Home > Trip > Dispatches > Local Dispatches > Local Dispatch #14

December 14th-December 20th

Wednesday—God how I hate to fly. It just totally unnerves me. This time, all went smoothly, made it through security really fast, and got there just as all were boarding the plane. The middle seat was empty—the aisle seat was occupied by a British fellow who was a mechanical engineer for an oil company. He proceeded to tell me this was his 57th flight of the year, and that his worst flight ever was the week before. He went into great detail about the plane landing in Anchorage, which was extremely rough. All this, as we watched the snow blowers clear the nearby runway. Huh, gave me something to dread, that is the return trip.

Thursday—while in Portland, I stayed with my sister Eleanor, who has a place on the Southeast side of town. And while there, I visited my mother, who lives three miles away. Had a wonderful time, the best part being visiting Eleanor’s second grade class.

It was the day before break, and the kids were pretty excited about the upcoming holiday. But it was a contained excitement. They were a fun group, and obviously used to the school routine. I assisted in making holiday cards for Francis, the class aide, and in constructing gingerbread houses, made with graham crackers. You fasten the crackers to the side of pint-sized orange juice containers with frosting. Be forewarned, should you attempt to do this – make sure you first staple the tops together, or else the roofs will not stick.

Eleanor moved from one activity to the next in a seemingly effortless fashion. One minute she was reading them a story, and the next, taking them to an assembly. It made my head spin.

I also got to thinking that those who teach at the college level should spend a day in an elementary school classroom. It was at least an eye opener for me – the amount of energy that one must expend in order to assist children in learning what they have to learn. In this particular instance, all of El’s hard work seemed to be paying off. It was obvious to me that the kids really love her, and have a great deal of respect for her. I could of course see why.

Friday—spent a better part of the day with my mother, who lives three miles from Eleanor, in an apartment complex called Tabor Court. She lives with her cat, Gray Baby, who is semi-feral. My mother, 83, has access to the Tri-Met Bus lines, and this is how she gets around. I accompanied her to the senior center, the dollar store, and the library. We ate lunch at a sliding fee scale restaurant, where the profits go the poor. In the late afternoon, we watched library videos, one about Tammy Faye Bakker, and another about Amelia Earhart.

In the evening we ate dinner at an upscale restaurant called Salty’s, on the Columbia River, and watched the lit boats go by. My mother was disappointed because she wanted to see more boats. She did get some good photos though.

Saturday—El, Ma, and I went and got Mother a Christmas tree, and then decorated it. I thought this would be a two day project, but we did it in a day’s time. We decorated the tree with old family ornaments. Doing this brought back a lot of memories.

Sunday—I went with Eleanor and met her friends Kate and Casey. Kate’s a retired elementary school teacher. Casey edits a publication called Bear Deluxe, a literary magazine. We went out for Thai food. As later, we ate cookies, there was considerable discussion about holiday fare, meaning cookies that get passed on from one household to the next. I have to admit, there is something to this.

Monday—A big day in my life. El and Ma and I met up with their friend Bob, who assisted me in selecting and setting up an I-Pad. Bob’s a technological genius and knows a great deal about such things, which is why I let him lead the way. El recently got an Apple computer, and so we’d been spending a lot of time watching U-tube videos. I recommend checking out the Muppets. Manamah.

Tuesday—I realized early on that I’d made a mistake in spending just a week in Portland. I was having such a good time, I did not want to come home. Kinda nice, for a bit, not having to tend to animals or load up the woodstove. El and I sat around for a bit, and then went and purchased I-Pad accessories.

After, we took the Max train to the airport. Hard, saying good-bye to her.

The plane flight home was bumpy. I tried hard to not think about the British dude, who had told me about the rough Anchorage landing. The landing was smooth in comparison to the rest of the flight.

I realized that Amelia Earhart, I am not, nor will I ever be.

Next: 15. 12/21/11, 2011: Solstice