A game unlike any other

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That’s how I would describe my visit to Safeco Field last Saturday.

Blown away!

That’s how I felt when Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen agreed to talk to me — in Spanish, no less.


The word I would use to define my field-side perch in the photographer’s well adjacent to the Seattle Mariners dugout — two feet from the water cooler, within an earshot of all the players.


The word I uttered to myself when walking onto the stadium turf between the 7th and 8th innings to get back to the media tunnel — in front of some 46,000 fans.

A dream come true.

The only way I could begin to sum up last Saturday night at the ballpark.

Words cannot capture the significance of that night in the life of this sports fan. Stories alone cannot paint the picture of happiness that has been following me around the past few days.

Not only was I talking to Major Leaguers and standing on the field I have drooled over for years, but this was my team.

I have been a Mariners fan since I was just a small fry, and like any other kid that has grown up with a team, I dreamed of one day being a part of the show.

Granted, I was a miniscule, peon-sized part of the show. But for three short innings on Saturday night, I had a seat on the other side. I sat where millions of baseball fans everywhere could only dream about. I was in Ichiro’s living room; Bret Boone’s backyard; Mike Cameron’s kitchen.

The only way I can think of to make this dream resonate with my readers and friends is to share my experience through writing.

Think about your most joyous moment over the past five years. Now multiply it by 10. That may give you an idea of where I’ve been the past few days. As Dave Neihaus would say: My oh my!

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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