A summer day in Gilberton, WA
We drove to Gilberton on Saturday with the kids to attend my wife's summer work party. We drove around (via Tacoma) instead of taking the Bremerton Ferry and arrived around 11:00 a.m. Brenda had made arrangements with her boss Randy to take us out on his speedboat, as the kids had a great time the year before.
We got the boat ready and then headed out onto Puget Sound. The weather was perfect, the water glassy. Captain Randy showed off the 180 hp engine -- and we cruised the water at 50 mph. I looked back to see Brenda's hair blowing wildly.
Randy took us up to Agate Bridge, which brought back some memories for me. My Aunt and Uncle used to own a house above the beach, and I'd spent many days on the beach below Agate Bridge.
On the way back to the marina, Randy pointed out the Keyport Naval Undersea Warfare Center, where the Navy repairs and maintains torpedoes and underwater targets. I remember that when I was growing up, my father used to talk about doing work at Keyport -- but I'd never seen it before.
When we got back to Randy's cabin, Brenda headed down to the beach with the boys before the tide came in. The cabin, I soon found out, was really two houses -- a main house and the tree house -- both with incredible views. Randy explained that the women's bathroom was in the main house, and the men's in the tree house (at least for the party).
I took a look around inside the cabin and found a collection of military decorations, all belonging to Randy's father, George Henry Revelle, Jr. In all, there were 13 decorations, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Legion of Merit. I asked Randy where his father had served.
"He worked for Patton in World War II," he said.
"Was he the son-of-a-bitch that everyone said he was?" I asked, jokingly referring to the Patton film starring George C. Scott that emphasized this fact.
While Randy didn't confirm my question, he said his father told him the only thing the movie Patton got wrong was the way the General swore. Evidently, when expletives escaped his mouth, Patton's voice went up in pitch -- in stark contrast to George C. Scott's gravely baritone.
After this, I headed down to the beach with the boys and Brenda. The tide was coming in, and the boys were in search of treasure.
Later, back at the cabin, I played whiffleball and basketball with Cameron, and we were treated to the Tropical Rock-style singer Dave Calhoun. Dave played a lot of Jimmy Buffet songs, but he also played some that had been written by local songwriter friends of his that were really good (in particular, I liked the one about traffic).
When Dave took a break, I talked "musician" shop with him a little. I was curious how he set up the backing tracks. He told me that the built the tracks on a keyboard and then converted them to an .mp3 file for his iPod. Pretty amazing that someone can bring an entire band in their pocket these days.
However, I feel it's important to point out that this technical revolution does come at a price: anything that's pre-recorded will ultimately sound sterile because it can't breathe. The feel of music is produced by the character of the musician -- including imperfections. While I thought Dave sounded great with the polished backing tracks, I would have preferred to hear him sing with only a guitar.
After 5:00, we left the party and decided to take the Bremerton Ferry back to Seattle. The family stayed in the car, but I went above and enjoyed the 60-minute ride.