Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Old Knucklehead!
Look at that hand...as big as a catcher's mitt. It wasn't until he was almost 90 years old that he couldn't crush my hand in a regular handshake. I was thinking about Captain Lynn Campbell today because he recently turned 99 years old. He lives about 30 minutes from me and is still going strong. He's been slowing a bit in recent years but still can tell an old salt tale like no other.
I first met him in 1975 when I was the little kid working at the aquarium on Pier 56 arranging fish tanks and feeding whales, dolphins and seals at the age of 16. He owned Seattle Harbor Tours next door and would pop in to the aquarium from time to time. He was vibrant, charismatic, and looked like some famous Hollywood actor would someday be portraying him in a movie. He was 65 when I first met him. That's unbelievable to me. I didn't even get to know him until a few years later when I became his sidewalk barker in 1978. Sorry...but I feel compelled to share a photo.
Yeah, that was me in 1980 actually, doing my barking routine. I'd convince people to go on the harbor tours during the day and then bartend on the party cruises at night; it doesn't get much more fun than that for a 21 year old.
Captain Campbell has been a famous person in my life, worthy of much more than a random blog post. But today, a blustery day in November, a day that, well, when back in the day I'd be running around on one of his boats in late fall, setting up, cruising around the harbor with nary a passenger to be found, I was thinking about Captain Campbell and remembering his smile, his quick wit, and those crushing handshakes.