Sunday, August 13, 2017


24th Annual 3-on-3 Basketball

Keeping with tradition, the YMCA's 2017 Peach Basket Classic was held during the first full weekend in August in downtown Walla Walla.

Despite the sweltering triple digit heat and smoke-hazed skies, 231 teams from all around the Pacific Northwest bounced, jostled, and shot basketballs at hoops in order to move up in their bracket. By Sunday afternoon, 31 teams had earned the title of Champion in their respective divisions.

An early morning look down Main Street shows an empty lineup of basketball hoops waiting for players to begin warming up. 
Hoops were set up for three blocks along Main Street south of Second, and also along the side streets.

Teams were at liberty to design their own uniforms.
Some were more creative than others.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


I Want To Hold Your Hand

Oh yeah, I tell you somethin'
I think you'll understand
When I say that somethin'
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

Oh please, say to me,
You'll let me be your man
And please say to me
You'll let me hold your hand
Now, let me hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

And when I touch you 
I feel happy inside
It's such a feelin' that my love
I can't hide
I can't hide
I can't hide

Yeah, you got that somethin'
I think you'll understand
When I say that somethin'
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

-John Lennon & Paul McCartney, 1963

Monday, July 17, 2017


Everybody Has Fun

The new Veterans' Memorial Pool has something for everyone. For those brave souls who are not fearful of heights, there are two water slides that provide several seconds of thrills. 

The RED slide on the left is a fast, straight drop to a sudden splashy stop in the run-out pool at the bottom. 

The YELLOW slide on the right, twists and turns as the rider drops more gradually into a big splash in its own run-out pool. On both slides, the key is the further back you lean, the faster you'll go. 

I know. I tried both slides.

Another popular pool feature is this string of floating platforms. The goal is to run across all 10 without being dumped in the water. 

It must be fun for those who try as the line is always long for those waiting to take their turn. For those of us on deck, it's equally fun watching. 

After days of observation, I have decided that it's best not to think too much. Those who are successful tend to just make a run for it. They also tend to be the smaller, lighter children. 

Needless to say, I have no plans to try it.

(He did not make it. Just after this shot, he fell in.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Veteran's Memorial Pool

It all starts innocently enough. The towering water feature in the children's splash pool has spray fountains and water guns that shoot streams of water into the ankle-deep pool. Babies and toddlers clad in brightly colored water wings or PFDs and accompanied by their adult caregivers splash and squeal with delight as they repeatedly climb up the steps and then slide down the water slide on the other side. 

Even elementary-aged kids love to play here, one of four features at Walla Walla's new Veterans' Memorial Pool. 

But then, the red and yellow spiral bucket at the top which has been slowly filling with water, reaches capacity and dumps on the waiting children below.

Screams of delight can be heard across the venue.

P.S. I have even seen adults partaking of the fun during Adult Swim. Myself included.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Blue Mountain Lavender Farm

In case a trip to Provence in southern France is not in your plans this summer, a short drive from Walla Walla can lead you the next best thing. Blue Mountain Lavender Farm outside of Lowden is a touch of Provence in Southeast Washington State.

Even though I have lived in Walla Walla for going on 30 years, and the Lavender Farm has been in existence 17 years, this was my first visit. I don't know what took me so long because it is indeed a magical place. The scent of lavender permeates the air and today's breeze helped dispel the heat as I walked among the rows of lavender and other colorful perennials. 

In addition to the glorious scent, the gentle strains of music could be heard emanating from the barn, apparently the personal playlist of owner Karen Grimaud's husband who is French. 

While Provence may be 5415 miles away, the views and the smells had me convinced that I was in France.

The farm sits on 20 acres with two acres planted in 25+ varieties of lavender along with other blooming plants. Set among the rows are two vine-covered pergolas where guests may rest in the shade while cutting lavender bouquets to take home.

Or, take a seat in one of these lawn chairs set under a row of shade trees with a broad vista of the rows of lavender and beyond.

Unfortunately, the Blue Mountain Lavender Farm is open for U-Cut lavender harvest only until July 16, although the Farm Boutique is open year-round by appointment. I'll be sure to visit earlier in the season next year to get the full effect of row upon row of bushy lavender plants.