items on the sidewalk near a convenience store. It was mostly cards, what should be in someone’s wallet, not strewn about on the sidewalk. I am assuming this gentleman — whose “enhanced” state driver’s license, Library of Congress ID, NASA Goddard library card, expired National Association of Rocketry membership card, and numerous other similar-sized items were littered on a corner of the concrete — needs this stuff.

I know how frustrating it can be to lose such important and needed life essentials, particularly the state ID. The enhanced version is pretty much a passport and useful for flying.

One morning a few months back some creep sneaked (Or should it be snuck?) off with my favorite backpack, with lots of my life in it. My favorite baseball caps. My Kindle Fire. My ID. My MAST card, so I can serve alcohol to folks. My debit and ATM cards.

I found an email address for our latest victim by doing a simple Google search, and promptly sent him a message. I have yet to hear from him. We connected and now the stack of stuff is back with the rightful owner. He’s an engineering student at the University of Washington, studying space propulsion and exploration.

He wanted to offer me something, but explained that he’s poor and broke — like everyone else. I told him it was fine. I was a college student, more than once, so I know. It’s nice seeing these items, some clearly vital, returned to where they belong.

I wish someone had done the same for me after my backpack was stolen. Who knows what happened to my ID and miscellany. Who ended up with my Kindle Fire, for instance? I’d love to know the answer to that. There must be quite a criminal underworld dealing in pilfered goods.

Criminals are driving me nuts. Drug dealing is rampant in this area, Third and Pine in downtown Seattle. There was a crackdown a few months ago. But after that passed, the weirdos and addicts and pushers returned. Not that they went far.

I just want folks to be aware, no matter where they happen to be. In Seattle. In Portland. In Berlin. In Prague. In rural Oregon. Everywhere criminals lurk, awaiting opportunities. So do your best to limit these temptations. Be vigilant. Be protective. And hopefully you won’t become a victim of crime.

The police are so overworked and understaffed that getting any significant results from property crimes are unrealistic. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.

I’m beginning to think that Saudi Arabia may be on to something. Thieves get a hand chopped off. There certainly needs to be more deterrents for these predators. Sadly, the police, already with a full plate, aren’t motivated to take this on.