PORT ANGELES — This year has been a rough one for Linda Perry, but still a couple of great things happened.
First was the summer day she and her dear friend Diane Hammond went for a drive. They visited people Hammond knew in Port Orchard; these people had a little dog, a Chihuahua-terrier mix named Pandora.
Perry immediately liked the scamp, and held her in her arms for a moment before handing her back to her owners.
But they didn’t take the dog back.
“She’s yours,” they told Perry.
Hammond, knowing Perry dreamed of having a dog — particularly one small enough to be happy in her one-bedroom apartment — had found Pandora on an online pet-finding service.
Like a matchmaker, she’d made plans to surprise her friend.
Perry and Pannie have been happily together ever since.
One recent morning, it was 5 degrees below freezing when Perry took her dog for her 7:15 a.m. walk near downtown Port Angeles. They handled it; Pannie loves a walk, whatever the conditions. Perry, for her part, was grateful to return home, where she could turn on the heat.
Staying warm isn’t something she takes for granted.
Last fall, Perry had received a notice that her electricity would be turned off, since she could not afford the bill with her meager disability benefits.
She went to the Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) office in Port Angeles, where she talked with Kathryn Eacrett.
Perry soon learned she was eligible for a Peninsula Home Fund grant to keep her electricity on. OlyCAP and the Home Fund, she said, have saved her from the effects of a Port Angeles winter.
“It’s an awesome thing,” she added. At OlyCAP, “they get you in as soon as they can, and they work with the [city] utility so you don’t get disconnected.”
The snug apartment Perry, 52, shares with Pannie is a cheerful place.
Her two-person dining table wears a snowmen-hearts-and-holly tablecloth, and on display in the living room is a pair of giant Seattle Seahawks slippers.
Perry is an ardent fan of the Hawks; she’d wear those slippers if they didn’t have enormous cushioned soles.
She keeps them on the shelf because she can’t risk tripping, falling and injuring herself. Perry suffers from osteonecrosis in her wrists — a degenerative disease for which she has already undergone surgery.
Anxiety and depression also trouble Perry, who lived all over Western Washington before settling in Port Angeles. But she’s learned how to live with those ailments and enjoy her life. Perry has an attitude, Eacrett said, that shows when you have a conversation with her.
“Linda is quick to smile and see the silver lining on the clouds,” the OlyCAP staffer said.
“Each time we meet, I have left our interview feeling a bit better … It always inspires me to see her, and people like her, to be thankful for the blessings life gives me.”
So what about those Seahawks? What is it that’s made Perry such a devotee?
Their games are “just exciting. You never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is a favorite because, Perry noted, he visits children’s hospitals to spend time with ailing kids.
Perry likes to watch Hawks games at the Naval Elks Lodge in Port Angeles or at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn. She used to live in Sequim, where Hammond started out as her neighbor and then became her good friend and fellow football game viewer.
Perry and Hammond also like to go out garage-saling in the summertime; come fall and winter, Perry loves to visit the Port Angeles Library.
The prolific mystery novelist J.D. Robb —whose other pen name is Nora Roberts — is one of her go-to authors with her futuristic stories and imagined technology.
In 2020, Perry hopes to begin receiving Social Security benefits, which would make her life easier. She might even be able to save up enough money to realize her dream: going to CenturyLink Field and attending a Seahawks game.
Meantime, she’s mindful of the Home Fund help that made all the difference — and matter-of-fact on the subject.
“Without it, I would be freezing at this point,” she said.