Archive for September, 2010

   I kept waiting to get all the facts surrounding the Scott Creach incident before I made a decision on what to make of it all but the facts keep trickling in and they do not add up. So we wait around for a week to find out which officer shot Scott and then we wait a while longer to find out he was vacationing in Montana and then Las Vegas and did not have time to set the record straight for the family and the entire community before he took off his long-planned vacation.
I do not see how  the officer could have one relaxing moment on his vacation knowing that he just shot a pillar of the community that he works for and that there is tempest brewing in that community over the fact that everyone is getting very impatient to hear your side of the story. Honestly, as I mull all of this over, I can see where the officer is suffering and surely wishes he had parked somewhere else that night. I can see where going to visit his mother in Montana might have been therapeutic after such a traumatic episode. But I wonder what he was thinking to be able to jet off to Vegas and come back to give his long-awaited side of the story.
And then we finally get his side of the story and it makes little sense. He is saying that he repeatedly told Scott to drop his weapon and that Scott came up to his police car and belligerently refused to drop his weapon. I am sorry but Scott Creach was not an idiot and I don’t think that anyone believes that he decided to commit “suicide-by-cop”  that evening. But as more and more trickled out, it seems as though Scott did set himself up to be gunned down though he could not imagine  that he would ever be fired upon.

   Scott’s actions were incomprehensible to me that fateful night. When a cop says “drop your weapon” that is just what you do. I have read it all and followed this whole thing from the beginning and I am sad to say that Scott Creach behaved in such a way that he put his life on the line and he lost the most precious thing we all have for no good reason. Sure the cop should not have escalated the episode by striking him with the baton but he is a cop and he acted like you better fear  a cop might act. Scott behaved strong-headed in a situation where he should have been as meek as a lamb to preserve his own existence. He should have put his gun on the ground and simply explained who he was with his hands raised in the air.

  I feel so badly for the family but if that were my dad, I would be pissed off that he did not react to the situation in such a way that he would still be amongst us instead of being buried in Oklahoma. Blame the cops all you want, but cops are cops and we have to understand that they are out there doing their job and they make mistakes at theirs just like we make mistakes on our jobs. But sometimes when they blow it, good citizens can wind up dead.

(This something I wrote a few years ago to set the record straight. It has been buried with no link on my website ever since.)

Many times I have been presented with incorrect theories as to why we left the Rock Inn from people who seemed to not realize they were talking to the one and only authority on the subject. Perhaps, even my wife ,Elaine, does not  know exactly why I decided it was time to move on.. It was my call and this is why I made it.

The biggest misconception was that our landlord, Jack Riley, raised the rent so high that we could no longer afford to stay there. While it is true that he wanted $1,000 more a month than I wanted to pay, we could have afforded it.

We had an option in our original 3-year lease, to sign up at $5000 for another 3 years,and then $6,500 for the next three years after that. After seeing the realities of the business I determined that original agreement was more than I wanted to pay. So rather than signing up for the second 3 year term, I went month-to-month and tried to get Jack to renegotiate. After 8 months,  he finally said pay $5500 and sign a three year lease or get out in 10 days and that was his perogative. He could not understand why I would opt to leave rather than pay his price. The truth is I had a lot of reasons that had nothing to do with his price.

The biggest one was as simple as wanting to do better at the most important role in our lives. We have 4 kids who never saw us. When we got into the Rock our oldest was 13 and our baby was only 7. During the 4 years there, we did not have more than maybe 10 family dinners and not once were we home for a Friday or Saturday night. The only time I spent  with my children is when they worked down at the Rock. When deciding whether to sign another 3 year lease or not, that was the biggest factor … by far.

Another huge factor was the industry itself. I could see a big difference in the ring-outs on a weekend night from when we started to when we ended. In the beginning people simply drank more. As time wore on and the cops became more and more determined to

inforce the dui law, it truly affected our bottom line. That was a trend I did not see going away.

In connection with this there was the moral dilemma of being in a business that profited from putting our customers at risk. The more they drank the more money we made which put them at more risk of getting a dui which no one can afford. The regulars were our friends and we did not want to see them suffer and we did what we could to look after them, but often they were their own worst enemy and we were there to help them be just that. That was something we never got used to.

Another deciding factor was simply quality of life. While I did not mind working almost 80 hours a week to make the place succeed, I also realized that is the way workaholics are and that it was not healthy. Especially when the place you work is a bar and part of your job is having a good time with the customers.

Many people think that we simply failed in business and that no one could make it at that location. The Plantation locale at Sprague and Vista has seen a lot of failure in the past 20 years. One business neighbor believed the current occupant, Club Max, is number 16.

Ripley’s, which came right after us, was open about 6 months. Since Rose Townsend passed away in 1986, no one that  I  know of has made it as long as two years. We set the record at 3 years, 8 months and we left not because we failed, or that Jack raised the rent

too high. That location is tough because of the age and size of the building. But we proved it can go if you are willing to dedicate your life to it. But there in lies the rub: after nearly four years I was no longer willing to dedicate my life, my wife’s life and our family’s life to making the Rock Inn succeed.

We were well on our way to getting established and were making money when we closed, but I had come to the conclusion that the high price for success at that location was more than a father of four should pay. I look at it that Jack did me a favor by wanting more than I was willing to pay. It cost us a lot financially and emotionally to walk away but it was a decision I have never second guessed.

   Like the whole Valley and especially those who knew and loved him, I was shocked to hear that Scott Creach had been gunned down outside his home. While I only knew him from a distance, it was actually a short distance and started back in 1965 when he brought his young family to Spokane from Oklahoma and joined our church, Pines Baptist at 8th and Pines. I was 7 years old and he would have only been 29.

   While 29 seems so young to me now,  at 7 he was a full-grown man with 3 kids close to my age. There was Serena who was a little older and Edith who was my age and Alan who seemed like a little kid compared to me. It turned out he was only two years younger and really we were both little kids and now we’re both middle-aged men much older than our parents were then.

   I almost felt sorry for the Creach kids because Scott seemed so stern. Alan was a mischievous little fellow and would often have his high spirit and big smile abruptly curtailed by his father’s intense scowl and strong fingers tightly compressing one of his ears. Back then I found myself in a similar situation with, what I felt, was an even sterner dad, and so instead of feeling sorry for Alan, I took comfort in knowing that my misery had good company.

   The Creach’s left Pines in 1971, and so I lost that weekly contact I had with the kids in Sunday School and seeing the family sit in the same spot  during service 2 or 3 rows back next to the far right aisle. But Scott’s hands did far more than keep Alan in line, and I would see him for one reason or another over the years. I remember working with my dad putting in the foundation on one of Scott’s first greenhouses. Scott was there with his sleeves rolled up doing labor work while serving as his own general contractor.

    Elaine’s parents went to his church and so we went there once and I watched him baptize my nephew after listening to his sermon. Beyond the occasional seeing him in the flesh or hearing his named mentioned in conversation, Scott kept popping back in my head with his radio spots on gardening. I always smiled because I knew the guy and I knew that each one summed him up so well. He was always dead serious in his lesson and you knew he knew very well what he was talking about as he spoke with an even pace in his Southern accent. Then at the end he would usually banter with the host for a few minutes and you were able to pick up his sense of humor and that he was comfortable with himself.

    Though I would only catch his spot by chance, I heard him dozens of times through the years. I greatly admired his marketing savvy with the use of the radio and figured it had something to do with the constant addition of more and more greenhouses at his place on 4th. But the thing that struck me most was how consistent he was through the years. The man was a lesson in staying the course and I will always appreciate people like him and my own parents who live honest hard-working lives and do what they can to make this a better world. Though I would never have guessed it at 7 years old, Alan was pretty lucky to have the dad he had.