I met Scott at Andrew Helmlinger’s New Year’s Eve party in 1989. My girlfriend and I had actually planned to leave. We went upstairs to get our purses and when we came down, Scott was standing in the kitchen. He rowed for the University of Washington crew team, and he had shoulders that went on for days.
I asked Cara if she knew who he was. She said, “No.”
I turned to her and said, “I think I’ll stick around for awhile.” Staying at that party was hands-down, flat-out the best decision I ever made.
I had a standing summer waitressing job at a restaurant on Mt. Desert Island, off the coast of Maine. Scott had only known me a month or so when I asked him to go with me. I was more surprised than anyone when he said yes.
So come June, we were flying cross country. We were only on the island a short time when some of my girlfriends began planning an all-girl’s road trip. I didn’t know how Scott was going to feel about me leaving for a few days after I had drug him all the way out there. I danced around the issue. Finally Scott asked, “Are you asking my permission to spend the weekend with your friends?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “What do you think?”
He replied, “I think you should never ask my permission again. It doesn’t suit you.”
So there we were. Two twenty-year-olds making a promise. I won’t tell you what to do, if you don’t tell me what to do. That agreement lasted the next fifteen and a half years.
I can count the number of serious fights Scott and I had on one hand. But I can’t even begin to estimate the number of times Scott had me roaring with laughter.
I liked to make Scott laugh too, but he was a tough audience, and you all know on a good day I can be a pretty funny girl. He would look at me sideways out of his blue eyes, give me half a grin. To make him really laugh–that was a challenge I relished.
Scott loved watches, sunglasses, pocket knives, and new shoes. He loved watching his daughter play soccer, and he loved watching his son create the most amazing things out of Legos, Kinex, or rubber bands and toothpicks.
Scott loved flying through fresh powder on a pair of skies or a snowboard. He loved swimming and was fond of the phrase, “You’re never sorry you upgraded.” And the handful of fights I mentioned earlier, well at least two of them were a direct result of his upgrading policy.
Scott loved Thai food, the color blue, and power tools. He really loved power tools. Especially saws: table saws, skill saws, chop saws, battery-powered saws-all, chain saws.
Most of you know we have been remodeling our house. We used to have an old hot tub on our property. Scott decided to chop it into pieces and bring it to the dump. I will never forget the glee in his voice when he yelled in to the kitchen, “Kate, the saws-all really does saw all!” And when our neighbor’s tree fell over in a storm, he actually skipped to the shed to get his chainsaw. He loved a tool that could help him demolish something efficiently. We may well be the only family on the eastside that owns multiple nail guns and a jack hammer.
But what he really loved was his friends, his family. He loved his kids. And he loved me. He brought the best out in me. His even keel brought peace to my restless spirit.
And as for my children, Meg and Cole, I ask that you wrap them in your love and carry them through this raw torture. They are light and power. They are magic, grace, and pure genius. And I know if you help them get to the other side of this, they will rise. They will rise.
There is one more thing that Scott loved. He loved motorcycles. He loved the way they looked and sounded. He loved having long conversations about ceramic-coated tail pipes, and he loved going to Seattle International Raceway and running the track. He loved his ridiculous leather motorcycle jacket and his more ridiculous leather pants. He loved everything about that bike.
When he got his first motorcycle my girlfriend said, “Why don’t you tell him you don’t want him to buy it.”
I responded, “We don’t tell each other what to do. It’s an agreement we made a long time ago.”
I always joked with Scott that is bike was so loud and annoying that I could hear it a mile away, a low, earthy rumble that vibrated in my rib cage. I could always tell when he was coming home. I have felt that vibration for days now. It cracks my heart and makes my knees shake. But I know that Scott’s riding home. Halleluiah. He’s riding home.
(Scott’s memorial service was held on July 6, 2005)