What a fun day yesterday was.
It started out with a big loop around the PSU Farmer’s Market. I hadn’t been able to go for a couple weeks, so it was fun to stock on some old favorites and pick out some new ones to enjoy.
I was also looking for some edible thank you’s for my girlfriend Mary Ann with whom I spent a few amazing days in Ashland (in case you missed it, read all about it here).
Man, the farmers market at the height of summer is the best.
The Marionberries and strawberries in particular were spectacular and Charlotte and I couldn’t resist taking a three pack home.
I also stocked up on cheeses , including an old favorite
and a new one from here.
I gather that some of these cheeses had won international competitions; I bought one called Pur et Simple which tasted sort of like a St. Andre but creamier with a slightly tangy goat flavor.
I talked with the seller about cheeses, and then conversation naturally drifted to what’d happened in Nice.
Apparently the owner of this fromagerie harks from there and this seller relayed how devastated but resolute everyone back in France is right now.
I then bought a couple Abruzzo salamis from Chop; they are one of my absolute favorites at this market and I cannot resist their charms of their charcuterie.
Finally, flowers for sale
and then I tried out a new to me Kombucha.
My friend Robynn introduced me to the ‘booch and I’m now addicted.
Soma has bottles for sale here as well as four different kinds on tap.
I ended up trying them all and while the orange-cardamom was intriguing, I fell hard for the apricot-ginger and bought a growler of it.
Buying Kombucha by the growler is about the most Portland thing you can do (doing a Naked Bike Ride or drinking beer flights might be a close three way tie).
Last stop, a drink for Charlotte (spendy at $4 a pint but quite possibly the best cider you’ll ever have)
and something else for my pal.
Freddy Guys produces the most incredible roasted hazelnuts I’ve ever had, so I figured that their granola with nuts and coconut would probably be pretty damn good, too (and I snagged the last bag I had).
Okay, Mary Anne’s thank you card and camping gift pack was now complete.
It was like the perfect mix of both high-brow and low-brow food– and I wanted to make sure that she had some salt so I included a mini container of Maldon Smoked Salt for her to keep with her provisions.
Chop’s Abruzzo, Freddy Guy’s Granola, Salt and Pepper Pistachios and Peanut M and M’s and more — I think her picnic provisions should now be complete.
(At the last minute I had to take out the wine as the label had somehow gotten dirty, but she’s a smart girl and I’m sure she thought to add some libation of her own to her stash. I replaced the spot with some sour cream and onion potato chips because her kids love them — and who doesn’t?)
Thank you note and camping care package delivered, it was some time for some Seahawks scouting.
Friends who know me are shocked that I’m now such a football fan; for 50 years I was indifferent to the sport, but when Oliver told me last year that it would mean a lot to him if someone in the family took an interest in the Seahawks with him, I watched a few games and quickly became hooked.
Now five months post-season (and three months post-draft mania), I’ve been jones-ing for a little football action and so when I read on my Instagram that the Seahawks 12 (the name given to the die-hard fans of this franchise) Bus was coming to Cartlandia Food Carts, I knew we all had to go.
The idea of possibly seeing or maybe even meeting a Seahawks player was too good to pass up.
The kids ordered crepes and we talked to other fans about our favorite players and the upcoming season.
A DJ whipped the sizable crowd into a frenzy and then out came some of the Seahawks band, followed by some of the Seagals — cheerleaders with the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen.
And then out came a few players — including two new drafts, Joey Hunt (a center from TCU) and George Fant (a tackle from Western Kentucky).
I was only a few feet away — almost close enough to touch Joey’s Man Bun.
They took turns speaking to the crowd about meeting Pete Carroll, playing with Russell Wilson and how honored they were to be drafted.
And then my favorite part came up.
Ricardo Lockette, the newly retired Seahawk WR, was also just a few feet away (only a security guard stood between us) and was waiting in the wings for his chance to speak.
I observed him.
Clearly visible was an enormous scar running from his scalp all down his back; surely this is a result of the surgery he needed after a blindside hit by Dallas Cowboys safety Jeff Heath.
I remember well watching that show on November 1st when Lockette was hit on the field and lay lifeless for minutes on the field; so severe was the hit that apparently he would have died right then and there on the field had it not been for the quick and masterful care he received on the field and in the hours afterwards.
It was a devastating moment — and marked the end of a career that included three NFC Championships and a win in the 48th Super Bowl.
How amazing then to be able to see him up and walking around now with a smile on his face –and able to share with strangers his perspective on it.
He talked about this dark time after his injury, and he spoke in a way that was far more intimate than I would’ve imagined.
He spoke of growing up as a kid in a small town and never dreaming that this life would have been possible.
He talked about how kids should follow in the footsteps of those they most admire and then do what they do– only a little differently and a lot better.
He confessed how difficult it was when he realized his career was cut short but how the fans and the love he received from them in the hospital kept him afloat emotionally — and that he does things like this tour to try to share his gratitude.
At that moment, I acted like a Super Geek and yelled out ” I love you, Ricardo!”
And he turned around to me, looked at me too, and smiled.
“I love you too, Ma’am!” (apparently his Southern manners are still held dear).
Lockette loves me?!
Afterwards, he signed everything put in front of him and my family had a minute with him.
He told Charlotte he loves how she dresses. She got such a huge kick out of this compliment that she Insta-ed this picture of her outfit to her friends.
He talked to Oliver and signed his shirt and hat
and posed for pictures.
When it was my turn, I told him how much it meant to me that there are guys like himself in the sport who my son looks up to — men of deep character, forgiveness, humility and resilience.
I thanked him for his playing, told him I was sorry for his early retirement but that I had a hunch that the best was yet ahead for him career-wise.
He thanked me, shook my hand, and asked me my name. He couldn’t have been warmer — or more genuine.
My kids had done so many photo ops with him that I didn’t want to trouble him for another — but I did ask him to sign my Iphone (it joined Joey’s signature).
The timing on this visit with Lockette and Seahawks players couldn’t have been better timed; the news lately is full of racially motivated tension, hatred, violence and murders.
So much vitriol, so few good stories.
But then here was Lockette, signing autographs with newer teammates — just a guy asking the crowd for more love, greater peace and urging the young kids in the crowd to pursue their dreams with a passion.
It didn’t feel like anyone was a certain color — we were all just blue, white and green football fans.
So that’s my weekend — a full fridge of market goodies and a Lockette in my pock-ette.