Crazy Memorial Day weekend

— Memorial weekend was crazy. I did more yard work than planned, less news work, and I came across a couple of interesting people.

I planned to rest and do a little yard work. The more I looked at the yard though, the more I needed to do more yard work.


Ted Escobar

Fortunately, the weather was such that I could. I put in 5-6 hours each of the three days, working about one-and-a-half each stint and resting the others.

I was elated I could do that much physical work. I hope it means I’m on a comeback. Even earlier this year, the most I could do at one stretch was a half-hour.

One of the reasons I was able to do more was a new yard tool I bought about a month ago. I don’t know what it’s called, but it replaced the hoe I usually use, and it turned out to be just right. Pat bought a second one after she tried it.

Instead of moving dirt with the weeds, this tool cuts through the ground and leaves the dirt behind with the weeds. The weight of the job was diminished dramatically.

I don’t know what the hoe end of this tool is made of, but I’ve used it more than 20 hours without sharpening the blade. It’s still cutting like new.

Speaking of comebacks, what about those Seattle Mariners. I’m still in a state of shock. They’ve had 16 comeback victories and 16 one-run wins. They were superb over the weekend. Maybe “next year” has arrived.

On Saturday, I attended the first Root Beer Mile, organized by Sarmiento Speed Academy in Sunnyside.

Ten people showed. It was fun, and the runners were funny. One of them never started. He took a sip of root beer, spit it out and dropped out.

“I hate root beer,” he said.

Even the runners who like root beer struggled to chug one can down before each lap. We learned that root beer will add at least 2 minutes to your time. Kennedy Sarmiento, who owns the Academy, normally runs a mile in 5:45. He did the Root Beer Mile in 7:46.

On Sunday, one of Pat’s Facebook friends posted that he was witnessing smoke from a fire at Becker Road and state Highway 97. He couldn’t tell what was burning, but Pat and I jumped into her car with the camera and rushed to the spot.

The fire was out when we arrived. All that was left was a destroyed vehicle and emergency responders.

On Monday, I attended Memorial Day services conducted by the Yakama Nation Warriors and the Zillah American Legion. There may have been a few differences in style, but the prayers and sentiments were the same.

At the Zillah Cemetery, I was checking angles for best pictures and got into friendly chat with one of the Legionnaires, Dale Spurlock. I mentioned how much I appreciated the old (west side) cemetery and its old headstones.

“Me too,” he said. “I often stop at old cemeteries just to look and take pictures of headstones.” No, that’s not weird. Headstones, especially the old ones, can be works of art.

Spurlock rarely takes the freeways on trips. He takes alternate routes to discover places like Washtucna and Davenport. One of his alternate routes ended up being 15 miles of gravel back to the same highway, without a house in sight.

“It was the freshest air; we had the windows down, and the crops were all green. The wheat was about six inches tall,” Spurlock said

The other friendly fellow I ran into was a non-Yakama man from Yakima at the Yakama Warriors ceremony at Yakama Nation Veterans Affairs. Bald, with a light complexion and at the center of the event, he stood out. I didn’t really meet him.

I just shook hands with him during the traditional handshake at the end of the ceremony.

When it came time for him to speak, the Vietnam veteran shared a touching personal story. In June he will welcome to his home a daughter he didn’t know he had until recently.

He fathered the child with a Vietnamese woman. He and his wife visited that child, 46 now, last year.

He told the gathering his story just in case any of the Yakama Warriors fathered a child over there. He said they should make every effort to bring that child home.

“They don’t like people of American and Vietnamese mix,” he said.

First, the man said, the Vietnamese tried to kill his daughter by throwing her into a river. Then she was turned over to a group of people that used her as a sex slave.

Like I said, crazy weekend.

— Ted Escobar is the managing editor of The Daily Sun. Email him at


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