Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Shoulda Coulda Woulda!

Friday, July 10th, 2020

Rose City Mixed Quartet, 2018

If only I’d thought about it at the time, I’d have taken a picture of us with the Rose City Mixed Quartet yesterday when we visited them via Zoom.  But I can report that they all look and sound great right down to Mark’s collar-curls that were only visible when he turned his head to show us.  Definitely “a look.” Oh… and he also had a large stuffed bear companion who joined us now and then without explanation.  When we asked, we were told his name is… “Teddy.”

Rose City Mixed Quartet, 2017

Helen reported that she’s been reading a lot and seeing old movies.  She has discovered a new mystery author she likes but, of course, neither Nyel nor I can remember his name.  Weigh in, Helen!  But mostly she bragged about her jazz-musician husband, Kevin Dietz, who has been composing a song-a-week in lieu of his usual gigs and teaching jobs. (Helen, please tell us again how to find him on YouTube!)

Rose City Mixed Quartet, 2013

Cameron has made 300 masks which ultimately killed her old sewing machine and resulted in a brand new one.  She also organized a huge virtual and drive-by birthday party for a 90-year-old conductor friend.  And is rejoicing in the FEMA work-from-home status of husband Bill.

Dale looked great and sounded great but it wasn’t until we were well into the conversation that he revealed that he had a serious argument with his power mower and the mower won.  The result: perhaps permanent damage to the tendons in both shoulders.  YIKES!  Although Nyel’s tendon problems are leg-related, the two compared notes.  Neither are complainers so the discussion was pretty matter-of-fact.

Rose City Mixed Quartet, 2010

As for our part — mostly lamenting lack of Vespers and House Concert opportunities to host them for a long-overdo visit!  Or just a visit for no other reason than to continue the threads of yesterday’s conversations.  Stay tuned, as they say!


Terrific, Kenny Tam!

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

We’ve just finished watching “Windsor Castle, A Royal Year” which was produced for the BBC, seen on PBS, and was loaned to us in DVD form by our friend Kenny Tam.  Through the magic of technology, we spent several evenings behind the scenes at Windsor Castle, the largest (13.5 acres) inhabited castle in the world and, of all her residences, the one that Queen Elizabeth II has called “home” since childhood.

I visited Windsor Castle years ago and loved every minute of the tour.  I think my biggest takeaway at the time was the the amazing sight of the state dining room which was set up for dinner for 150 people — and not just your usual place settings either.  Crystal wine glasses (5 at each place) for each course,  the silver-gilt place settings commissioned for George IV (1762–1830) when Prince of Wales, and on and on.  Watching the film, especially as some of the 300+ staff prepared for a banquet honoring former French president, Francois Mitterrand, was déjà vu all the way!

Kenny often shares movies with us.  It used to be that he would invite us over for a “movie evening” now and then or even come to our house with a favorite film to share.  Now, he drops off something “terrific” on our porch.  I think of him as “Kenny Tam, the Terrific Movie Man.”

But movies aren’t all Kenny shares with us.  He loves being on the go and, like all good travelers, enjoys the pre-planning and the post-sharing parts of his journeys almost as much as we enjoy hearing about them.  Through Kenny we have revisited the Southwest, have “seen” Australia and China for the first time and, on each recounting have always had a fabulous journey.  During these sheltering days, we miss our adventures with  “Kenny Tam, the Terrific Traveling Man” — but probably not half as much as Kenny does!


From Fauerbach to Oysterville!

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

Tucker and Manfred

This morning I woke up to a lovely greeting from Manfred Marx who lives in Fauerbach, Germany.  He was writing in response to my blog of yesterday regarding his cousin Tucker’s story about Camp Tagum.  This is what Manfred said:  A Great Story from Oysterville:  Years ago Tucker, Carol, my wife Anni and I were at this place and Tucker told us this story from his youth… But he knew even more what they did with a skunk.

“Even more.”  Hmmm.  My curiosity was certainly piqued and I called Tucker to ask.  Right now, his internet is down so he hadn’t seen Manfred’s post and when I read it to him, he laughed and told me a couple of other Camp Tagum skunk stories — stories I’ll leave for him to share another time.

Manfred’s Daughter, Ute, at Our Grand Affair – September 2019

Meanwhile, I was so pleased to hear from Manfred.  He is Tucker’s cousin — second cousin once removed, I believe.  Tucker and I are seventh cousins once removed but on the other side of Tucker’s family, so Manfred and I are probably not even “shirttail relatives.”  (However, if we were all part of the Ilwaco Williams family, I think even those distant connections might count to get us to an annual Family Reunion if we had such a thing!)

I’ve met Manfred several times.  He comes to Oysterville every few years and Tucker and Carol go to Fauerbach every few years.  Manfred last came this way in September 2019 with his daughter, Ute.  They were here for Our Grand Affair celebrating the 150th birthday of our  house and it was Ute who opened the ceremonies with her German hunting horn.  It was very special and we felt honored that she participated.

Tucker has told us many wonderful stories about his visits to Fauerbach and we’ve met severral of his relatives (in addition to Manfred and Ute) who have visited here in Oysterville — including a Fauerbach cousin from the other side of Tucker’s family, Mariana, who actually stayed here at our house for a few days!  I would dearly love to visit them all in Fauerbach, though that seems unlikely to happen.  But how lucky we are to have access to the internet!  It makes “travelling” possible on a daily basis.  Almost!


Happy Fourth of July from Oysterville!

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Fireplace at Camp Tagum

Last week when Tucker sent me a photograph he had taken titled “Fireplace at Camp Tagum,” I knew exactly what it was!  It was what now remains, after almost seventy years, of the fireplace his family had constructed at their annual summer campsite at the north end of the Peninsula.  They called their place “Camp Tagum” (the ‘T’ for Tuck, the ‘a’ for brother Dan, and the ‘g’ for brother Doug and the ‘um’ for I’m not sure what.)  Last night, being Friday and, under plummier times being the time Tucker often brings something to share at our weekly gatherings, he sent pictures of Camp Tagum and a story, as well!  They are the perfect accompaniment for Fourth of July greetings from Oysterville.

By Tucker Wachsmuth

Fireplace Builders: Chester Sr. (Dad) and Friend Arthur Nelson

We camped up at the Point for many years beginning in about 1950.  One year, probably 1964, when I was still a teenager, mice were getting into our food supply.  Cousin Lou brought several packages of mouse traps when we were in Ocean Park.  That night, he set the traps on the ground all around our camp site.  All night long while we sat around telling stories, Lou would jump up when a trap would snap, throw the dead mouse into the woods, and reset it.  We all eventually retired to our tents and warm sleeping bags leaving Lou to carry on his grizzly task.  I remember looking out of the tent window: he was silhouetted against the fire, sitting on a board stretched between two short logs.

Brothers Dan, Doug, and Tuck at Camp Tagum

We had umbrella tents where the sides sloped up from the ground in a big curve.   I was nearly asleep, nestled into the curve, when I felt something, on the outside of the tent, walk over my hand.  I got up on my knees and looked out at Lou still sitting in front of the fire as a skunk walked up behind him.  I didn’t dare call out.  The skunk walked right under his seat and stopped.  It stayed right there and I crossed my fingers in the hope that one of those mouse traps wouldn’t suddenly go off and scare the creature.

Brother Dan and Mom (Martha) at Camp Tagum

That night my eyelids got heavy and my need for sleep soon overcame my curiosity.  I watched the skunk drama for a while but soon flopped back in the sack leaving Lou and the skunk locked in their totem-like positions: the skunk on the bottom and Lou frozen — almost afraid to breathe — on top.

Grandparents VanFleet, Arthur Nelson, Brothers Dan and Doug

The situation was comical, but was a potential disaster.  If you’ve ever smelled a skunk on the highway, it’s maybe a little unpleasant.  If you’ve been sprayed by a skunk, it’s a different experience.  The spray can be so strong that it makes your eyes and the inside of your nose burn.  Believe me, having a skunk spray your camp is a great way to ruin your vacation.

Mom, Dad (Chet), Tuck, and Brother Doug

Early next morning, Lou was still sitting on the bench.  I got up and asked him what had happened.  He just looked straight ahead and said that after what seemed like hours that skunk just slowly ambled off.  I’m not sure that Lou rated his mouse abatement project a total success, but I’ve always been pleased that he was able to get along with a skunk for at least one night.

The Next Best Thing!

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Summertime Velvet – Photo by Tucker

I think I’m safe in saying these two things about my friend Tucker: he likes to visit and he’s a great storyteller.  I’ve known about the visiting part since way before he and Carol retired and came to live in their place on School Street full-time.  Carol had not yet retired from her nursing job in Portland and Tucker would come down to work on their place or maybe to bring a load of “stuff” that he was gradually moving down.  He’d invariably stop by to say “hello” and chat for a few minutes — about Oysterville history, about boats and his volunteer work at the Oregon Maritime Museum, about his pinball machines and his penchant for collecting them.

White Pelicans Over Willapa Bay – Photo by Tucker

When they finally became full-time neighbors (in 2008?? 2010??) it was a no-brainer to ask Tucker and Carol to join our Friday Night Gatherings.  There are very few (if any) that Tucker has missed and from early on he has become the focus of everyone’s attention with a mystery package that he reveals  toward the end of each two-hour get-together.  We have come to count on Tucker’s “show and tell” and the story that invariably goes along with it.  I should clarify that Tucker’s “collections” go far beyond pinball machines — there are family keepsakes, model boats,  World War II (and maybe WWI) memorabilia, old signs and tools and… the list seems endless.

Oysterville Visitor – Photo by Tucker

During these days of sheltering, of course, we aren’t hosting gatherings on a regular basis — just when the weather is perfect and we can be outside and socially distanced.   About the only times we see Tucker is when our paths converge on the way to the post office…  or when he and Carol are going for a walk and we happen to be in the garden as they pass by.  We miss the visits and the sharing.  A lot!  So it was especially grand the other day to receive a whole batch of photographs — seventeen! — from him via email.  For many of them, we could kind of read between the lines even though Tucker hadn’t sent the “stories” that we are sure went with most of them. With or without the stories, though, they were the next best thing to a real visit!  A visit with show and tell!  Thanks, Tucker, as always!


Lollygagging and Schmoozing

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

The King and Queen of Lollygagging!

We’ve been spending our afternoons (some, not all) visiting with friends in the sunshine — socially distanced and safe, BYO food/beverage if you wish.  It’s been so relaxed and enjoyable, I’ve neglected to even take a picture.  Lollygagging and schmoozing at its finest!

Yesterday, Erin came over for an hour or so.  We hadn’t seen her for almost a year!  The pandemic can only be blamed for part of it.  When you are a working mom whether from home or out in the world, time is at a premium and we are loathe to intrude.  Yesterday felt really special!  We are honored that she could come for a bit of catch-up time.  And afterwards, she sent a few photos!

Even The Flowers Were Lollygagging!

Plus, Erin left us (well, maybe just me) inspired to get a few things “done” around here!  She talked about all the “projects” she has accomplished despite teaching from home, helping son Diego with the new virtual learning curve, overseeing the farm (Cranguyma) and spending time with her mom.  The words “deep cleaning” were the ones that resonated with me — as in why haven’t I done any.

So, thanks Erin for the visit, the inspirational thoughts and mostly just for lollygagging and schmoozing away a sunny few hours with us.    It was so fun!



So glad to be back! I missed you!

Friday, June 19th, 2020

Nyel is too kind to give me a bad time about my FaceBook proclivities —  (penchants that he doesn’t share).  He just remains silent but I know that deep in his heart he likes to hear my “reports” about what our friends are up to, what they are saying, what we are missing.  I make no bones about it.  Our recent blackout due to CenturyTel’s ineptness, put me in touch with my feelings about the internet and, especially FB, in a big way.

I missed Frank Lehn’s reasoned reactions to so many things and Keith Cox’s amazing historical photos.  I missed Mark Peterson’s pithy, punny comments.  I missed Stephanie’s connections with the down-and-dirty-everyday-stuff.  I missed my Marta and Charlie’s serious, thoughtful commentaries on the Big Issues of the here-and-now, and I missed so, so many people’s kind comments on whatever I happened to be “on” about.  Karin Marasko surprised me by writing that she was worried about us… Bless her!…   I missed Brigid Brigid Byrne who loves me no matter what, and I even missed my friends who scold me about this or that —

Which reminds me of a thought I had before we were up and running again.  I think that lately (probably since the sheltering began) FaceBookers are more apt to share their strong opinions and be critical of others than they have in the past.  Not everyone and not all the time — but enough to notice.

Is it because, in the normal course of events, we have had more opportunities to speak our minds in person and leave FaceBook for the more benign interactions?  Or is it because we have more time now to inform ourselves about what’s happening beyond our comfort zone and we are feeling the need to weigh in?

I find myself wondering if putting our strong opinions “out there” helps inform others or creates more divisiveness.   Are we keeping open minds or are we digging our heels in?  Once we’ve put an opinion in writing, does it quickly morph into a truism in our minds or is it open for debate?  Does “social media” make it easier to express the thoughts we wouldn’t otherwise say to “just anyone.”  And, if so, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s amazing where a few days off-line leads… especially during this time of  continued sheltering for old folks.  It wasn’t nearly as restful as it should have been.

The Next Generation In Town Again!

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Yesterday it was the Deer People who were checking out the possibilities in Tucker and Carol’s backyard!  I’m not sure where else they mosied while they were in town, but I don’t think they came over our way.  Nyel and I were actually outside in our garden for a good part of the day — filling in the mole and dandelion holes with dirt, grass seed and topsoil — and we didn’t see them.

Greens from Carol

It was hot.  We worked for most of the afternoon.  We have that much and more still left to do.  Maybe this weekend.  As Nyel says, “They’ll keep.”  And, anyway, we have other things to accomplish.  Hard things like defrost the built-in refrigerator in the bar which is the very worst job in the house.  More on that at some later date.

And, we want to finish up the greens that Carol left for us yesterday!  A big bowlful of red and green lettuces and arugula and all manner of beautiful bounty from her garden.  We ate a huge salad last night and will have another for lunch today. Fabulous!

By Beatrix Potter

Then we may take a page out of The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter: The Flopsy Bunnies simply stuffed themselves with lettuces. By degrees, one after another, they were overcome with slumber, and lay down in the mown grass.

Doesn’t that sound like a lovely afternoon?  Factoring in, of course, that these old bunnies don’t flop and lay down on the grass so readily anymore — but a nice dozy after-lunch in the sunshine sounds pretty tempting, no matter how it’s taken!

The Third Time Wasn’t Quite The Charm!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

It’s good to have wine-drinking friends!  And not necessarily in a way you might think.

Yesterday was our third trip in the last six weeks to go across the river to get our groceries at Fred Meyer’s.  We had placed our order — a big one — several days beforehand, we had been assigned a pick-up time, and we were all set.  Or so we thought.

We went the front road, through Long Beach, which was crowded with traffic.  Dennis Company, in particular, seemed to be doing a bumper business — parking lot and curbside full and many people (none masked) coming and going.  Hmmm.

The pick-up parking lot was almost full so we had a bit of a wait, for our delivery.  When it arrived, the transfer to our trunk went without incident though there seemed to to be a bit of reshuffling toward the end to make room.  It was all done very efficiently while we stayed safely in place inside the car. We went directly home to take care of the refrigerated things asap.

First, though, was Nyel’s transfer from car to wheelchair to get him into the kitchen at the receiving-and-put-away end.  Then, it was my turn to schlepp about a gazillion bags from car to house.  When I opened the trunk to begin, the first thing to greet me was something we hadn’t ordered.  Wine.  Lots of it — six boxes each containing five liters of Rhine wine.  Wow!  Someone was planning a party and it wasn’t us!

Since we are not wine drinkers, I took only one box in to show Nyel and alerted him to be on the lookout for anything else that might be a mistake.  We ended up unpacking 14 big bags and checking off each item against the receipt.  All but five things had arrived — probably the equivalent of one grocery bag.  And, in addition to the wine, there was one bag containing items we had not ordered and had absolutely no interest in.

Nyel called Freddy’s.  Apparently the other party had already called and their order had been re-filled.  The store would replace the things we hadn’t received but said “We can’t take back any of the rest.  You can keep it or dispose of it… whichever you like.

We called friends who we thought might be interested in the wine and maybe some of the other items.  I put them all out on our porch table and in twenty minutes they arrived.  They were glad for the wine and in a few of the groceries and offered to drop the rest off at the Food Bank.  Perfect!

Today we go back across the river to pick up the rest of our order.  Yet another sheltering adventure for the old folks!  Woot! Woot!

In spite of all…

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

Hyacinth Border in All Its Glory

Despite benign neglect on my part, our garden is looking remarkably well.  For the first time in many Springs, we are not starting the season with more weeds than flowers!  That’s all thanks to our wonderful friends who contributed to a garden cleanup for us when Nyel was hospitalized so long last year.

By hook and by crook we were able to continue having the Garden Girls come in every two weeks for a few months — until the winter storms came in earnest and then the Coronavirus showed up and closed down everything (except Mother Nature).

Just Beyond The Front Porch

The neat and tidy look won’t last, of course.  Not unless the sheltering time is pronounced “over” for  landscapers and other outdoors “non-essential” workers.  And I am the last one to be a back-to-work advocate right now.  Not until the health professionals say it’s “safe.”  So… being a very tentative, fair weather gardener, myself,  I’m hoping for fair skies, warm sunshine, and no wind so I can confront those pesky weeds in comfort.  (Which is precisely the attitude that I recognize as a problem… But some things don’t change.)

Meanwhile, I rejoice in the here and now of hyacinths and narcissus, primroses and azaleas and the promise of our Jean Marie rhododendrons next month!  Thank you Mother Nature and all your wonderful helpers who have made  (perhaps inadvertently) another year of garden beauty a reality for us here in Oysterville.