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Sound Focus

Surviving Christmas in the Northwest and Local Songs for the Holidays

Megan Sukys

In 1918, a landslide on Christmas Eve wiped out an entire town near North Bend – but it didn't destroy the spirits of those who lived there. Today, we hear about three historic Northwest holidays when perseverance triumphed over inclement conditions.

At 2:00 p.m. – A Northwest Pilgrim

The Pacific Northwest is a destination for people who like challenging outdoor terrain. But Rebecca Andrews wanted something harder to mark being cancer–free for 5 years. So she went to the base of the Pyrenees Mountains in France. There she began the Camino de Santiago, a 450–plus mile pilgrimage trail that ends in Spain and takes more than a month to complete. She didnít make the full pilgrimage the first time, but this year, she went back to finish what she started––and she brought her 17 year old daughter. It was harder than she could have imagined. In this archived conversation from June 16, 2008, Rebecca tells Jeannie Yandel the story.

At 2:20 p.m. – Surviving a Northwest Christmas

Massive snowfall turns the Northwest into a winter wonderland. But, it also wreaks havoc on holiday travel plans. When it comes to terrible holiday weather, the Northwest has a long history. This year is no exception. Alan Stein is a historian for History Link, an online encyclopedia of Washington State history. Alan recalls three other holidays when Northwesterners managed to find the spirit of the season – despite terrible weather. One near–disaster happened 90 years ago today.

At 2:40 p.m. – Steve Lawson: Christmas in the Northwest

One of the most familiar Pacific Northwest Christmas anthems had its roots in a family crisis that unfolded in the early 1980's. "Christmas in the Northwest" was a tune written as a thank you for the life saving care that Seattle audio producer and entrepreneur Steve Lawson's daughter received at Children's Hospital. "Christmas in the Northwest" albums have been issued regularly since 1985 and feature northwest artists like Ann and Nancy Wilson, Steve Miller, Dave Matthews, and David Lanz. Steve Lawson shares some of the music and stories behind the Christmas in the Northwest tradition

At 2:50 p.m. – Stepping Back from the Edge

A huge home in Bremerton, three cars, two hot tubs Ė these are the possessions of a rich man. In 2000, local author Richard LeMieux had all this and more. Then, his business failed. He lost everything of value, including his marriage. A year later, he was alone, desperate, depressed and sleeping in his car. Today, Richard LeMieux shares how he went from nearly jumping off the Tacoma Narrows bridge to sharing his story in inspirational lectures around the country. Richard LeMieux speaks with Jeremy Richards.

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