4 August 2002
Dreams and dreams last night, that fade as I try to remember them. Mostly the usual nightmare themes - things not being what they seem, going someplace I think I'm welcome and not being welcomed after all. Dreams about a high school friend living in a large high-tech house with a strange entrance you had to jump through, people assembling to watch movies, standing outside a mall with her trying to catch a bus that refused to stop... it reminded me of a recent movie night I attended crossed with - something else. Not that that's a particularly useful description.
There's a woman across the room with a Tazo portable plunger glass/pot thing that I'll have to investigate when I get back to - gasp - civilization. Ok, civilization as regards to coffee consumption. But you'll notice I'm not spending a lot of time hunting for tofu this trip.
[later] My cousin Jeanette, at 84, has had quite the life. She's amazingly cheerful, considering. She grew up with my mom - spent a fair bit of time babysitting mom & her brother Dan when they were small. Writing was a hobby of hers as well - she's full of stories. It must be in the blood, Grandma Hoggan wrote too. Jeanette has had children die, her husband die, father(s) die - her mother (my great-Aunt Edith) was married four times, and buried all four husbands. Her children that are left seem to have fairly problematic lives as well - but none of it seems to faze her at all. She lives on a small farm just outside of Idaho Falls, in a medium sized house that until last year was heated by a coal furnace (she has a propane heater now, thankfully - she's a bit frail to be down in the cellar shoveling coal!) and a woodstove in the living room. One of her daughters lives nearby, and she's got an aged german shepherd dog who keeps her some company. Her other two daughters aren't just down the road, but they're in the general area (ok, one's in Boise) - it's that clan thing, sort of, they're all married (and some remarried/divorced) with children... it's a different life - a whole different kind of life. The house looks pretty nice - she has a new metal roof and it's been painted since the last time mom & I visited (after Aunt Pearl's funeral). Jeanette is an example of what I mean when I say the distaff side of my heritage is sturdy and tenacious. She's always interesting and pleasant to visit, as well - I only hope I'm as cogent when I'm her age. She regailed us with how she and her husband Lloyd met, the whirlwind courtship and marriage... they had meant to have a substantial engagement, but ended up getting married after only two or three weeks, partly to save on rent money! since at the time they were both paying for their own place. She said they didn't have a honeymoon - they got married on Tuesday (I think) then got up and went to work the next morning. She didn't recommend that as a course of action, however; said your coworkers tend to tease you entirely too much. The first place they lived together Lloyd rented while she was at work, then called and gave her directions how to find her way home. He told her quite firmly and specifically not to sit in the windows - to just stay away from them for the most part, as much as she could. Turns out the apartment building was between two whorehouses, and so sitting in the window might have been ...misinterpreted. They moved from that place after two weeks or so, though. Just an amazing woman.
5 August 2002
So we didn't actually attend the reunion proper. Mom seems ok with that - it was kind of her idea. We had a good visit with Jeanette, which was what she really wanted to do - and that's plenty reunion for me.
Crossed over the 45th parallel just now, according to the highway sign. Halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Somewhere in the middle of the Blue Mountains, I think, on I-84 just outside of Baker, OR.
Apparently it is traditional in rural Oregon eateries of a non-chain nature to provide the patrons with home-grown reading material at their tables. Last night at the Sumpter Junction restaurant there were table-tents with excerpts as well as an actual restaurant copy of a book of tall tales penned by a gentleman whose 12-book series of western anecdotes was on sale at the cash register. Now, further down the road a piece at the Farm House Family Restaurant, the tables are supplied with copies of yet another gentleman's various tomes - "How to Make People Think You're Normal", "The Outhouse Book", "Some Things Are Worse Than Being Older Than Dirt", etc. Also, we are assured, available at the front register to make our very own, should we so desire. I'll pass, but I did bring away one gem - he lists the following as a cure for stress: "Cover your body with cream and lie down in a dark room full of cats".
The undulant saffron hills outside of Pendleton are amazing. Here and there a dusting of town or trees marks the folds where water runs, but for the most part it's rolling gold from the eye to the horizon. I wonder what the terrain was like before the settlers and their 'amber waves of grain' showed up - the fields that aren't wheatfields are still yellowish with some sort of grass, and it's hard to know if that's natural or a result of some anti-sagebrush effort at cultivation. Either way, the golden hills go on for miles.
Ravens! in Snoqualmie Pass. Two of them, one on the wing and one by the side of the road, around Exit 63 or so. I've seen more ravens around of late... I consider it a good omen, but it makes me wonder - are there more now than there have been, or did I just not notice them before (mistaking them for crows)? Strange, strange, strange.