A Long Way from Dome
Hans Blomgren and I were stuck in traffic on our way to see the historic King-dome implosion. Angry trucks loomed in our rearview as Hans searched for a short cut to San Jose Park, our prospective vantage point. It was 7:55 a.m. and the Dome was scheduled to blow at 8:30. "I don’t really care if we make it," I said to ease Hans’ tension. I was already thinking about how I would begin the story entitled "How the Kingdome Blew Without Us."
But we made it.
"Geos can park in a closet, you know," Hans said as he backed up his little red Geo into a vacant parking space (if you can call it that) on Beacon Hill. We were almost there—only a quick hike up a hill and a path across the playground could stop us from seeing that gray Dome go boom. I read the opening lines of George Bowering’s "Kingdome 1974" poem—wasn’t the Kingdome built in ’76? That was the beginning, this is the end. We—Steph, Steph, Kendall, Rex, Dawn, and Erik—made it to the park with time to spare.
Hans had the doughnuts, Rex had the coffee, and then I see that the "3d.com" guys from Quebec had three parking spots on the hill. They were passing out 3-D glasses and business cards, too. Boys in Mohawks muttered something about the "damn yuppies" and barged through the web people’s yellow security tape, only to run into more rows of people blocking their 300-level view. A man and woman attempted to sell dust masks with little feathers on them for two bucks—reminiscent of the (now) late Kingdome prices. We made our own little island amid the pacing crowd and ate sprinkled doughnuts and drank black coffee.
At that point I realized that I probably wouldn’t see the implosion. I could not see the Dome from these "bleacher seats," even when standing on Rex’s guitar case. I used to sneak down to the 100-level seats behind home plate in the late innings of a Mariner loss, but the nose bleeder section would have to do today. I walked across the street, farther from the occupied premier vantage point, to a black fence and hill where more people stood gazing—"Another Roadside Attraction." Taking advice from friends Dawn and Eric, I stood on the bottom rail of the fence, wrapped my leg around the bike chained to the fence, and held tight to the top of the fence with my right elbow. I was comfortable, and I could see the top third of the Dome when this blond kid on his dad’s shoulders moved to the left six inches or so.
"Five-Four-Three-Two-One," the numbers chanted. But the Dome didn’t go, just yet. Then it did. The gray dust exploded from the gaps of the old home of the Seattle Mariners like the fireworks after an Alvin Davis Donger. The roof went down fast, I saw that much, and I’m fairly certain the rest followed at a Vince Coleman base-stealing pace.
"I felt a bit of nostalgia when it fell," Hans said. "No more Dome Dogs."
"That was stupid," a young kid with a Yankee hat retorted.
The ashes settled over downtown like the familiar fog. The remnants blew north, sprinkling over the skyscrapers, engulfing the Georgia Tower, and scattering the Dome’s fragments on the Experience Music Project. The shattered bones of the old Dome remained, lonely, to be recycled again sometime—like a pile of Buhner’s broken bats.
"Break out the rye bread, Grandma, it’s Grand Salami time!" the voice of Dave Niehaus filling our car with memories as we drove back to the ferry listening to his Highlight CD. I looked past the gray Dome Dust and gazed at the blue sky on the horizon. I wondered if Moyer would start Opening Day at our new Safeco Field?