Not only have I skipped almost a year, but I also begin writing in a new notebook. What has happened since the last entry dated July 9, 1978, in the previous book? So much, it will be hard to remember it all. Grandpa Tom Parker died last fall. In January we lost Donnie Parker in a car accident and early this spring we lost Nora Barker. As death can strike at any time, I would like to talk about mine a little. There are a few things I’d want to repeat and to change a few things about my funeral. I am going to write some things that maybe I shouldn’t, they are going to sound petty, but that’s life, I guess.
I still want the services held at the
Presbyterian Church. (I’ve been attending the Neah Bay Assembly of God when I do attend.) It still would be nice to have a cousin sing. After what I’m going to say, she may not want to, and that would be pettier than I’m going to be. Last summer Melonee decided to run for Makah Day’s Queen. She made her intentions known to the family. Everything was fine until Mel got a call from our cousin. She too was thinking about running. Now, Melonee had bowed out twice before when our cousin said she’d run. Our cousin never ran, so Mel did not run needlessly. What galls me is that our cousin denied that this ever happened, in effect calling us liars. Our cousin did not say she was going to run, only that she was once again just thinking about it. We could only hope for the best. Mel was more than willing to bow out.
Our cousin did decide to run and called Mel, I repeat CALLED MEL, not even finding the courtesy to tell her in person. Mel was shattered, we were eating when the call came. In tears Mel gave us the news and because she lost her appetite left the dinner table to cry in her room. I was so disappointed with our cousin, and Melonee was ready to quit, right then and there. I guess I helped make the decision to run anyway. I was bitter, and the bitterness was to increase once this race wore on. It was unorthodox to have two girls from the same family run for Queen, these girls were 1st cousins!
We ran and ran hard. I did not work as hard as I should have, but Mel worked her tail off. I was so proud of her and so disappointed when she lost. Dale was so upset that she had to leave the gym in tears. Losing hurt, but it was tainted by the way our cousin won and attempted to win.
First of all, our cousin allegedly accepted a 5 to 7 hundred dollar contribution from her Youth Camp group or some group she deals with her religion. You’d think they have better ways to spend their money. What really gets me is that she actually accepted it. This is a girl who once worried that her Mom was going to hell because her Mom went to a different Church from the one she attended. I was told this by her brother during a rather long car ride to Seattle. A third girl was running as well. When the rumor of the 5 – 7 hundred dollar contribution came out, I thought that it was the other candidate who took it. I actually felt our cousin was above this type of thing. But, oh was I wrong! The worst was yet to come.
The third candidate dropped out of the race, raising under $100. She gave this to our cousin, and when our cousin turned in her money, she allegedly included that money with her own. I lost most of any respect I had for our cousin right then and there. She beat Mel by a mere $20 — $70. Mel had raised $1,230, Maria just under $1,300, but more than a third of it was donated. Mel worked for every penny and worked hard. Mel accepted her loss graciously. I wanted to hurt our cousin and hurt her bad. She had no right to receive her crown, no reason whatsoever! I am glad I never said anything because I would say things that probably would still need more time for healing from the wounds they would have opened. Until now, no one knew how hurt I was for Mel and how much our cousin disappointed me. Now it is petty to feel this way, but it’s one that will take years to live down, but still, it would be nice if our cousin would sing at my funeral. (I bet you didn’t see that coming?) (Almost 40 years later I had forgotten this story, and in this case, time did the healing. I love and respect my cousin more now than ever.)
For pallbearers, I would like Rory Vogel, Mike Parker,
Jimmy Jarrett, Uncle Gene Parker, Coach Ron Johnson and Stevie Cunningham. For honorary pallbearers, I list them in the order that I would like them to replace those above who might not make it, Davey Whitener, Leonard Zenonian, Uncle John Parker, Moe Dannel, Danny Greene, Bobby Martin and Kimm Brown. (Of this list I would still choose Rory and Mike, Stevie, Davey, Bobby, and Kimm are slightly more than acquaintances as of the date I posted this. [05/15/2018]
Rory Vogel was my first real close friend in Neah Bay. Through high school and especially in sports we were close. It really began in Little League baseball. We were teammates in football, bench mates in basketball, worked together in the summer a couple of summers. I could talk to him and be myself. I still can.
Mike Parker. What can I say about him? He had been one of the best friends I have, or will ever have. As I stated previously, he is my 1st cousin, confidant, and my best friend. Let me amend that by saying he is my 1st cousin, 1st confidant, and 1st best friend. He is funny, witty and maybe one of few who really understands me. There is little I wouldn’t tell him.
Jimmy Jarrett may be a surprise choice of mine, to my family. Jimmy was my boyhood idol, though only 2 years separate us. Yet, as a sixth grade, and he an 8th grader, he already was starting on Varsity basketball. I became a manager in the 7th grade and got to see him play every game. Now 2 years is nothing, then 2 years was an eternity. This idolization slowly grew away, but because of it, I came to know another of my closest friends, Neah Jarrett. This alone gives Jimmy a high position on my list. (Jim has died.)
Uncle Gene Parker is a man I respect a great deal. His love of sports is one I share, though I could never hope to attain his knowledge. While in High School sports and other activities, but especially in sports, he was always the first to come on the field or floor to offer a pat on the back and warm but loud word of encouragement, win or lose. It was sweet when we won, but even better to hear those words when we lost. He cared. Though it would be nice to have him as an active pallbearer, it may be easier on him to be an honorary one. This will have to be a decision to be made by my family. (He has died)
Coach Ron Johnson has entered my life in the last couple of years. These were very difficult years of my life. Ron has helped steady me, helped give my life direction. He has done this unknowingly, and yet it was there. I thank him for listening, but even more for talking to me. He had enough respect in me to invite me to speak at a sports banquet. He made me very happy when he gave me a plaque, for my services in sports. It was a gift given form the heart and I loved it. He and Julie, who I’m sure thought of the plaque have helped me through a very difficult time. (He has died)
Stevie Cunningham is a person who wasn’t even on my previous list at all. At this writing, we aren’t really close friends, but I hope that will change. He is a person I have grown to respect a great deal. Right now I look forward to a growing friendship. As of now, I feel completely satisfied with Stevie as a choice. I shall tell more about Stevie later. (No contact for decades.) (Recently became friends on Facebook.)
Davie Whitener is a long time friend from High School. We were classmates, teammates, and buddies. (No contact for decades.)
Len Zenonian, Mr. Z, was my favorite teacher and coach. He had a big influence n me during my school years. (He has died.)
Uncle John Parker, he is another Uncle I have a lot of respect for. (He has died.)
Moe Dannel and I came through our friendship by our mutual love for Neah and sports. Though not a real close friend, I could always count on Moe. (No contact for decades.)
Danny Greene, another friend through sports is another growing friendship. He is one of few people who show me a little respect.
Bobby Martin became a friend through Mike. Our friendship has been strained a bit, but not enough to keep him off this list. (No contact for decades.)
Kimm Brown is more a choice for my Mom than myself. (No contact for decades.)
Loy Bigelow has been another close friend in high school, confidant, rival, competitor, and classmate. I would like to have her read my obituary if she would. (No contact for decades.) (I saw her when she attended her fathers funeral dinner.) (Recently became friends on Facebook.)
I have devoted enough time to this subject and though my words may seem cold, I write them in hopes of making my funeral easier for my family. This list has changed even in a little more than a year and will change more. I’ll make changes known and note where they are in the space below.
` Jim Caron is a person I haven’t seen in 8 years, I doubt he would even remember me. (Recently became friends on Facebook.)
Death has taken up too much of my writing to date. So, let me talk about something else. As I stated above, I am going to talk about Steve Cunningham and that’s just what I’m going to do.
(It may be obvious by now, that I did a lot of letter writing to people I wanted to become friends with, a lot. In that day and age, the Post Office was the best outlet for communication. Only a few ever wrote back, which is okay. I made only a few friends via letters, and that’s okay too. I was a quiet, sports nerdy kid through high school and into college. Neah Bay Sports produced many athletes I would be happy to call my friend. Following Neah Bay Sports led me to meet my future wife. The best thing to ever happen to me.)
As I write this Steve is laying in a hospital in Port Angeles, he is recovering from surgery on his knee for an injury he suffered in football last fall. His surgery was on Wednesday, April 18, 1979. The next day, at about 8:20 PM I called him. For me, it was a big step. I was so nervous and so afraid that I’d have nothing to say, that before I called I even began to write down questions. After 3 questions I gave this up. It was useless since he had answered these questions within the first minute.
I had known about the pending operation for quite awhile. And though I have written Steve at least 6, or 7 times and had asked this question a couple of times, I never got an answer. He has never written back, but he did talk to me at a dance in March. He came right up to me and we chatted. “Gee, it was easy,” was the thought that struck me. We did not chat long, but it was nice to talk at all. I have respected Stevie’s sports abilities for a while now. He seemed to know what he wants and he has what it takes to accomplish this. What I did was write a letter last year to him in hopes to strike up a friendship. He lost his grandparents in a short span of time. His home life is not the best, his Dad lives in Seattle, and he lives with his Mom. And yet through all of this, he has maintained a fantastic attitude. I wrote a letter and did not stop writing, especially after he got hurt. It cost him most of the football season and all of basketball and track season. I know how hard it is for a competitor like Steve to have to sit it out. I wrote to try to help him. I was told that I may have, so I kept writing.
Mel told me about his operation coming up soon but didn’t really know for sure when it was. She told me on the 18th, but the 18h was Wednesday. I had thought she had said the 16th, so I called the 16th. They had no one by the name of Steve Cunningham in the building. Mel wasn’t even sure if he was in Port Angeles or in Seattle. If he was in Seattle I’d go visit him, if in PA I’d have to be satisfied with a call. Finally, Mel called on Wednesday and confirmed Steve was in PA. I was to call the next night.
Like I said I was nervous. I dialed the hospital and it rang 7 times before being answered. I almost chickened out and hung up. They rang Steve’s room. Some girl answered and I gave her my name and she said, “Oh, you must want Steve, just a minute.” She then got Steve on the phone. We said hello and there was a pause, the thing I dreaded most. But, it didn’t last. We talked for 20 minutes. I had attempted to hang up by mentioning that I had to study for a test. We got off on the Sonics and the conversation went on for a couple more minutes.
The amount of time we talked was significant, but even more so were the things he said. Here he is laying in bed, in pain, and he tells me he’s going to cut shake bolts in June. He wanted to put on weight through weight lifting and to top this, his goal for football, his final season, is to score 15 touchdowns. The whole team did not score 15 Td’s last year and he wants to score 15 himself. This kid is impressive. He’s got me believing he will do this, I know he’ll try. He offered to play tennis with me this summer, all this while laying in bed recovering from surgery on his knee. My respect for him grew 10 times. His attitude astounded me. He doesn’t know it, but I’d do almost anything to help him I’ve got to let him know.
Steve also talked about going to college. He said he was even interested in UPS. Again he had taken me by surprise. I didn’t want to hang up. I could have talked to him all night, could have listened all night. I didn’t care about the cost of the call. It had to end though, and I hated to. It was an interesting talk that I really enjoyed and I felt good about making it. Twenty minutes, Jeez I couldn’t believe it! I don’t know if I helped him, but Steve did me a lot of good.