REVISITING THE PARK | What are the odds?

REVISITING THE PARK | What are the odds?

REVISITING THE PARK | What are the odds?

A group of us 18-year-old guys from Madison Park met some young ladies from the Eastside. We planned a picnic at Pine Lake, just east of Lake Sammamish. It was a sunny Saturday morning that we caravanned to Kirkland to meet up with our Eastside friends.

We drove east to Issaquah, where we took a turn north onto a dirt road. Small handmade signs directed us to the lake.

We maneuvered over chuckholes down another dirt road to the entrance and found a guy sitting reading a paperback, who collected $1.75 per carload. Snaking around the dirt road, we drove to the water’s edge, to find a cook stove, table, benches and even kindling and firewood.

Pine Lake was small and had very few houses. There were rowboats and cabins available, and you could even rent a bathing suit. There was a gazebo, with live music on weekends in the evenings. A long dock and a raft with a high-dive was part of the scene.

We spent the day swimming, and as the sun set, we ate hot dogs, beans, salad and drank beer. Later, we danced to Elvis Presley playing on our radios.

Moonlight created a special mood, but suddenly, bright lights were everywhere!

“Turn that music down! It’s the police!”

We were rounded up under the guise of noisemakers, rowdy kids and the proverbial drinking-under-age. The word “jail” was mentioned after asking for IDs, names and addresses. When one big, blue meany asked my name, I answered and even added my friend’s name.

“Shut up! I’ll ask her!” he said.

She gave him her name and said she was from the Houghton area in Kirkland. He huddled with the other officers, and then yelled, “Keep the noise down! No more drinking!” and left.

We danced to a quieter beat, and later on, the girls from Eastside laughed about the evening’s events. It seems my friend was the daughter of the chief of police in Kirkland. This was a happy ending, indeed!

When you least expect it

One night, after partying late at The Attic, we left around 11:30 p.m. to hit the 605 downtown, The Black and Tan Club, the China Pheasant and, finally, Birdland at 23rd Avenue and Madison Street on the way home. There were stops in between, including a tavern on First Avenue. Taverns were open around 6 a.m. — a must for the 10-cent beer crowd.

Anyway, I guess we were a little loud at this particular tavern. The last I recall, I had a beer in my hand, and out of the blue, there were police.

“Put your beer down! Hands up! Against the wall!”

There stood a cop so big, he blocked out the morning sun. He knocked a cigarette from my friend’s mouth with his Billy club without touching skin. After a stern lecture, we were sent on our way. My friend remarked that the nightstick ruined his happy morning buzz.

Years later, I was having a cocktail with a friend who was a dancer at the Roaring 20’s on First and Pike. The dancers were known for sliding down a brass pole from the floor above and forming a chorus line.

An amazingly large bouncer asked if I was bothering the woman, and she informed him that we were just friends. Then it dawned on me: I knew this voice. He was the cop with the nightstick, Sam, the tallest policeman on the force. We invited him to join us.

Sam, once a motorcycle patrolman, would stand one block north of Madison Street and Boren Avenue and wave cars over that had run the red light on Madison. He made the front page of the paper with this antic.

Incidentally, the guy he knocked the cigarette from later became the sheriff of Lynnwood. He liked to relate his meeting with Sam. 

Sick day

Not that I was looking for trouble, but when I worked as a draftsman, two co-workers and I enjoyed multiple-martini lunches, as was the fad in those days, or we would meet after work for cocktails.

One late evening, I had just fallen asleep at home. A phone call from the company receptionist explained one of the members of my trio was seeking shelter from his night of over-imbibing. After she explained that she didn’t want to answer the door in his condition, I told her he would just sleep it off in his car.

At work the next morning, the phone rang. It was the third member of our trio calling from jail, laughing and saying, “I am calling in sick!” He had gotten a DWI on his way home to Lynnwood and would be released in two days. He added, “Here’s someone who wants to say hello!”

The second member of our trio was also calling in sick from the same jail cell. “I couldn’t find a safe harbor and was picked up on my way home to Stanwood,” he said.

DWI’s were new and lesser charges were obtainable. Let’s see where marijuana takes us.

RICHARD CARL LEHMAN is a longtime Madison Park resident. To comment on this column, write to