Opinion

Dry runs on opening day

We went into this edition expecting to bring

readers good news, or at least some news,

about the resumption of ferry galley services.

But, after vowing that new kitchen and ferry terminal

concessionaires would be announced yesterday, Washington State Ferries veered off course and instead confessed that interviews are ongoing. Too bad, as the galley shutdown

continues to inspire pique among some riders and union

officials, while a deadline of sorts draws nigh.

Elsewhere on this page, several writers advance sound nutrition or gainful employment as key issues in the galley discussions, yet we contend that the essential question, as with so much of life, really comes down to this: baseball and beer.

Specifically, will Mariners fans be able to buy a cold brew on the ferry come opening day, April 6?

As of this writing, the answer appears to be no; you’ll

have to wait until you reach the stadium. But we were

reminded recently of a darker time still, when islanders had neither libation aboard the boat, nor professional baseball

waiting on the other side. The year was 1970, and arch-fiend Bud Selig had just spirited the Seattle Pilots off to oblivion in Milwaukee. Meanwhile, working islanders were putting aside more quotidian concerns to debate whether spirits should have a place amongst the ferry concession fare on the evening runs.

Thanks to Island Theatre and their marvelous production “Dear Editor,” last week’s reading of historical letters to the Review, for unearthing this chestnut from our March 25, 1970 edition; it reminds us that should the taps miraculously flow again someday soon, baseball fans will owe a debt of gratitude to the vision of editors and readers of old, and all those who quaffed before.

To the Editor:

Two weeks ago you sent up an editorial trial balloon, entitled “Floating Cocktail Hour,” advocating the admirable idea of spirituous solace for the weary home-bound ferry rider. If anything was to come of this, it was obvious you needed the support of taxpayers as well as us old soaks. So I went to my closet for my lance and shield, unused since the ABM crisis last year, and sorely in need of rust remover.

While I was getting them in shape, I kept alert for enemy action. Whether they are the silent majority or minority is not yet clear, but the only false move I have detected so far is the letter from Mr. Naugle who views with alarm on the grounds that wild-eyed ferry drinkers behind the wheels of their juggernauts will mow down our wives and children in a Gotterdamerungish holocaust. Mr. N. seems not to be a drinking man or he would know that it is impossible for anyone, but anyone, to drink enough of the C—k Enterprises current “alcoholic” beverages between Seattle and Winslow to warm one’s cockle, let alone become a polluted traffic menace.

Now that my lance and shield are burnished to their pristine beauty, I rush to your support with the following observations.

1. Precedent: Not only does the state serve as the primary dispenser of spirituous liquors, as you pointed out, it leases State property to “Cabin 52,” a saloon which serves booze to ferry riders with no time or quantity limits. This leads not infrequently to fellows missing ferries, which has been known to a) irritate wives and b) cut into ferry revenues.

2. Proposition: Petition to shut down “Cabin 52” in its present location and re-open on the “Elwha” and “Kaleetan.” (Give thought to extending the service to Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, Edmonds-Kingston, probably not to Bremerton, certainly not to San Juan Island.) Make the deck hands (who usually look as if they wanted more to do) responsible for disembarkation of those either a) unwilling or b)unable to off-load. Finger such delinquents to lurking State Patrollers who, at the slightest sign of weakness on the homeward trip, could write an expensive ticket for reckless driving, drunkenness, or maybe ever profanity, obscenity and resisting an officer.

Let’s all get behind this fine program to:

I. Get the boys home on time.

II. Support our local law enforcement officers.

III. Hold down ferry fares.

IV. Maybe, reduce the high cost of drinking.

I even have a name for our worthy cause: “Bainbridge Order Of Zealous Existentialists” (“BOOZE” for short). Membership applications must be accompanied by one empty half-gallon of “Old Crow” (or reasonable facsimile).

Yours for better things,

Talbot Wegg

Bainbridge Island

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