Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Midst Fire and Ash: Blessings and Bounty!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Tomatoes from Harry and Linda

It’s not that Harry Schleef didn’t have plenty of other things on his mind.  He and Linda, with the help of grandson Evan, had managed to get their animals (horses, donkeys, llamas) out of their Level Two Oregon Fire environment to safety.  He had seen Evan and Linda on their way to Oysterville with six cats and two dogs and was staying at home to keep an eye on things… just in case.  You’d think he might want to take a breather — a figurative one, anyway.  Air Quality was hardly conducive to a literal one.

But no.  Harry’s tomatoes were ready to be harvested.  He delivered forty pounds to neighbors and when the fire danger was downgraded to Level One, he headed to the beach with more tomatoes for Linda.  It was a quick turn-around to get Evan who needed to begin school yesterday.  And besides, the winds could shift.

Nyel’s Travel Wheelchair

“Too many tomatoes for me,” Linda said when she called.  “Do you want some?”  Heavens, yes!  But… what a mixture of feelings went with the acceptance.  It was Harry and Linda who gave us Nyel’s first wheelchair — the collapsible one we now depend on when we travel to the doctor’s or to any destination where Nyel has to get out of the car and be mobile.  Little did any of us know that it was to be a lifetime necessity.  But they won’t hear of us returning it or even reimbursing them for it.  That’s just the way they are!  And now, when their whole world is threatened beyond comprehension, they are distributing tomatoes!!!

Special Delivery at the Coop – 9/14/20

Meanwhile, our recalcitrant chickens gave us THREE (count ’em… one! two! three!) eggs yesterday!  They seemed very nonchalant about it but I do believe that they have finally mastered the word “EGG!”  When I thanked them and held up their lovely creations I almost heard them cluck “your welcome.”  Surely, it wasn’t my imagination.


“The Dark Divide” is on its way!

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Coming September 18th!

If you are a Robert Michael Pyle fan or a Bigfoot fan or a Giants in the Trees fan… take note!  At long last the trailer for “The Dark Divide” is out and available for viewing on YouTube and FaceBook.  The movie comes to the big screen on September 18th and will be showing the 18th-20th at the Columbian in Astoria.  Woot!  Woot!

The film is based on Bob’s 1995 book, Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.  It stars David Cross as Bob and Debra Messing as Bob’s late wife, Thea.  Although I’ve watched the trailer a half dozen times now, I’m still having trouble acceptinng Mr. Cross as Bob — not his looks or voice or mannerisms…

The Book – First Edition

But a trailer is not a good way to judge; I’m hoping my willing suspension of disbelief kicks in when I see the full movie.  Bob mentioned in his email announcement that Debra Messing is “a truly remarkable Thea” and I so hope he’s right.  Like Bob, the real Thea was so special and distinctive, it’s hard to imagine anyone capturing her on the silver screen — even Debra Messing.

The cinematography looks to be amazing — most of it centered in  Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, from Mount Rainer to the Columbia Gorge,  — and that, of course, is probably the important part if it’s to be at all reflective of the original book.   The screenplay was written by Bob and director Tom Putnam so, presumably, Bob is fine with whatever deviations there are from the book.  (I’m never quite sure what “based on” means.  Sometimes any vestige of the “original” is lost on me.)   After I’ve seen it, I hope I get a chance to talk to him about it.  I’m also eager to see (or, more to the point, hear) how much of the musical score is provided by Giants in The Trees.

Robert Michael Pyle

What a treat for all of us local fans!  I can hardly wait.  Meanwhile, I think I’ll re-read the book.  If memory serves, we bought our copy from the author, himself, when he did a signing at our book store, The Bookvendor, back in the day.  Wow!  So long ago, now.  And now we can say, “We knew him when…”  Actually, we’ve been saying that about Bob for years!

Plums! Plums! Plums! — Plum Delicious!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020


Last year we didn’t get any plums.  I think we were otherwise occupied with Nyel’s recovery from his hip removal.  (Yes… not replacement.  Removal.)  So the plums went to the birds, or perhaps to bright-eyed visitors as they walked by.  At least we hope so.  The whole picking season went by without a thought from us.

This year, though, Nyel had been out on an “orchard” inspection (if one apple tree, one pear tree and one plum tree constitute an orchard) in his wheelchair and saw that those plums were ready.  “The first good crop since we planted the tree,” he said.  That was about ten years ago.  Actually, they are Italian prunes, not really plums, and they are probably my all-time favorite fruit.

Amelia and Tucker at Work

So Nyel called Tucker and, before you could repeat the title of Judy Eron’s song, “I Picked His Plum Tree Bare,” he and his granddaughter Amelia had done just that.  They gave us half (maybe more!) — certainly enough to eat and eat and eat.

Nyel is looking up recipes, too.  He found one for plum cake which sounds really good.  And also for plum tarts, plum cobbler, and plum turnovers.  What’s more, he thinks we have enough plums to make each recipe with plenty left over for fresh fruit snacks!  And that’s plum perfect by my way of thinking.  Yes!  Plum Perfect!



In a perfect world everyone would have neighbors named Wachsmuth!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

Stompers, Amelia and Sam

Yesterday, five members of the Wachsmuth family — Opa Tucker, Oma Carol, their son Clark and his children Amelia and Sam — converged on our place and gave our overgrown rhodies a serious trimming!  It was an all-day job.  It required two huge trailer-loads to the dump.  And it was all their idea!

Carol At Work

How lucky can we be!  We had already made arrangements to hire the job done when Tucker said something like, “Don’t be silly.  Clark is coming for a couple of weeks and bringing his trailer to take care of some things at our place.  We can…  ” And so, yesterday was the day.  (Meanwhile, Nyel asked the hired man if he’d mind doing a different job and… no problem!  Yay!!)

So it was that while Nyel and I went about our Monday chores in the house and in other parts of the garden — including a two-hour meeting in the South Garden for Nyel — the Wachsmuth crew was hard at it.  Clark and Tucker manned chain saw and loppers by turns, Carol and Amelia filled the trailer and, when it began to look full, Amelia and Sammy stomped.  Nyel and I occasionally went out to kibbutz  and clap and cheer — no doubt slowing progress a bit.

Tucker and Clark with TarpThey even raked and worried about a stray leaf or two!  OMG!  The bar is set SO high that I doubt we can ever have anyone else work out there, much less us.  And what do we do as a thank you?  Under ordinary circumstances, we’d probably send them all off to the best restaurant meal available in two states — and that may happen eventually.  In the meantime though, it just seems wrong not to even be able to give them a hug.  They are the BEST neighbors EVER!


…a thousand words, a million memories…

Monday, August 17th, 2020

Yesterday, my son Charlie posted a picture from his childhood — a picture sent to him by our long-ago neighbor and Charlie’s forever friend, Diane.  And along with the posting  came the most wonderful “conversation” between the two of them!

Diane began by saying, “In life, one of the best blessings a person can have is a Best Friend for Life. I am so blessed to be able to say I have two of those. One of them is Charles M. Howell, IV.  Here we are in this picture from left to right, me, Charlie (as I call him), and my youngest sister Denise. This was mid 60’s. Charlie is still and always will be my first BFF!”

Charlie’s response: “Thanks! Blast from the past! I wonder what we were playing. And who took the picture. But that was the gang. (Your older sister, Debi, wouldn’t have anything to do with us!)”

But then, the conversation got even better — especially when “overheard” by a mom who was, like so many working mothers, a bit oblivious to what the kids were doing when they were told they could “go on out and play.”

Diane: “Yeah, Debi always kept us at a distance. The only time she came around was when you made the Beatles instruments and she got to be John!”

Charlie:  “I was always George, unless we were playing Batman & Robin and the Beatles. Denise didn’t like getting the leftover parts (Ringo or Robin), and sometimes wanted to be James Brown. I don’t think it was very structured. Running around, air guitar, a lot of noise, and a lot of fun. But this looks like we were doing something else.”

Diane:  ” I am holding coloring book and crayons. I remember you would always let me color in your books then scold me if I didn’t color straight.”

The conversation continued for a bit, but by then other people had weighed in with similar memories… I loved every word!  What a strange and wonderful gift to be able to “re-live” part of your own child’s childhood — that part of growing up that adults aren’t normally party to.  But now, we are all adults and we are all looking back with a sort of grown-up childhood wonder.  Thank you for the posts, Diane and Charlie!  It was a rare privilege to re-visit the two of you on Greenridge Road in the mid-’60s!

Two by Two — August Visiting in 2020!

Saturday, August 8th, 2020


So far this month, it’s been ideal al fresco visiting weather here in Oysterville.  The days begin in a fog (literally, if not figuratively) but by noon the breeze comes up, the sky clears,  and our south garden provides the perfect setting for New Age Visiting — outside, socially distanced, no shared beverages or food, just plain old-fashioned talk-talk.

We’ve had two visitors at a time and, from our perspective, it’s been grand — a time to catch up with one another and to share our thoughts about the state of world and how we think it’s all being dealt with.  Actually, for most visits, there hasn’t been much political conversation.  I think we’re all up to here with the covid news except in instances where it might affect us directly.


We have found that most of our friends have been “out and about” a bit more than we have, but we realize that that’s the way it’s been for more than a year now — since Nyel has been wheelchair bound-  In a way, it’s reassuring to ‘register’ that we’ve adjusted well to this new lifestyle.  There’s been little “discomfort” (if that’s the right word) about staying sheltered here at home.  We are busy and happy.


I’m sure if we were still working, or if our extracurricular life hadn’t always been centered here at home, we’d not be so content.  As it is, we count our blessings and are gradually coming to understand  that if this is our “new normal,” it’s not half bad — at least not in summer.  We’ll see what a change in the weather brings…


Sometimes you forget…

Friday, July 31st, 2020

House Book – Front Cover

I recently “ran across” (which means, really, that I zeroed in on what had been in front of my very eyes for years and years) my “House Book” from the years I lived on the bay in the house that Ossie (and Wolfgang and Gunter) built for me.  The book is essentially two leather  covers enclosing a few hundred “blank” pages — or they were once.  During those years — 1980 – 2000) many people filled the book’s pages with  drawings, advice, praise, more drawings and general craziness.

The book was made for me by Nancy Lloyd in the days she specialized in leather craft.  It contains an amazing history of my life in that house and is full of memories of the wonderful people who visited me there, who partied there, who touched my life and who will always be in my heart.

"Gore & Roar" 9/3/82 by Gordon Schoewe

“Gore & Roar” 9/3/82 by Gordon Schoewe

I love reading it, though it tugs fearfully at my heartstrings.  On 3/29/80, just after I had moved in,  my dad wrote:  May this house (and home) never be finished — the essence of life is expectation. — Dad (WWLittle).

The first time Nyel’s name appeared was on 9/28/84.  He was included in the notation made by me:  Dennis Crabb’s “musical wish group” met here.  Along with Nyel’s name were listed Kathy Sayce, Ann Kischner, Ann Hauser, me.  Was that the first glimmer of the “Water Music Festival?”  But where were Patty and Noel and Kathy Crabb?

By Charles Mulvey 11/10/84

And SO many parties!  A Goodbye to Lawrence Lessard party in 1984 and again in 1986 (go figure!); birthday parties (many!) for Gordon and Roy and Noel and Nyel; High Tide parties toward the end of each December (usually); anniversary celebrations for my mom and dad;  Cinco de Mayo celebrations; come-and-meet-our-friends-from-Calif. or Ariz. (or Seattle or Boston or Oxford) parties; and Just Because parties.

On 4/16/94 Willard wrote Paradise is to be at Sydney’s and Nyel’s, by the bay, on a sunny day in April…Love Willard and Louise.    And in August 1995, notes from my cousins Joey and Mona Espy from NYC and New Orleans, respectively.

By Hannah Snyder 8/8/88

Throughout the book are (typically) nutty messages to  “Mommy” from Charlie commemorating his annual Christmas and occasional summer visits.  On Christmas 1994 he wrote:  I came here and saw Mommy & Nyel & Bowser.  Bowser loves me.  Big Kitty Jr. is at home all by himself for the first time, and he is lonely.  I have asked Nyel to try to find me a hardcover copy of Wittgenstein’s “Tractus Philologicus” which I’ve wanted to read for a long time– but now I’m reading “Hopeful Monsters” by Nicholas Mosely which refers to it.  We are having chicken… 

House Book- Back Cover

At the very end of the book is a list of “Sightings” which begins 4/11/86  at 7:30 a.m. 2 adult raccoons on Sydney’s Road heading for woods; 7:45 a.n. cock pheasant between house and high tide line… and continues to record deer and black bear and elk and hawks for pages and pages!

How rich our lives have been!



Thursday, July 30th, 2020


I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have (much less wear!) a tee shirt with an alcoholic beverage pictured on it!  But here I am, toasting Starla Gable who sent me a Bloody Mary tee shirt.  (I’m not sure about the “Hail Mary” part — it’s either a religious or a football term.  I think.)

Starla discovered some time ago that I, too, am a Bloody Mary “drinker.”  I doubt that she was using the term in quotation marks — she doesn’t really know me that well.  But any of my close friends and “drinking” buddies know that I’m really not one.  A drinker I mean.

Salad by Cuzzin Cheryl

Anyway, Starla wanted to know what my recipe is.  I imagine she thought it was too simple-minded for words:  4 ice cubes; 1 jigger of vodka; 1 small can of V-8  juice; 2 garlic stuffed olives on a plastic toothpick.  Over and out.  No hot, spicy stuff and no salad stuff.

My reasons are pretty straightforward. All during what should have been my “drinking years” — say from the time I graduated from high school in 1957 until I was in my mid-forties, I didn’t.  Drink, I mean.  Not that I didn’t try now and again — especially during my college years.  But I soon learned that even one beer or one glass of wine or one mixed drink led to a two or three-day migraine of major proportions.

Talk about aversion therapy — for years, even the smell of alcohol could send me into the nearest ladies room, headfirst into bowl. I eventually learned that I was allergic not only to alcohol, but to chocolate, cheese, and fish.  For whatever reasons, they triggered migraines and it wasn’t until an effective migraine medication was finally developed that I could chance any of the above.  By then I was 45 for 46 and probably too set in my ways to seriously change.

Rossotti’s Alpine Inn near Stanford — where I didn’t often go.

Even now, I don’t care much for fish.  Chocolate I can take or leave.  Only some cheeses have my undying affection. But I still can’t abide the smell of alcohol.  Bloody Marys are the answer to that!  And one seems the perfect number.  The “no hot spicy” part is just because hot spicy stuff makes me choke.  I can’t do spicy foods, either.  And the no-salad-in- my-Bloody — just a pain to deal with.  I like salads — but big ones in a bowl or on a plate.  Stuffing those ingredients into a glass seems wrong.  Just plain wrong.

But I sure do like my tee shirt!!  I never did learn if Starla liked my Bloody Mary recipe.  Probably not.  I admit that it’s a little simple minded.  But then… who isn’t?

Perfect Contentment

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Nyel and Sage

Sage Hansen came visiting yesterday.  It was his seventh birthday and we felt very complimented, indeed, that he chose to spend a bit of it with us.  He paid no attention to the social distancing required of his family members, Ray and Carol, and truth to tell, we didn’t care.  It was wonderful to see him and, like with all good friends, we took up our conversation just where we’d left off — except it was probably a bit mellower this time.

Sage lives in Utah and we hadn’t seen him since we visited there five (or was it six?) years ago.   At that time, he wanted to show us his newly learned “trick” — a job really — of going out in the morning to retrieve the newspaper from the front lawn and bring it to Ray.  We stood in the doorway to watch when he went galloping off to where the newsboy had thrown it, just out of sight.  But he didn’t come back and didn’t come back.

And then the barking began.  When Ray went to find out what had happened, he found Sage circling our Prius in the driveway — a strange intruder that obviously took precedence over the morning paper which had been abandoned nearby.  So, we never did get to see the paper-fetching trick.  But, of course, none of that mattered to Nyel (or to Sage.)

Time to go? But…

After all of these years, Sage happily greeted Nyel without missing a beat.  Never mind the years and miles between their last (which had been their first) encounter.  He settled down next to Nyel’s wheelchair and happily stayed there even though the sun was hot and Carol urged him several times to move into the shade.   Even when it was time to go, he wasn’t in any hurry.  He was obviously totally content.  As was Nyel.

We had to take a raincheck!

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Ambrose, Gordon’s Alter Ego

Yesterday should have been Gordon Schoewe’s 7th Memorial Picnic Day in honor of his 94th birthday, but… you know.  We had to give this one a miss.  We’ll try again next year.  I wonder if any of the picnic group remembered to drink a martini in his honor.

There were no martinis here but at least I was able to suggest to our Bainbridge Island friend Dick Hawes to mix himself a double in Gordon’s honor.  We aren’t martini drinkers, Nyel and I, — weren’t even back in the day, although I think when Nyel was a drinkin’ man, he’d have one with Gordon on his birthday.  Dick would join Gordon in a martini or two whenever, birthday or no birthday.  Still would!

From my old Bay House Memory Book

Sadly, Dick had called to tell of the death of another old friend, Jim Lucus.  It was actually through Jim that Dick and I met forty-some years ago.  My friendship with Jim  dissolved shortly after I moved up here from California but, over the years, each of us maintained contact with Dick.  Ironically, Dick mentioned that Jim’s health had been iffy for a few years and, the last time they had talked, Jim said he was hopeful that he could enjoy a good martini again soon.

Cheers Gordon and Jim!  I hope you are sharing all the martinis your hearts desire.  And, Gordon… same time next year for your 95th!