The “Real” Twin Peaks

Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge

Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge, on my little day trip, May 2017

Until the day I took a little Sunday drive a couple of weeks ago through the Snoqualmie Valley, I had no idea there was a new “Twin Peaks” series about to debut. I stopped at a place in North Bend for lunch and asked what all the “Twin Peaks” signs were about. North Bend served as one of the backdrops for the series. The “twin peaks” is actually Mount Si and the mountain ridge behind it, directly at the foot of which North Bend is situated. And the “Double R” cafe/diner in the series is a cafe in the middle of town. Still there, of course. But, after 25 years, the height of the show’s popularity had long since waned, so to see so many signs was odd. My waitress filled me in.

Hearing about “Twin Peaks” again made me think about Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls, both prominently featured in the opening credits of the original series; the lodge standing in for the Great Northern Hotel in the series. It’d been a long time since I’d stopped at the falls, so decided I’d take that route home instead of the freeway.

The Salish Lodge (according to the Lodge’s website) was originally built in 1916 as eight-room inn; a rest stop for folks traversing the Snoqualmie mountain pass. That much I can believe. Unlike today’s 45-minute drive from the city, the trip in 1916 would have been a long journey around Lake Washington on old wagon and cattle trails…in a wagon pulled by horses, for the most part. At least, as I imagine it was. Even after the advent of the automobile, the trip would have been several hours. In 1988, just two years before the premiere of “Twin Peaks,” the old inn was completely re-built as a boutique hotel, spa and up-scale restaurant, and reopened as The Salish Lodge.

I’ve stopped to see the falls only a few times in my life. The last time I’d stopped was some years ago. Maybe as much as ten. It was summer. There’s a trail that goes down the steep foothill from the state park, and I hiked all the way down to the river bed. That time of year, in late August, you can get pretty close to the falls,  as the river is running fairly low. The falls aren’t as spectacular as a result, but it’s still a pretty sight. Somewhere I have pictures from that visit.

The visit before that was a couple of years before. Spring, maybe. Friends of the family won a bid at a silent auction for a tour of the hydroelectric power station. The station, built just before the falls, right across the river from the lodge, is a walk back in time to the Industrial Revolution. Most of the 100 some-odd year-old turbines and machines—all of which are subterranean, along with most of the facility, which is massive—still function, generating electricity for the local power utility. It was a fascinating experience. I asked a park volunteer if tours are still offered, but he said they discontinued them several years ago.

The only other time I’ve been to the falls and the lodge was another decade, or maybe fifteen years before those two visits. It was one for the memory books. I was in high school, or maybe college and it was either Mother’s Day or my mom’s birthday. The restaurant has always been popular with the Sunday Brunch set, especially for special occasions, and going out for brunch was always a favorite activity of my mothers’s.

As we took our seats, the wait staff closed the cafe curtains, blocking the view of the top of the falls. Now, getting a table at the window is tough to score. My father would have had to make a reservation weeks, if not months in advance. So, you can imagine his indignation.

“We apologize,” our waitress whispered to him, “but someone….fell…from the cliff last night and we just got notice the recovery crew will be bringing up…the body. Right here; outside the windows.”

Nobody “fell,” of course. Our waitress was making an effort to be discrete. Big beautiful water falls the world over are a common choice for suicides, and Snoqualmie Falls are notorious in our area for such, so none of us were surprised at the news. And the reason to close the curtains was wise, not because it would be an unsettling sight to see a body being lifted up from below, but because the lodge was built as close to the cliff ledge as possible, leaving precious little distance between the building and the cliff drop; only 3 or 4 feet. So not only would the sight of a rescue crew hauling up a dead body be an awful sight over Mimosas, Crepes Suzette and table-side prepared Italian sausage and gouda cheese frittata, but the sight of such only a foot or so from the window would be particularly disturbing. My parents, possessed of healthy sense of humor, simply laughed off our dumb luck.

However, about fifteen minutes later, our waitress returned all smiles. The recovery team used another route, she told us, as she and the other wait staff pulled back the curtains with a flourish.

“Voilà! Enjoy!” she gushed, and walked away.

Five minutes after that the wait staff came back into the dining hall, en masse, rushing to close the curtains again. My father learned later that the recovery crew said they’d look for another place to bring up the body in order to shield guests, but did not find one. Unfortunately, the restaurant manager misunderstood the message.


 

OLWG #2, and other such skullduggery

“And other such skullduggery,” Sarah read the blog prompt aloud to herself. “Hm.”

Sarah highlighted the word, right clicked, selected “Search Google for ‘skullduggery'” and clicked again, certain the search engine would only do its best to come up with actual words that might be similar.

She was surprised the following popped up:

Capture

“Huh.”

“Mom?” her 12 year-old son called out from his bedroom. Sarah didn’t reply. She kept typing. 25 minutes on the clock to finish a reply to the prompt. Sunday mornings her only free time to write.

“Mommy? I think I need to go to the emergency room. Mom?”

“Ask dad,” Sarah snapped.

“Dad?”

Sarah heard John walk upstairs from where he’d been watching the news in the kitchen, admonishing their son as he approached the boy’s room, “Hey, what’s up bud? Don’t bug mom, remember? Sunday morning’s her time, we don’t bug her. What’s up?”

Sarah disappeared again into her writing exercise. She didn’t notice John standing in front of her until he interrupted. Her mind a million miles away, she stared at him for what seemed like a full minute before replying.

“What do you mean, too much sugar. How much sugar?” she finally said.

“He says he ate a whole bag.”

“WHAT? Has he been sick? Thrown up?” Sarah rushed out of the living room.

“I don’t think he ate a whole bag, but yeah, he’s pretty sick.” John said as he followed her upstairs.

Sarah sat next to her son, curled up in his bed, and stroked his sweating forehead. He was shivering and shaking. John stood in the doorway with the two other children, who had come to the room to see what would bring their mother out of her Sunday morning seclusion.

“I don’t feel good.”

“Dad said you said you ate a bag of sugar.” The boy nodded his head. “What bag? Out of the kitchen?” The boy wagged his head. “What bag, bud? Show me. Now.” The boy reached over the edge of his bed and pulled out from under it a Trick-or-Treat sack, about the size of a paper grocery bag. A few candies remained.

Both Sarah and John’s eyes widened, followed by simultaneous scoldings. “That bag of candy was full of all your candy and your sister and brother’s from Halloween! We hid that bag! How’d you find it? How long has it been under your bed? Did you eat all that all at once last night?”

The truth finally came out in Dr. Schoonmaker’s office. The boy hadn’t wanted to disturb his mother about breakfast, and his dad wasn’t up yet, so he stayed in his room and ate the candy he found last month in the back of the freezer (when he was looking for the ice cream he knows his mother hides back there). The family was sent home with instructions for the boy to eat a couple of large spoonfuls of sugar-free peanut butter, a high fiber and protein diet for the next couple of days, plenty of water and a long bike ride later that afternoon to get the blood pumping to help flush out his kidneys and liver.

Sarah announced in the car on the way home she would change her “me time” schedule to week nights, after she made sure everyone had a healthy dinner and she’d made a clean sweep of under the beds and any other secret hiding place in the house. And, no more ice cream, either.


I think I wrote this within 60 minutes. I was watching TV at the same time, so a lot of start and stopping. 😉 The On-line Writer’s Guild prompts this week are: Mom, I need to go to the emergency room; How much sugar?; And other such skullduggery. Check it out: https://aooga.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/olwg-2/

What a Nightmare: OLWG #1

She walked in to see me banging away at my keyboard.

“Not you, too!”

I finished my thought and paused to look at my old muse. “Yes, yes. I see you stopped in on TK to harass him. I like the name he gave you. Annie. Annie, Annie, bobanny, fee, fi, fo, fanny. Annie!”

My old muse stepped in front of my table, arms crossed. “You guys don’t learn.”

“Oooh, I don’t know about that.”

I returned my attention to my laptop. Four minutes had passed on the timer. Gotta get back at it.


Untitled-1A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown. Mortified to realize she was standing in front of her fourth-period social studies class, Mrs. Wilson did her best to hush the students’ tittering.

“Hey Mizz Wilson,” Thomas jeered, “why don’t you write on the blackboard, you know, what you were just saying about the United States government. Cuz, I don’t know how to spell ‘Senate!’ Show me how to spell, ‘Senate!’”

Thomas’ gaggle of goofs let out a loud laugh and gave Thomas high-fives. How desperately Mrs. Wilson wished she could wake up, regardless the pain she would feel if she was able to manage it. The anesthesia had too strong of a hold for her consciousness to break through.

“Come on, Mizz Wilson! Show us! Show us! HAHAHA!” the class kept heckling.

“I never said I’d show you…that’s not what I said…what it said… what was said…” Mrs. Wilson tried explaining; tried getting control, but her body was frozen in place and the words jumbled, tossed and turned around in her head.  Desperate for escape, she wondered if could manage to jump out the window, make a run for it…

The classroom faded. Hushed sounds filled her ears. As Mrs.Wilson came to, she was grateful to open her eyes to a hospital room. Her husband looked up from his phone and smiled.

“There she is! How ya feel?”

“I feel …. like I’m done being a Junior High School teacher.”


The 3 prompts for OWLG #1 are: A cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown; She did her best to hush the classroom; That’s not what it said. 

Always a fun exercise in creativity! Grab the one prompt that resonates and force-fit the other two to work with it. Such a blast!

Can’t do the timed-writing thing unless I do this at lunch. Wrote in 30-ish minutes. Took 15 more (or so) tonight to tweak.

If you haven’t yet, check out the Old-is-new-again Online Writer’s Guild!

A Time and Place for Everything (or, Not the Time or Place for This Thing)

surpriseSo, there I was, enjoying dinner at one of my go-to neighborhood places. I was happily tucked in a corner reading a novel on my Kindle; a lovely early work of Michael Ondaatje. Lulled into a complacency as the novel’s story unfolded—in Ondaatje’s wonderfully lyrical way—I was mildly surprised when I found myself in the midst of an erotica scene.

Now, stumbling into an elegantly crafted erotica scene in a book you are reading is something you don’t want to do when you are in a public place. But, if you happen to stumble upon such a passage while reading in public, what you really don’t want, is someone to silently walk up behind you and gently touch you on the shoulder, as my waiter did.

“Everything OK? Need anything else?”

My skin ignited the instant he touched me. Every tiny hair bristled as the surprise of his skin on mine rolled all the way through my body, down to my toes. I could feel the otherwise still air move over me, as if a very soft breeze wafted through the dining room. I recoiled and shot him a surprised look.

“Sorry! I was trying not to startle you!”

I waved a dismissive hand and muttered, “No worries.”

“Anyway, do you need anything else?”

DO WE NEED ANYTHING?!, my mind screamed. AAACK!! ARE YOU KIDDING?! HE’S KIDDING, RIGHT?!

“Nope,” I said, “I’m good,” shyly shaking my head.

GOOD?! YOU’RE NOT GOOD! WE DEFINITELY NEED SOMETHING! WAIT! WAIT WAIT WAIT! HE’S WALKING AWAY! CUTE WAITER GUY IS WALKING AWAY! AAACK!

Stop it, I hissed in silence to my frantic hormones, as they continued to jump up and down on my reptilian brain stem. Not the time or place.

My brain and hormones fell silent, but kept buzzing about.

Anyway, I reasoned, desperate to calm my nerves, he’s actually not all that good looking. And way too young. Stop it!

The hormones cooled their tantrum. My skin desensitized. My brain, now cajoling, urged me to take a long draw off my glass of wine; take a deep breath.

(sigh)

I skipped to the next chapter.

 

Prompt-like

Have you noticed a line in your Reader (for you WordPressers) just below the Search bar with “Suggestions”? I get that WP wants us to expand our blog reading, but to me, it reads more like a writing prompt list of 3 words. Check mine out (I hit refresh and got a new list each time):

Groovy, Sharks, Travel
Love, Funny, Batman
Backpacks, Sous vide, Makeup
Craft Beer, Monkeys, Yoga
Mountain Biking, Tibet, Robots

Hmmm… (cracking knuckles) I wonder what bit of writing mischief I can get up to with this?