I was talking to someone after the informal community memorial for Brad Pinkerton last week, and we were musing about how it was too bad he couldn’t hear the wonderful things said about him (along with some of the good-natured gibes about his multi-faceted personality).
That’s the way it is with memorials, which tend to be occasions for those of us left behind to share our recollections of a valued person who is now lost to us. It’s a final affirmation of the vital (and sometimes fragile) human connections that define a life, and all the other lives that person touches.
Brad made a lot of connections over his many years in the valley, in a variety of overlapping spheres. He was an extraordinary artist — the many signs he created for the community attest to that — and an accomplished musician who played from the heart and respected others who did the same. He organized the North Cascades Old Time Fiddlers Contest, which brought people to the valley for many years to be part of something not only cultural but also personal.
The depth and breadth of Brad’s presence in the valley was on full display at the memorial gathering, hosted by Steve and Teresa Mitchell at the Rocking Horse Bakery in Winthrop — the building that used to be Brad’s workshop, and a space were he played a lot of music over the years.
The bakery was packed with folks from one end of the valley to the other. People enjoyed great food (thank you to the Pattersons at Glover Street Market for a fabulous feed), a little libation, live music and a slide show featuring photos of Brad and his Methow monuments — the signs he created that so wonderfully define the community. When the Westernization Design Review Board was updating Winthrop’s westernization code, it looked for authentic lettering options but couldn’t find one that precisely replicated what they called “Brad’s font.”
I think that’s a good thing. “Brad’s font” will be his lasting gift to us and a reminder that he was here, he lived, he cared, he created, he made a difference. Would that we all could hope for such a legacy. And if there’s one more thing to take from Brad’s memorial, it might be this: If you have something nice to say to or about someone, do it while they’re still around. It’ll be appreciated.
So far, I’m liking this winter.
Yes, it’s been cold, but we can deal with cold. In my view, extreme cold is easier to contend with than extreme heat. Just put on more layers and enjoy being outside.
We’ve had enough snow to get the Nordic and alpine seasons going, and subsequently enough additional snow to freshen things up every few days — but as yet, no gobsmacking blizzard that inundates us despite some of the terroristic forecasts.
Out where I live, the county has been doing a good job of plowing and sanding the road as needed. If you can get out of your driveway (a hellacious challenge for many of us), travel is usually safe and efficient enough by winter standards. Unlike last year, the towns are not dealing with so much snow that they can’t find places to put it.
We’ve enjoyed many classic, brilliant winter days when you feel blessed to be here. Watching visitors reach the same conclusion is a secret pleasure.
There also have been many star-filled evenings when you can fall over backwards (and maybe make a snow angel as long as you’re down there) trying to scan the skies for familiar formations, and figure out what the heck David Ward is talking about.
We’ve got a ways to go, and Mother Nature makes no subjective allowances for our weather preferences. But we’re off to a great start that, with a good snow base and lasting ice at the Winthrop Rink, will carry us so far into the “shoulder season” that we might not notice the transition.