“A Hurried Journal”
|Kay pushes tree over near Mt. Hood|
|At the 75% eclipse point|
We participated in three stellar events while here. Remember the total eclipse of the sun? We would’ve had to drive 160 miles into Oregon to get the full 100 percent eclipse. Traffic jams in Oregon kept us from doing that, so we stayed at home and witnessed a 97 percent eclipse.
I don’t know how much of my sister Sue’s family showed up for the spectacle, but it was a bunch. At the last minute, we decided to welcome the eclipse by finding stuff to eat. You get family together for over ten minutes and they're going to want something to eat. All we had among us were three loaves, two cans of tuna and a block of cheese. We ended up with a bunch of sandwiches. Magically, chips and cookies appeared. I'm still not sure where the pie and cake came from. The meal turned out to be more of a religious experience than the eclipse.
One August night we sat out on the driveway to witness a meteor shower. You can see the Leonid shower tonight if you wish. I haven’t been out to see it, because the one we witnessed back in August was such a bomb. We were supposed to see from 20 to 30 meteors an hour. We saw ONE. At least three of us did.
We might’ve missed a few, because of all the talking and laughing. It was then that my niece Rhonda diagnosed an ailment of mine. She said I have laughter-induced asthma. I’ve had a lot to laugh about up here, and each time I get a really good one going I start coughing. I’m pretty sure it only happens in Washington.
The time we had the most fun was when we were looking for the Northern Lights. The newspapers made a big deal out of it. The Lights were going to be visible as far south as Washington. Curt drove us out to the top of this barren hill, where we pulled out our lawn chairs and sat right there in the road. There are a lot of roads out here that you sit on without anyone driving by for hours.
Turned out, we saw more meteors looking for the Northern Lights than we did during the real meteor shower. The Northern lights drew much attention from its absence. This was in mid-July, and it was as cold as, uh, someplace where it's really cold. (Everything else I knew had testicles, boobs or butts in it.) Cold nights and hot days. We sat out there shivering for two hours. At one point we started singing every song that Rhonda knows. That girl knows ‘em all... oldies, newzies, crazies...
I did some serious laughing that night. And, I provided laughs for everyone else when I tried to explain my vast knowledge of astronomy and quantum physics. After singing “Bessie the Heifer, Queen of all the Cows” people are less receptive to anything resembling enlightenment. Have you noticed that?
However, my mind has been broadened as a result of our stay. I’ve never considered reincarnation as anything on which to hang one’s faith. Yet, I’m beginning to toy with the notion that Kay was once a Peruvian goat-herder. The four goats in the pen over yonder have really taken to Kay. Anytime she steps out the backdoor it’s like Elvis has entered the building. I just hate to hear goat-yells.
You may remember that at one time we all took a course on how to make an apple pie from scratch. I learned enough to know that life is too short to spend making a pie that isn’t close to being as good as Marie Callendar’s.
I also got to watch it snow. Twice. A couple of Curt and Rhonda’s grandkids and one of the neighbor’s boys came outside to enjoy it with me. They were almost as excited as I was. Curt had prepared the “sled hill” for action, but it didn’t snow long enough to accumulate. It was the biggest snowfall I’ve witnessed in the past 43 years.
I knew I wouldn’t have the time nor space to cover all the fun moments we recollected at the kitchen table. I’ll probably visit a few events over the course of the next year or two. After all, I’ve got a one page journal here that should add credibility to my stories.
I strive for truth in story-telling. That being said, I did not actually participate in the singing of that stupid cow song. That was just one strep over the line. -- Next time, I’ll write one of those “On the Road” articles. It’ll be somewhere between here and home. “Home.” I like the sound of that.