- Identify the volcanoes of Washington. Eek! We have volcanoes?
- Get a clam gun. Go clamming at low tide. Dig up a goeduck and spell it correctly.
- Next. Go fishing. Catch a salmon; identify a ratfish and a dogfish. (Now I knew they were pulling my leg — I knew about salmon and catfish, but the others must be the “snipe” of the Pacific NW, and I wasn’t falling.) So I just smiled and nodded.
- Sail up the Ballard Locks in a boat from Puget Sound to Lake Union. That sounded like an adventure, and I love the water.
- Take a ferry to an island — any island; Washington has dozens. More fun. I was beginning to like this state.
- Pronounce and spell the city in Pierce County where the state fair is held. What? I never claimed to be trilingual.
- Name 24 edible berries of the Pacific Northwest. (Oh, come on, they have to be kidding). In time I would learn that Washington has berries for everyone — bears, crows, clouds, elders, goose, Indians, salmon, and even thimbles. My favorites — because I love minutiae — are: hairy manzanita (barely edible berries) and twistedstalk. The latter’s fruit is an elongated red berry ripening in mid-summer, and if berries are consumed in quantity, diarrhea can result. Good to know.
- Name and spell all the rivers in Washington that start with “S.” Only blankey-blank newspaper people would think up such a cruel task.
- I didn’t pass the test. — initially, but within a couple of years, you could slap Boeing, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Costco, Starbucks, and Amazon stickers all over me. I was a screaming Husky, Seahawks, Sonics and Mariners fan and knew “the wave.” I could identify and spell all the rivers, ports, volcanoes, islands, and towns in the state and I could tell a fir from a cedar. Of course, it helps that we newspaper folks have our cheat sheets, called “Manual of Style and Usage” also known as the “Stylebook.”