Happy Thanksgiving, everybody I Editor's Note

By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 22, 2017

Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general is usually pretty bittersweet for me.

I’m a child of divorced parents, and I have divorced grandparents as well, so the holiday season usually involves a lot of travel and stress.

It’s hard to see everyone for extended periods of time on days like Thanksgiving because I have other obligations with other members of my family.

So to those who have dealt with similar issues in the past, I totally understand what you’ve gone through.

That being said, I love seeing all my family members, even if it is for a short period of time. This will be the first year that the question I hear won’t be, “How’s school going?” and will instead be, “How’s the new job?”

On a much different note, there are a few people that I would like for the citizens of Mukilteo to keep in mind during these holidays.

As a Kamiak graduate, I knew the three people who were shot and killed in the summer of 2016.

Although I did not know Jordan Ebner and Anna Bui that well, I can honestly say that I never heard one bad thing about either of them. To their family members who will be having their second holiday season without them, I want you to know I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

To the family of Jake Long, I want you to know that him being gone still hurts me deeply. To those of you who don’t know, Jake was an awesome baseball player.

He was a sophomore when I was a senior, and he was the only sophomore to make varsity that year.

Our team was really close and he was sort of an outsider going into the season, but that changed really quickly.

Jake was a huge part of our success that season, hitting a home run in a rivalry game versus Jackson to give us the lead and really just meshing with a group of guys who were all best friends.

If you were an outsider looking in, you would never know that we didn’t get to know him until the spring of that year. That kid was hilarious.

Another family to keep in mind this holiday season is the Nickersons.

Frank Nickerson was my English teacher at Kamiak during my junior year and was also a baseball coach.

I had the privilege of coaching alongside him during his last year and during his son Dominic’s senior year. That was a really special thing to be a part of.

I always admired Frank because he was intense, but also had this calming nature to him and always wanted what was best for his students and players.

He battled cancer a few times during his life, and I remember him telling me that he had two goals before he passed away.

He wanted to coach Dominic’s senior year, and he also wanted to see him graduate from Kamiak.

Frank battled and got to accomplish both of those goals before ultimately passing away July 7, 2016.

I remember going to the memorial service that took place at Rosehill a few weeks after he died and having to park a few blocks away due to the amount of cars that were there. Let me tell you, that place was absolutely packed.

After his family members shared their memories of Frank, there was a sort of mingling period where you walked around and talked to people and I remember thinking to myself that I was doing a good job of keeping my composure.

I met up with a few parents of friends of mine, Angela Bettencourt and Susie and Bob Crosby along with two of my friends from high school, Niko Umpleby and Matt Leal.

Bob kept the scorebook for Kamiak baseball and was recalling how well Frank treated him and then he turned to me and said, “You know, he cared about all his kids, but he always told me that you meant a lot to him, Brandon.”
And all that composure went out the window in a heartbeat.

So, to the Bui, Ebner, Long and Nickerson families, happy Thanksgiving.

I hope that you enjoy the holiday season and just know that they are all still in my thoughts and prayers.

And to all the citizens of Mukilteo, my family, friends and my new coworkers here at the Beacon, happy Thanksgiving!

I’m very thankful for what 2017 has brought me and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for all of us.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Nov 22, 2017 13:17

Happy Thanksgiving Brandon.  Thankful you're striving to fill Sara's BIG shoes.



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