Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Of Smoke and Good-by

 A long time ago, when this 50 year old woman was a college freshman of 18, O met the man I would marry by answering an ad on the "hot-Line" a college service bulletin for used books and car-pools. I had seen him around and been interested, and when someone gave me the heads up that he was the one looking to car-pool the 30 miles from my home town to the Jr. College, I was excited. Then a woman answered the phone with, "This is April" and I figured if I couldn't find love here I might at least still save gas money.  Fortunately it turned out he was living with a sister who was 12 years older than him, and so April was no barrier to my romantic hopes and they eventually were rewarded.  Then we all moved, but 20 years ago found us again living kind of close. April and her husband near Portland, Oregon and us in California, close to the Oregon border. Close enough for long weekends and Thanksgiving Holiday together.  Then 6 years ago April died of heat exhaustion on a Grand Canyon Hike, and her husband eventually found a new wife, who we also love, and life changed but the sense of family remained.

Only this week they are moving cross the country. From a five hour drive, visiting them suddenly becomes a 3,000 mile trip and at this stage of our lives, with college kids and aging parents, thee will be more urgent trips to take so I can't say for sure when we will see them again.

It is the end of having family within 1300 miles, and it is sad.  So last week we drove up to help them pack up the house and get hugs that will have to last a long time
 We drove through a lot of smoke from the fires burning near Gold Beach, and Grants Pass, Oregon and thought of the many firefighters with gratitude.

 Then when we got to my Brother-in-Law's home he put us to work, cleaning the gutters on the roof he told us to stand and watch and if he fell to call 911

 And his wife wanted to take bulbs and shoots from the many plants she has established in their yard. So there was digging and boxes to pack, reminiscing and hugs and while people came to look at the house, an excuse to grab a movie and ice cream

 I even got a hummingbird picture or 7

 Can you believe these blackberries?

 Then back through the smoke to home, a long drive, but nothing compared to the trip required next time.  Thank God for phones and internet connections.


  1. I hope they didn't leave that rocker behind. It is beautiful.
    A really good story. It's a shame family has to move so far apart, but at least it's not like the 1600's when we had no communications but letters and they had to go by ship back to the folks at home.

    1. Funny, I wrote a book comparing a modern girl's travel across country with a girl on the Oregon trail and I kept thinking of that, and how much more difficult it was staying in touch. Thanks for commenting

      (Double Time: On the Oregon Trail) if you are curious