A Proper Transition for the Pastime Cafe

I am always intrigued when a business swoops in and sets up shop in an old building. I find it fascinating to see what is done to shoot new life into the structure and, if lucky, what is done to pay tribute to the building’s past. You commonly see businesses transform desolate apartment buildings, deserted movie theaters, and rundown grocery stores all the time. The only thing better than watching the transformation take place is walking inside the remodeled building once the ribbon is cut.

News of an upcoming major transformation project hit close to home yesterday. I learned that the site of some of my best childhood memories would finally get a facelift.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at the family restaurant. Named the Pastime Café, the place served the best Italian food in Walla Walla, Washington. Don’t think it was a short run. For over 80 years, my mom’s family operated the Pastime. That’s right. For over eight decades, the prominent but blue collar Italian joint on Main Street in the “town so nice they named it twice” thrived. The succession was nothing short of perfect. My great grandpa (Louie Fazzari) opened the place, passed it on to my grandpa (Frank Fazzari) who devoted his whole life to it, who in turn left it to my uncle (Robert Fazzari) who ran the restaurant until the last day of business in 2006.

The Pastime Café, the restaurant I grew up in.

The Pastime Café, the restaurant I grew up in.

My memories inside those Pastime Café walls couldn’t be much sweeter. Whenever we visited our family, we always dined there. My grandpa’s employees treated us like royalty and the regulars would always stare at us as we entered the restaurant and proceeded to a table in the dining room. After dinner we would go up to the front counter staffed by my late Aunt Becky and she would let us pick out a candy bar from underneath the giant glass case that boxed in the antique cash register.

This is my great grandpa at the cash register. As you can barely see, the glass counter case is visible at the very bottom of the picture.

This is my great grandpa at the cash register. As you can barely see, the glass counter case is visible at the very bottom of the picture. This entire setup remained the same up until the restaurant closed in 2006.

Sometimes after dinner and before our candy raid, my grandpa would quickly take us back into the bar. Let me tell you, that was a different world! Shady looking characters and clouds of cigarette smoke filled the dark, long area. It was a 360 degree change when we would return on Sundays. The Pastime was closed on the Lord’s Day but my grandpa would always stop by to check on the place. He would take my siblings and I with him and give us full reign of the restaurant. In the bar we would have a ball picking up loose change on the floor, playing the video games in the back, and scratching off lotto tickets while sitting on the stools. We would run around the lounge and dining room areas, “play restaurant” at the cash register, and follow my grandpa into the kitchen where he would let us step into the gigantic freezer. Beautiful times.

The Pastime staff probably around the mid to late 1940s. My grandpa is in the back row on the far right. His brother (Art), who I also grew up around and who was extremely generous just like my grandpa, is standing right next to him.

The Pastime staff probably around the mid to late 1940s. My grandpa is in the back row on the far right. His brother (Art), who I also grew up around and who was extremely generous just like my grandpa, is standing right next to him.

This past January marked ten full years since the building at 215 Main Street was last operational. After the business closed, my uncle sold the place. In that decade span, ownership of the property shifted hands more than once but nothing ever materialized within those walls. The building that was already a throwback in the first place sat abandoned on a street corner in Walla Walla for far too long.

Yesterday my brother sent me a link to an article in Walla Walla’s local newspaper that said the wait would seen be over. Some visionaries have been hard at work creating Pastime 2.0. Well, to be fair, it won’t be a Pastime replica (there could never be another one anyway). But what is going in at the location is something that will carry on the proud tradition of the space while at the same time capitalzing on what Walla Walla is now known for: Wine.

This summer the Passatempo Taverna will open. The Pastime building will once again be a functioning restaurant and the parking lot in what we used to call “the alley” will be developed into a wine tasting room. Talented people have come together to represent each facet of Passtempto Taverna from the menu to the design to the wine. The project is in good hands. I could rest easy when I read the article and realized that the construction was done with absolute integrity and care. The discoveries made during the renovation fascinated me and the plans to keep around a touch of Pastime nostalgia encouraged me.

A look at the construction of Passatempo Taverna (photo courtesy of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin).

A look at the construction of Passatempo Taverna (photo courtesy of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin).

I am very excited to see more progress photos of the construction and then ultimately coverage from the grand opening. Of course one day I hope to visit Passatempo Taverna; it would be a very special moment. The Pastime building deserves to once again be a community gathering center and I am 100% ready for this new chapter to begin. Don’t Blink.

What I Like Most About St. Patrick’s Day

Please let me wish you an early happy St. Patrick’s Day. Ideally I would save this blog post for tomorrow but we all know what happens with Don’t Blink on Thursdays. So, to preserve the tradition of the Thursday Rundown, I am writing my short St. Patrick’s Day post tonight.

I am a fan of St. Patrick’s Day. I like the patron saint for who the holiday is in honor of, I enjoy Irish accents, and I admire how most people make an honest effort to wear green. The day of March 17 brings out unity from everyone, not just the Irish, and I respect that. You can also never go wrong with a green beer.

Me sporting a St. Pat's shirt. My parents' trip to Myrtle Beach coincided with the weekend before St. Patrick's Day 2015.

Me sporting a St. Pat’s shirt. My parents’ trip to Myrtle Beach coincided with the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

But there is one aspect of St. Patrick’s Day I like the most. Strangely enough it isn’t a particular event, food, or symbol. Rather, it is a sound.

I don’t think there is anything more beautiful, respectful, and stoic than the sound of bagpipes. Not only is the music pleasing to the ear, it is just so distinctive. To me, there isn’t anything that screams Irish heritage more than bagpipes. The instrument is completely one of a kind.

I guess I do get a little nostalgic when I hear bagpipes. I immediately think of St. Patrick’s Day parades with my dad and siblings back when I was a kid. I am on the sidewalk of downtown Walla Walla and I see the green colors, I smell the horses, and I hear that powerful sound cut through the cold morning air like a knife through warm butter. Please take me back…

So while I have pleasant memories of bagpipes I don’t base my love solely on that. Even if I didn’t hear the unique sound on an annual basis through my early childhood, I would have been immediately drawn to it the moment I heard it as an adult. There just isn’t anything like those mournful notes. If there was a bagpipes radio station I would seriously listen to it during my 20 minute commute to work. Frankly, it just makes me feel some type of way.

Remember to wear green tomorrow! To all my Irish friends, take time to enjoy your well-deserved day and if you know someone who plays the bagpipes, please send her/him my way. Don’t Blink.

Joining the Century Club

Although the news media has made these stories cliché, I still get fascinated by the people who live to be 100 and beyond. To me, reaching triple digits is an incredible achievement. Of course the ones who make it well past the century mark earn even more of my awe. To me, those humans who manage to live to be at least 110 are complete freaks of nature. My thinking is that when someone reaches 100 they must be jubilant but at the same time extremely exhausted. How can these folks realistically say to themselves, “Well, I made it to triple digits…time now to live for another whole decade.”

This is on my mind today because I saw another one of those typical stories about a person reaching an old age. This particular one, a New Jersey woman named Agnes, recently turned 110. The article stated that with over 7 billion people on the planet, you will find only 360-600 who have reached or exceeded 110. Agnes said in the article that her secret to living a long life is drinking three Miller High Life beers a day.

I have thrown my hands up in the air when it comes to what someone must do on a consistent basis in order to live for a century or more. Every article I read has few common denominators. Each person has a different routine, usually with weird quirks, that they followed to reach a very old age. In my opinion, there is no special formula. Rather, I think in order to live past 99 you must have insanely good genes and amazing luck.

But is it really considered “amazing luck” if you reach 100? I hear people all the time quip, “I would never want to live that long!” Personally I am not 100% sure on my exact stance but I think I would actually want to go the distance. The opportunity to live so long and see so much would outweigh the sadness of seeing loved ones pass on and the constant care I would eventually need.

I have had one relative live to 100. He actually passed away at the age of 101. My Great Great Uncle Tony lived an extremely long life that was characterized by a love for boxing and photography. I had the opportunity to attend his 100th birthday bash that was held in the basement of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Walla Walla, Washington. At the party he was healthy and happy. It is an event in my life that I will always remember.

I would turn 100 on October 8, 2086. That means I need to live 25,998 more days to reach the milestone. As with everyone on the planet, the odds are dramatically stacked against me. However, it is always good to have lofty goals and trying to reach this mark will definitely deter me from blinking. Would you want to live to be 100 years old? Don’t Blink.

An Independence Weekend for the Books

This past weekend we logged some miles as we drove across the great state of Washington. My brother, Sidney, and I went hard on our Fourth of July trip as we went from pretty much the eastern most point of the state to the western most point to the southern most point. It was a great time.

Right before we even logged one mile on our awesome trip, we posed for this photo in my parent's living room.

Right before we even logged one mile on our awesome trip, we posed for this photo in my parent’s living room.

On Friday morning, the three of us left Spokane and made the 4.5 hour drive to Seattle. About 60 miles from the Emerald City we stopped in a place called North Bend and picked up my brother’s friend, Cassie. From there we bulldozed straight to our destination, arriving in Seattle at around 12:30 p.m. We spent the afternoon exploring the downtown Seattle area as we explored Pike Place Market and toured the waterfront.

We had fun in Seattle! The top photo is of my brother and I at the Waterfront. The bottom left photo is of Sidney and I at Pike Place, and the bottom right photo is of our crew.

We had fun in Seattle! The top photo is of my brother and I at the Waterfront. The bottom left photo is of Sidney and I at Pike Place, and the bottom right photo is of our crew.

Sidney was a little overwhelmed by the density of people we encountered while walking through the market area. It was shoulder to shoulder the whole time. She also got to experience the incredible diversity of Seattle as well. When it comes to exotic cities, Seattle is definitely right up on top of the list so it was cool to show her it all. As with the rest of the state, it was HOT. After looking around for a few hours, we needed to cool off. While walking back to our car we found a bar tucked in with the endless coffee shops. We dropped in and had a couple cold ones.

Sid and I in front of Pike Place.

Sid and I in front of Pike Place.

From there it was time to prepare for Kenny’s wedding. After a day in the sun, we desperately needed to shower. Thanks to Cassie’s connection, Sidney and I ended up getting ready in a Seattle suburb YMCA. We left the facility all cleaned up and Glen took us to the wedding venue.

Sidney and I all cleaned up in the Shoreline YMCA parking lot.

Sidney and I all cleaned up in the Shoreline YMCA parking lot.

Kenny and Steve had their wedding ceremony on a ship overlooking the Seattle skyline. Specifically, it was on the MV Skansonia, a retired Washington State ferry. The ship was docked on the north shore of Lake Union and the view was absolutely beautiful. The ceremony itself only lasted about 15 minutes but it was enjoyed by all and done exactly to the specifications of Kenny and Steve. Once they said “I do” we enjoyed the reception and I had the privilege of chatting with old co-workers and friends from Missoula. I wish we could have stayed longer at the reception but we needed to get back in the car.

The top photo is of Sid and I with the gorgeous view from the ship as a background. The photo in the upper right hand corner is of the reception (courtesy of Kenny and Steve's photographer). The bottom photo is of the wedding party (courtesy of Kenny and Steve's photographer).

The top photo is of Sid and I with the gorgeous view from the ship as a background. The photo in the upper right hand corner is of the reception (courtesy of Kenny and Steve’s photographer). The bottom photo is of the wedding party (courtesy of Kenny and Steve’s photographer).

With Glen and Cassie waiting at the dock for us, we jumped in the vehicle and started to make the trek to Walla Walla, Washington. On the way we stopped in North Bend and dropped Cassie off. While Sidney slept in the back seat, Glen and I chatted the whole four hours to Walla Walla. We pulled up to my uncle’s house at around 2 a.m. and then crashed on his basement couches, exhausted after a long day.

Later that morning I awoke and talked with my Uncle Bob upstairs as we caught up after a couple years. Glen and Sidney then woke up and we went out and bought fireworks and other necessary supplies at the grocery store. We then went to my Aunt Nancy’s downtown shop where we met up with her, my parents, my cousin (Abby), Abby’s boyfriend, and Abby’s friend. Nancy and Abby showered Sidney with flowers and gifts.

All decked out for the Fourth of July with my cousin Abby in my Aunt Nancy's shop.

All decked out for the Fourth of July with my cousin Abby in my Aunt Nancy’s shop.

After our time at the shop, we went to Pioneer Park, a beautiful large green area in Walla Walla covered with magnificently old trees. On the Fourth of July, Pioneer Park holds a celebration with music, vendors, and food. We walked around and then settled in some shade and ate curly fries. From there we went back to my Uncle Bob’s and we swam in his pool for a couple hours and relaxed.

Some photos from our time at the park and at my Uncle Bob's pool.

Some photos from our time at the park and at my Uncle Bob’s pool.

A little later that night after we all showered we went over to my cousin Rachelle’s house for our big Reser Family BBQ. When Sidney and I arrived, about 20 people were on hand to welcome her to the family. They ushered us all into Rachelle’s kitchen and sang us “Happy Engagement” (to the tune of “Happy Birthday”). It was a great evening as Sidney got to meet my dad’s family and see what being a Reser is all about. We ate good food, played lawn games, told stories, and lit off a bunch of fireworks. It was perfect.

A photo of Sid and I at the BBQ on the left and then a couple photos of my bro on the right.

A photo of Sid and I at the BBQ on the left and then a couple photos of my bro on the right.

The next morning we all met up again for breakfast at a local restaurant. Once again it was a relaxing time where Sidney had the opportunity to get to know my family more. After the meal we took some photos and it was back to Spokane. On the way home, we stopped in another small Washington town, Dayton, so we could say hi to my Uncle Jim. Yet another relative I was able to introduce Sidney to. We arrived in Spokane at around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

Me with my Aunt Debbie, Aunt Nancy, and Aunt Judy after breakfast on Sunday.

Me with my Aunt Debbie, Aunt Nancy, and Aunt Judy after breakfast on Sunday.

It was a crazy, fun Fourth of July weekend. It will definitely go down as a memorable one. I am so thankful to my brother who volunteered to drive us on our crazy odyssey. During that drive from Seattle to Walla Walla where Glen and I chatted about everything under the sun while Sidney slept in the back seat, I found it the perfect time to ask him a question. Nonchalantly I inquired whether he would honor me by serving as my Best Man next June. He accepted. By all accounts it was a wonderful trip! Not only did I get to see my good friend get married and not only did I get to see my family and introduce them to Sid, I also got to bond even more with my brother. Epic weekend for sure. Don’t Blink.

Fourth Of July Thursday Rundown

A happy holiday weekend to you all! It is my hope that most of you will enjoy a vacation day tomorrow. What better way to kick off your elongated weekend than to read my west coast Thursday Rundown? Here we go!

Southern Cuisine Out West – Although Sidney and I are enjoying our time out west, it doesn’t mean we have abandoned all Southern traditions. Sidney (with help from my mom) prepared two South Carolina delicacies for my family to enjoy. Last night she made chicken bog which was greeted by rave reviews from my brother and sister. Today she and my mom joined forces to prepare boiled peanuts. I can’t wait to see the reaction from Glen and Miranda once they try them. Will the texture and non-traditional peanut properties turn them off? Or will they love them as much as me? We shall see!

The delicious southern treats we enjoyed over the past few days. Up top is chicken bog, below are boiled peanuts, and the photo on the right is my mom by the crock pot.

The delicious southern treats we enjoyed over the past few days. Up top is chicken bog, below is a container of boiled peanuts, and the photo on the right is my mom by the crock pot.

Beautiful, Beautiful Baby – I can’t get enough of my niece. Mikayla has grown so much since I last saw her but she is ADORABLE. She smiles, claps her hands, sits up, and reaches out for me. She is so precious. I have seen her just about every day since I have been here and she definitely has my heart. She is coming over again this evening and I can’t wait to hold her!

Some of my favorite shots of Mikayla this weekend.

Some of my favorite shots of Mikayla this weekend.

Wedding Bells – Tomorrow Sidney and I will head to Seattle with my brother as a chauffer. During the day I will show Sid the sights of the Emerald City. Come night we will be attending a wedding for my very good friend and mentor, Kenny. A subject of a blog post several months ago, Kenny will marry his boyfriend, Steve, at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Sidney and I are excited for the ceremony and the start of their life together.

Kenny and I on the sidelines in Clemson's Memorial Stadium in October of 2014.

Kenny and I on the sidelines in Clemson’s Memorial Stadium in October of 2014.

Fourth of July Plans – After the wedding festivities, we will head back in the eastern direction and travel to Walla Walla, Washington. I grew up making regular trips to the “town so nice they named it twice” because my parents grew up there and all of their extended family still enjoy residency in one of the best wine towns you will ever visit. On tap will be fun in the pool at my uncle’s, a stroll at the city park’s Fourth of July celebration, and then a BBQ that night with my dad’s family. It will be a fabulous and eventful holiday.

Me in Walla Walla at our family Fourth of July celebration in 2013.

Me in Walla Walla at our family Fourth of July celebration in 2013.

Pop-Its – With a fireworks ban here in Spokane, what I have pictured below accounts for the only pyrotechnics you will find in Spokane (fireworks are legal in Walla Walla, however). Sidney bought a few boxes of Pop-Its at Walgreens and we played with them the other night. Sid was fascinated that I would snap them with my fingers, thinking it would hurt. While I have no problem popping them with my hands, I did not accept a challenge from a Periscope user. The person told me to detonate them with my teeth…no thank you.

Sid holding the Pop-Its.

Sid holding the Pop-Its.

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Happy Fourth of July, everyone! I wish you a wonderful patriotic holiday. If you wish to receive my holiday text message and aren’t on my regular distribution list, please contact me. God bless America. Don’t Blink.

Heading Home for Summer Vacation

It is the eve of another long trip out west for me. Don’t take that as a complaint by any means, I am stoked! Whenever you get to go home it is a joyous occasion. Tomorrow after work I will rush to my place, grab my bags, and head off to the airport to begin my trek to Spokane.

This particular trip, just from the travel standpoint, will differ a little bit from my flights during the holidays. First off, I will have a travel partner! Sidney (more than just my travel partner) will be at my side the whole time. Although she visited Spokane for a short period during the Christmas holiday, this occasion she will be with me every step of the way starting when we take off from Myrtle Beach tomorrow to when we return on July 8. Additionally, we will tough it out through an interesting experience as we spend the night in the Seattle airport. Throughout my flying career I have never spent a whole evening at the airport but that is the price you pay when you fly weird times in the middle of the week.

It will be very well worth it. We have a lot planned over the next two weeks. After a one year hiatus, I will once again volunteer at Hoopfest, the planet’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world. Back for my seventh season as a court monitor, I am excited to once again be part of my hometown’s signature event. After Hoopfest weekend, we will venture outside of Spokane and make visits to Missoula, Seattle (outside of the airport), and Walla Walla. I can’t wait to show Sidney these western cities!

Of course the best part of this impending trip is the opportunity to see my family. In addition to my parents, brother, and sister, I will be reunited with my niece who is now 9 months old. She has grown so much since I last saw her at Christmas. Snapchat videos can only do so much justice. I will also meet a new member of the family for the first time. My parents welcomed a kitten into their home about three months ago and I can’t wait to meet and play with her.

There is one thing awaiting us out in Washington state that I didn’t anticipate a couple weeks ago, however. The area is expecting record heat throughout the next several days. Hoopfest weekend has forecasted temperatures for 100 degrees and 104 degrees. Sure the humidity won’t be as intense as I am used to down South but let’s not kid ourselves….100 degrees is 100 degrees. When we arrive on Spokane soil we will be fully expecting a scorcher.

But it doesn’t matter, 0 degrees or 100 degrees, I am so excited for a vacation with my loved ones. For those of you who live in the places I mentioned, I hope that we can connect. Over the next couple weeks my posts to Don’t Blink might decrease a little bit. Never fear, I will be back at it after that first week in July. West coast here I come. Don’t Blink.

Finding the True Christmas Spirit

I admittedly don’t remember much from when I was eight years old. For that matter, I don’t remember that much from when I was seven or nine years old either. But with pretty much every person, there are certain moments from childhood that stick with us forever. Christmas Eve of 1994 provided me with one of those moments.

My family would always spend the Christmas holidays in my parents’ hometown of Walla Walla, Washington. We would spend Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family and then spend Christmas Day with my mom’s side. The celebration at my dad’s side was always much more of a rowdy, crazy one. My dad has seven brothers and sisters plus their spouses and kids so it was always a large gathering. But it just wasn’t the size that made these Christmas Eves a little wild. Let’s just say my dad’s side likes to have fun. Get the picture?

Well on this particular Christmas Eve in 1994 the adults decided that all of the eating, drinking, gift opening, and game playing could wait to start a little later that night.

My aunt adopted a family for us to take care of. However, it just wasn’t a deal where we wrapped a few gifts and dropped them off at a church or grocery store with tags on for others to distribute. Rather, we were going to the house ourselves on Christmas Eve to personally deliver the goods. And by goods I don’t mean one present for each member of the family. In addition to a complete Christmas dinner prepared by the Reser Chefs and other miscellaneous groceries added in for good measure, we brought enough gifts to pack Santa’s sleigh.

Our Reser group of over twenty people rented a decked out trolley to take us to the west part of Walla Walla County to a very small town called College Place. It was here where the trolley dropped us off at a house that had been converted into apartments. In the corner basement there was an apartment that belonged to our adopted family. We unloaded the trolley with everyone grabbing something. We then tip-toed up to the door, knocked, and waited for the door to open…MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Overwhelmed was the best word to describe the family. Overwhelmed was also the best word to describe me. To the day I die I will always remember the smell of that house. At that time I didn’t like it. It smelled so strong, so greasy, and so foreign. This evening when I called my dad to talk about this blog post, he just told me it smelled like good Mexican food.

You see, we were in the house of a Mexican migrant family. Walla Walla has a high Hispanic population but I didn’t really understand that at eight years old. So while I was shocked by the smell I was also a little shocked by the people I was looking at…people who looked different than me. Also add to the shock factor living quarters that I never realized humans lived in combined with a crying lady and a chaotic scene of almost 30 people smashed into an area meant for maybe four and you bet my eyes were wide open.

Yes, the mom was crying. It was probably her way of communicating how thankful she was because they didn’t speak a word of English and we didn’t speak a word of Spanish. I remember a little boy running around with his shirt off the most. I also (although more faintly) remembertwo little daughters roaming the house as well. I remember us giving the little boy Power Ranger figurines. I remember seeing a smile go across the face of the dad. I remember the overall high degree of destitution inside that apartment.

Before we left we sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” to the family, another one of those vivid memories still lodged in my brain. We then left, boarded the trolley, and went back to the nice warm house of my relatives where we celebrated Christmas Eve. But for the rest of the night I could still smell the scent from our adopted family’s house.

That night I learned about poverty, culture, giving and, most importantly, the Christmas Spirit. I thank my Aunt Nancy for adopting that family and giving all of us Resers, especially my siblings and cousins, an experience and an eye-opener that we have not forgotten. Pretty much the best Christmas gift ever if you ask me. Don’t Blink.

Happy 32nd Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Today my parents celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. Besides it being a very long time, I know the number 32 does not hold much of a significance in terms of milestones but because I have this blog and because I have two amazing parents, I wanted to make sure to write just a little something to commemorate this special day.

My parents, Mary and Tom, both grew up in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington. My mom claims she had a crush on my dad in middle school. However, the crush fizzled as my mom went to the private high school in town and my dad went to the public high school. They also went their separate ways for college too. After they graduated they reconnected back in Walla Walla at a bar. It was there that my dad got my mom’s number and later called her. They started dating and fell in love. On a sweltering August day in triple digit temperatures inside a small catholic church with no air conditioning, my parents got married. That was 32 years ago today.

My mom and dad in their earlier years.

My mom and dad in their earlier years.

You won’t find a better marriage than what my mom and dad have. They love each other and support each other. Many marriages are defined by struggles and hardships that take a toll on the relationship. My parents have never had such tribulations. They simply have always been loyal, kind, and patient with each other. As I have grown up and observed other marriages fall apart, my admiration for what my parents have put together has just increased more and more.

My parents and I clowning around during Halloween.

When I get married, I want to go about it the same way as my parents. I want to have a relationship with my wife that is based on love and trust. I want to be able to talk to her in the morning, while at work, and in the evening. I want to be the absolute best parents humanely possible to my kids. I want to treat the friends and significant others of my kids like gold in the exact same way my parents have always done. I want to build that marriage and that family in a way that everyone else looks at and respects.

My parents have a happy, blessed marriage. In 32 years they have produced so many fruits from their relationship that you would probably need 500 different trees to hold them all. They are the ultimate example of what a healthy and prosperous marriage is and I can’t express how proud and lucky I am to be their son. Happy 32nd anniversary mom and dad, I love you both. Don’t Blink.

Sad To See July Go

Looking at my calendar right now and seeing that it says “July 31” I can’t help but feel a little sad that in a few more hours this month will pass. I have such an admiration for July. While I usually use June to go on trips, I spend the month of July taking it easy and truly enjoying summer life. When August comes around tomorrow it is our unofficial start of the fall sports season for us staffers in Grizzly Athletics and although I really do have a couple more weeks of summer fun left, the laid back-care free attitude of July is no longer.

This particular July for me was extremely nice. I didn’t do anything too special. I didn’t do anything crazy. I didn’t go to any big concerts. I didn’t go to Vegas or to Los Angeles as I have done the past couple of Julys. Except for a whirlwind day trip to a southwestern state, I didn’t even leave the ground. But this was all okay with me because I still managed to have a very enjoyable month. Let me explain a few reasons why.

My Fourth of July was one of the highlights of this great month.

My Fourth of July was one of the highlights of this great month.

The weather we had this month was out of this world. They say that Montana has two summer months, July and August. Even though they say that, July in Missoula still sometimes brings sketchy weather. Not this year. For pretty much all 31 days of July we got the weather pattern I absolutely love….hot and dry. We probably had at least 15 days where the temperature reached at least 90 degrees. For the other half of the days we were always comfortably in the 80’s. I was so appreciative of the sunny skies I saw each day along with the hot temperatures. This is what summer is all about and Mother Nature delivered.

While not the trailblazer that I usually am during the summer months I did get to spend a little bit of time outside of Missoula, something that is much needed considering the time that I am confined to the city during the sports season. I pretty much made a tour of the eastern half of Washington State. I traveled to Spokane a couple times, Walla Walla once, and Dayton once. All of the driving I did was on clear roads with beautiful scenery.

Golf was one activity that made this month great...playing with my dad and bro made it even better.

Golf was one activity that made this month great…playing with my dad and bro made it even better.

I also got to do plenty of summer activities during July! I got to swim, soak in the sun, go to a beach, BBQ, golf, eat ice cream, watch baseball, hang out at the pool, play lawn games, and enjoy a few cold ones. I definitely felt like a lazy summer all-star over the past four plus weeks. I became one with the outdoors and loved every minute.

But what made the great weather, the road trip travel, and the fun activities of July so memorable for me? It was that I got to spend it with the people I love most. I got to see my family twice during July and both times I had an absolute blast. I had the most fun over the extended Fourth of July weekend as I have had on that holiday in a very long time. July 5 will go down as probably the best day I had all summer and getting to spend the majority of it with my brother and dad was special. This month I had such an amazing time hanging with my family as we traveled, laughed, watched movies, BBQ’d, drank, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

 

I am ready for August but dang it, I am going to miss this month. Nothing beats summer. Don’t Blink.

Roadtrip to Smalltown USA

The summer road takes me to Smalltown USA today as I travel to Dayton, Washington, for the birthday of my uncle. I can hear you now as you just read that first sentence, “Brent, where in the world is Dayton?! Are you talking about Ohio?”

No, I am not talking about Ohio. In fact, Dayton is located in the southeastern part of Washington State and boasts a population of a little over 3,000 people. The town had their high school team win a state championship in basketball several years back and that achievement is pretty much what they use to market their town to tourists today.

As I mentioned, I am storming into Dayton to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. I only make spur of the moment trips to out of the way small towns on special occasions and because my uncle is celebrating a milestone 75th birthday it qualified. My Uncle Jim is my dad’s oldest brother, actually my dad’s oldest sibling out of the eight original Reser Kids. Many of my aunts and uncles will be at the celebration today and when you combine their families you got yourself a rather large gathering.

Word on the street is that today’s birthday celebration is taking a brunch form with plenty of liquid refreshments to go with it. Hello Dayton and happy birthday Uncle Jim. It should be fun! Don’t Blink.