Monday, June 16, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Jean Godden / Times staff columnist

Lees' grave tender and tour guide

I was quite late getting to an interview with Stef Cardona the other day. Not able to reach him, I went anyway on the off chance he was still at the appointed spot: the graves of Bruce Lee, the famed martial-arts star, and his son, movie star Brandon Lee, at Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill.

To my surprise, Cardona was still there and unperturbed. While waiting, the lanky Tennessee native had a rare chance meeting with Fook Yueng, a teacher and friend of Bruce Lee's.

I'd wanted to meet Cardona, an office worker, since he contacted me about the Bruce Lee Collectors Exhibit, which opens June 26 in the Chinatown International District. For the past 3½ years, Cardona has served as volunteer caretaker for the Lee graves, a popular tourist site.

He says, "I come here at least once a week. I sweep the area, clean the lettering, pick up cigarette butts and litter. I bring a bucket to fill with water and clean the headstones."

Cardona doubles as an unofficial tour guide. When people ask, he explains that a nearby tombstone marks the graves of Brandon Lee's maternal grandmother, Vivian R. Hester Emery Dickinson, and her husband, William H. Dickinson.

Cardona became interested in "Mr. Bruce" during service on a Navy submarine. Cardona's job running the movie system introduced him to the Bruce Lee films.

While we talked, several groups stopped to view the Lee graves, and Cardona was pressed into service as a photographer. For Cardona, it's all part of the Lee mystique. He says, "It's good therapy."

Carless in Seattle: When people think "wedding car," they typically think of renting a vintage Rolls-Royce or even a horse and carriage. But not Israel Evans and Naomi Rue. The Seattle couple, instead, chose a car from Flexcar's fleet of hybrid vehicles.

Rue signed onto the Flexcar car-sharing program right after its launch. She says, "We picked a white Honda hybrid because it matched our values. We used it to transport gifts to the Shumway Mansion, where the wedding and reception were held, and to pick people up at the airport."

One drawback: Family members all wanted to play with the car.

Making his Mark: The voice you hear when you tune to KIRO Radio tomorrow won't be Dave Ross, who is filling in for CBS commentator Charles Osgood. It will belong to attorney Mark Sidran, who lost to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

Sidran says he'll try to sound halfway between NPR's Jim Lehrer and talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

Cleaning house: Sixty moves in 15 years have allowed Seattle Mariner Jamie Moyer's family to accumulate extra stuff, including three dining sets, 30 outdoor-patio chairs, seven patio tables, 10 barstools, six rugs and 25 birdhouses.

What to do with that excess? Have a garage sale, of course. The Moyers have rented a warehouse and sent out invitations. The sale is this weekend, but it's a private affair. Besides, there isn't much left to buy.

Spokeswoman Lesa Anderson confesses: "Those of us who are helping have bought lots. I picked up a retro 1950 martini lamp."

Jean Godden: 206-464-8300.

Copyright © 2003 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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