Opinion

Verbatim: Tracy Blume

Tracy Blume and grandson Killian - Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash
Tracy Blume and grandson Killian
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

After four years away from the event she co-founded, Tracy Blume Thompson returns to Jazz in the Alley during Sequim Lavender Weekend.

She’ll sing jazz standards from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at the BrokersGroup parking lot, 219 W. Washington St., with her old band Jazz in Blume. That includes Gert Wiitala on piano, Ted Enderle on bass and Tom Svornich on drums. At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17, she’ll perform with another musician friend, Jim Rosand, at Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse in Port Angeles.

Blume returns to Sequim for a week with her 8-year-old grandson Killian from Cody, Wyo. (above), after moving to the East Coast in 2009 to help care for her parents.

She founded Jazz in the Alley with the late Jean Haught, owner of Dungeness Bay Wine and Cheese, to promote more foot traffic downtown during the Lavender Festival.

The event blossomed to as many as six venues in 2009 before going to one at BrokersGroup in recent years, with Neil Culbertson, managing broker for the real estate company, organizing the event.

Blume Thompson is remarried and lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she’s just beginning to get back into music. She remains friends with her ex-husband Roger Blume, who still lives in Sequim. He tells the story of how they ended up in Sequim, which leads into Tracy’s stories as a chicken farmer.

Roger Blume

Back in the 1970s, my uncle had a factory in Chicago and he was getting ready to sell it and retire. He was looking for the cleanest air in United States because his wife had a lung condition. Her doctor suggested she move out of Chicago because she had another four or five years to live. So he did some heavy research, actually traveled the country and found Sequim had the cleanest air in the United States.

He came out here and bought a farm in Happy Valley and she lived another 15 years. He was so excited about the weather out here, he talked my parents into coming out. They’ve been here since 1973.

My mom is 99 and she’s still with us (Dorothy Blume). After they retired from General Electric, they homesteaded out here. Happy Valley had three homes on it at the time. Now of course it’s full of homes.

As I visited out here I saw how great the weather was and I retired from the airlines. Tracy and I bought my mom’s place, fixed it up and enjoyed Sequim ever since.

Tracy Blume Thompson

I turned into the chicken lady. (Dorothy) had a few chickens and I got a whole bunch more. I had them all named and knew what eggs they could lay. One chicken in particular, Rooster Cogburn, I gave physical therapy.

I heard him crow one morning and the poor little guy was on the floor of the chicken coop and he couldn’t walk. I couldn’t see any physical means of injury, so I thought I’d wash him up and see if there were any breaks or cuts. I had to blow dry him, too. It was a Sunday, too, so I took him to the vet on Monday and had him X-rayed and the blood work drawn up. I spent $400 at the vet.

You’ve never seen anything as funny as when your vet pops up an X-ray of your chicken. It looks like something you’d see in the grocery store or a bad Foster Farms commercial.

It turns out I spent all that money and found out he was the healthiest chicken. He just couldn’t walk and they anticipated he wasn’t going to last. So I’m like, this is a really fabulous little golden feather footed banty rooster who is just so lovely. I hydrated him with an eye dropper and gave him physical therapy. I did little leg exercises and had a sling where I spent hours in the chicken yard trying to raise him up. Then I’d put hum in a cat crate at night. I wanted him to interact with the other chickens, but I didn’t want them to attack him because if they sense weakness they attack.

He ended up walking again but anytime he crowed he fell over backwards. He lived 18 months after that episode.

But Rooster Cogburn wasn’t Blume’s only famous chicken.

I had two banty roosters. Black Bart was a chicken Jim Rosand gave us. This little banty rooster had been wandering all over Port Angeles. He seemed really sweet and nice and loved the music on Jim’s piano. But Jim felt he needed a home. So Black Bart came out to our farm. The minute that little bugger got into the chicken yard and remembered what his roots were he became the demon rooster. That rooster would attack me any opportunity he got.

Rooster Cogburn was always my protector and kept Black Bart away from me but after Rooster Cogburn died, it was open season on Tracy. I came into the house bloodied on several occasions. He would zero in on me from tree branches or from the top of the hen house. You never knew where he was coming from.

I started wearing a hat and sunglasses out there and tried to watch where he was and avoid him at all costs.

 

Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at editor@sequimgazette.com.


 

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