(Click to Enlarge) Two or three weekends ago at the annual Meridian Avenue (north of 80th) summer block party, Jean Sherrard (of this blog) took the stage as he does every year to urge those sitting in lawn chairs and/or lingering beside the potluck tables to join in the cakewalk. On Meridian this is a variation of Musical Chairs, the popular church and school social game where when the music stops the players who have survived all interruptions to that point – say four are left – fight for the remaining three chairs. There is always one less chair that players, consequently one might easily land on another players lap rather than a chair and thereby join the losers without chairs – unless the lap is preferred.
On Meridian numbers from one to 100 are chalked on the pavement in a winding circle. When the music stops a number is pulled from a basket by a child – for assured innocence – and you can figure it out. If it is the number you are standing on when the music last stopped you win a cupcake. There are about two dozen cakes to win, and you can be a repeat winner. And this leads to Tipsoo Lake.
This year while urging the reluctant among us to join in the walk Jean used his father Don Sherrard as an example of cakewalk valor. Don has bad knees, got originally from playing center in both Highline High School basketball and football. For the latter, Jean notes proudly, “He was all-league.” With a great bravado of voice and a sweeping hand Jean advise the block party “If my father with his bad knees can dance then surely you can dance with him.” And Don did dance, although I do not remember if he won a cake this year. Afterwords Don told me that the day before he and Jean’s brother Kael – director of Hillside School in Bellevue where Jean and his wife Karen teach – had taken the short hike from Chinook Pass to Tipsoo Lake and that he used his hiking canes (or poles) to ease the way. Don, a semi-retired doctor-professor at the U.W. Medical School, is in his mid-70s, and thereby visited Tipsoo at a later age than Horace Sykes could have. Horace died in his early 70s. Horace returned with his picturesque slides and Don with his still startled eyes. He found Tipsoo’s setting – below the Mountain The Was God – most enchanting.