Off the Press

September 13, 2011

By Greg Farrar

In New York or here, the lesson is to love

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Pundits and writers this week have been trying to come up with some profound things to say about the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country. What are the lessons? What has changed?

Here is a lesson I feel I have learned and would like to share, not only from the last 10 years since 9/11, but from my last 15 years of being blessed with this career at The Issaquah Press:

Love in the now. Love often. Don’t leave people guessing, make sure they know you love them.

One of our obituaries this week is for Lillian Tucker, 81, of Issaquah. “Auntie Lil” or “Mrs. Santa Claus” as I knew her, was one of the first people I met here in 1996. She was famous for her holiday nutcracker collection and her love of the Seattle Mariners. She worked a number of years in the deli at the Front Street Market, serving and smiling for her customers.

There have been so many people, some I was able to know and some I wasn’t.

There was Ted Cook Jr., who was named Issaquah Citizen of the Year one week and was gone the next in a boating tragedy. There was Linda Ruehle, our town’s legendary city clerk. I got to meet lifelong Issaquah residents such as Orville “Tiny” Campbell and his wife Geneva, Sunny and Hooker Hailstone, and Leonard “Chubby” Miles.

I remember Harold and Myrtle Winslow, who I met working here at The Press. Myrtle was an accountant here for many years. I’m sitting in her vintage green Boeing-surplus office chair right this moment.

There have been local people I’ve reported on, with names like Mary Johnsen, Kim Evanger, Rachel Beckwith and Josh Williams, taken from us far too soon.

I’ve been privileged to know local teachers, like Ruth Roy and Steve Birdsall, who have passed on along with others.

There are also for me the coworkers here at The Press, coming and going, very alive and very dear, but some of them not seen since the day they left.

So while we remember the casualties of 9/11, the first responders and our military service members, better yet, let us love the ones still within our grasp!

A disaster with multiple casualties, whether natural or manmade, might lurk in the background but is nearly always the exception to the rule in everyday life.

Overwhelmingly, friends and loved ones come and go one at a time through the months and years. And also overwhelmingly, we can’t guess when that last visit will be.

So, I want to be ready every time for the last time. For me, it’s OK to hug a man or woman. If it’s all right with a friend, I want to give them a peck on the cheek. I want to remember to text, email or Facebook a smile or a heart, a =D or a <3.

Just to repeat, the lesson is this: Love in the now. Love often. Don’t leave people guessing, make sure they know you love them.

Greg Farrar: 392-6434, ext. 225, or Comment at

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