Terry Mosher 3


In 1993 a decision was made by Mary to quit her position at the University of Washington and try a new adventure. She wanted to try her hand at culinary art, so she enrolled at a school in Scottsdale, Arizona, and like Jackie Gleason would say, “Away we go.”

I took a six-month sabbatical from the Bremerton Sun and we packed up some things in August of that year in a rental van and drove off. Mary drove our car and I drove the rental van. We had no cell phones so it was a little tough to stay in touch with each other. I discovered Mary loved to race, so sometimes she would gun it and leave me no option but to race after her.

I remember the trip from Laughlin, Nevada to Kingman, Arizona very well. It was a NASCAR race through the desert. Mary passed me just outside of Laughlin and floored our Mercury. I had no choice to race after her through the 38 miles of desert.

Except, we didn’t get to race the entire distance. About two-thirds of the way we passed an Arizona state trooper going in the opposite direction.  As I passed him I could see him waving his hand to slow down. He looked like he was about to have a heart attack. We must have been going close to 100. Or at least I was. Mary was going faster.

I looked in the rearview mirror and could see the trooper hitting his brakes and sliding to the side of the road. I immediately slowed down and he must have figured out I was not driving safe and resumed his way in the opposite direction. Mary slowed just a little and it wasn’t until we stopped at our agreed stop in Kingman that I told her what had happened and warned her to take it slow.

We located in an apartment complex on the corner of Osborn and Hayden in Scottsdale, just a half-block from Scottsdale Stadium where the San Francisco Giants played their spring games and where the Arizona Fall League played most of its baseball games. Our son Toby, who lived in Tempe, scouted out the apartment complex so we were set to go as soon as we got there.

I knew it was hot in Scottsdale during the summer, but didn’t realize it could also be very hot in September. The first week of September the temperate was at least 120 degrees each day. Fortunately, the apartment complex had a good size pool and that is where we got some comfort, especially at night when the thermometer was still around 90.

The six months I was there was like living a retirement dream in some exotic place. I soon found the Blue Moon Tavern in the Scottsdale Mall, which was located in the Scottsdale Civic Center along with a huge public library, several nice restaurants, and a movie theater where for a buck you could watch movies and a big water fountain with lush green grass surrounding it where on Sunday’s a band would play.  You could lie on the grass, eat a picnic lunch and enjoy the sweet sounds of different genre of music.

Just a few blocks away was the huge Fashion Square Mall where Mary and I would often go to just stroll around and to go the big movie theater there.  Weekends when Mary was not in school we experienced different parts of the Valley of the Sun, finding great restaurants and live theater. We went several times to the Frank Lloyd Wright place way out in north Scottsdale and ventured up to Prescott, Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

Man that was the life. The only thing that bugged me a bit was late at night lying in bed and pouring in sweat despite the loud churning noise that air conditioners throughout the complex made. I can still hear them groaning away, trying to defeat the stifling heat.

Once thing we learned real fast is that there are a lot of great restaurants in the Valley. Monti’s steak house in Tempe right near Arizona State University became a must place for us at least once a week.

I used to hang out at Uncle Sal’s Italian Restaurant just down the road from our apartment. It was a great place to be, especially at happy hour when the free food was available. And the pizza was to die for.

I became such a regular customer there that I more than once was approached by the owner as he gauged my interest in buying the restaurant. It was only about 10-15 years ago while reading a Time Magazine article that I discovered the owner was a former Mafia guy who was in the Witness Protection Program after snitching on his former Mafia pals. According to the Time story, he was the target of a federal probe for drug dealing. No wonder he wanted to sell.

When my six months sabbatical was up I asked for a two week extension so I could follow the Seattle Mariners into the regular baseball season. I flew to Cleveland where the Mariners were scheduled to open the American League season at the Indians’ new stadium, Jacob Field, or the Jake as it was known by its nickname.

The first game got snowed out. It was a mixture of snow and rain, but there was no way the game could be played.  I remember standing with manager Lou Piniella in the visiting dugout watching the snow come down.

Once that series with Cleveland was over, I few back to Seattle and came back home. But I wasn’t done with Scottsdale. Every few weeks I would leave the Bremerton Sun’s office around noon on Friday and arrive at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix about five hours later. I took the ferry to downtown Seattle, walked to the bus barn near Second and Spring Street, took the bus to Sea-Tack for the two-hour and twenty two minute flight to Sky Harbor. I know it’s that flying time because one year I went with the Mariners’ RBI Club to Spring Training on a chartered plane, and on the way prizes were given away by the RBI Club by giving the correct answers to several questions.

One of them was won by guessing the correct flying time to Sky Harbor from Sea-Tac. I guessed two hours and twenty-two minutes and 30 seconds – and lost by 30 seconds. The prize? A five-day cruise to Mexico.  Boy was I ticked at myself.  Still am, because I added the 30 seconds to break any tie.

Mary’s culinary school was a one-year program, so the last six months she was there in Scottsdale and I was back to work at the Bremerton Sun.  She finished her schooling the summer of 1994 and I went down to Scottsdale, helped her pack, and we made the reverse trip back to Bremerton with rental truck, hauling our car behind it.

We had planned to open a restaurant in Kitsap somewhere, but we never did, and Mary’s culinary skills are now limited to cooking around the house. But we have no regrets. It was a fun time.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.