Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Flowers and Music and Tents Oh My!

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Flowers from Marta

The pieces began arriving yesterday.  First, a gazillion gorgeous flowers from Freddie’s — Marta’s gift to the 150th Birthday Party for the house.  She and Pat Fagerland will be arranging and fluffing and watering today — flowers in all the strategic places to make this Old Lady House festive for her big day on Sunday!

In the afternoon — chairs and tables and tents to say nothing of glasses and plates and silverware arrived and were stashed under the gorgeous tent (or Sweets and Bubbly Pavilion as I prefer to think of it.)  Today, we’ll be schlepping, hefting, and arranging — but not anything outside the tent yet.  Not until tomorrow morning when, hopefully the threat of rain has been removed Until Further Notice!

Larry Murante

Soon the birthday cakes and cookies and balloons will be delivered.  And tomorrow the stage and pop-up tent will be put in place for the musicians!  Speaking of whom — here is the line-up (not in order of appearance):  Larry Murante, Fred Carter, Cate and Starla Gable, Phil Allen, Brian O’Connor, George Coleman, Double J and the Boys, the Oyster Crackers, Randal Bays and Susan Waters, The Oyster Crackers, Ute Marx!!!  Our Mistress of Musical Schedulingd, Cate, has taken to calling this portion of the celebrtoon “A.K.A Oysterville Woodstock!”

Tent Ho!

Meanwhile, relatives and friends from afar have gathered to help.  Last night we had ten for a wonderful pasta dinner (compliments of Gina and Cynthia Raitano).  Tonight the numbers will soar some more and it will be zucchini pies, a gift from Nanci Main.  OMG!!!

Happy 150th to this Old Lady House, indeed!  The fun has already begun!

A Tucker Story comes to Oysterville!

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

German Hunting Horn

It has become Tucker’s habit to bring something to “show and tell” for the Friday Nighters at our house each week.  A year or so ago, he brought a German hunting horn (or was it a post horn) like the one his cousin Ute (and maybe, also, Ute’s father, Manfred) plays.

If I remember rightly, Ute actually plays in a hunting horn (or post horn) band (or orchestra) and when Tucker went to Germany to help celebrate Manfred’s birthday a few years ago, he heard them play.  He described the experience in glowing terms and apologized that he couldn’t really play his horn to give us an idea of how wonderful it sounds when played by an expert.

Yesterday, when Nyel and I were out trimming the rhododendrons in the back yard, the quiet of the village was suddenly broken by the most elegant and melodious sound.  “It’s Ute!” I said.  “She’s playing her horn!”  It was absolutely fabulous!

Ute in Oysterville

I left Nyel to his clipping and went over to see for myself.  I’d had hints.  I knew that Ute and Manfred had arrived in Oysterville on Friday.  And, I also knew that they would be here long enough to attend Our Grand Affair.  Plus, Tucker had suggested that Ute bring her horn to help with the celebration!  And she did!  What a glorious sound!

Although I’ve never heard a German hunting or post horn being played. there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about what I was hearing.  And there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it would be the perfect “Let The Fun Begin” announcement at two o’clock on the twenty-second.  And maybe the perfect punctuation for various events of the day — like the cannon salute!  As Tucker would say, “Wow!”

Windows and Lawns and Music Oh My!

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Mark and the Seed Broadcaster

How does friendship happen?  When you think you’re merely a groupie and then get to be a host and suddenly the music becomes secondary — almost! — you suddenly realize.  We’re friends!  How could that be?  Why ever would they choose us as friends?


The Rose City Mixed Quartet was here this weekend.  They came first because Carol W. booked them to do the music for the final Vespers of the 2019 season.  They would stay here as they have always done in the past.  And we would host a Saturday evening House Concert.


And then, before you could even blink an eye, they said they wanted to be here “to help.”  And help they did!  They washed ALL of our windows inside and out.  They worked on our terrible, horrible, no good lawn — thatching, sowing, top-soiling, and watering.  They vacuumed with a much-better-than-ours vacuum cleaner that Dale’s mother sent with her regards.  (She’s in an assisted living place now and  has no use for it.)  They got rid of every cobweb in every corner of every ceiling and dusted the tops of picture frames I can’t even reach, much less see.

Cameron on the Cobweb-Hunt

Besides all that — they brought all the food for all the meals, Friday night through Sunday noon.  They brought sleeping bags which they put atop our beds so they wouldn’t leave dirty linens behind.  They even brought their own towels.  They left NO footprint in this house — except for the left-over food which is neatly packaged in our refrigerator or freezer.

Friendship doesn’t get better than that!  How do we ever reciprocate?  There is no adequate response to that question so it was left unspoken.  And that may be what true friendship is all about…  I can only hope that we can pay it forward somehow.

All My Favorites!

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Rose City Mixed Quartet

The “kids” blew in yesterday afternoon — car laden with food and clothes and printed programs and who knows what all.  Not actually our children, you understand.  In fact one or two of them might be closer in age to us than are our actual kids.  But never mind!  We would adopt the Rose City Mixed Quartet anytime!

They are in Oysterville to do Vespers on Sunday.  They are at our house to “help” us get ready for Our Grand Affair and, “by the way, while they’re at it, we could do a House Concert Saturday Night.”  (If you didn’t get the memo and would like to come, call me or drop me an email before one or two today.)

Friday Night: Animal Crackers and Chocolate Hummus

They gave me a sneak peak of this evening’s concert.  OMG!!  Twenty-one numbers and among them all of my favorites including “Little Red Riding Hood,”  “Java Jive,” and “Short People” (yes! even that one becomes a favorite when the RCMQ sings it!)  And… printed programs!!!  How spiffy is that!

Meanwhile… today’s project is the lawn — those 41+ grass-less areas left by rampaging moles and the huge patch of “scorched earth” left after an ambitious thatching project that Nyel was unable to complete a year or two ago.  I have the grass seed. I have the top soil.  But the enterprise has been on hold for the last month for lack of muscle and energy on my part.  RCMQ to the rescue!!!

And, tomorrow?  It’s time to spread ammonium sulfate once again — that “magic” nutrient that puts nitrogen in the lawn and turns it green, green, green!  Or maybe that will happen today, too.  Plus, they are on a window-washing mission.  And who knows what all else.

So, I ask you, who wouldn’t want to adopt this fun and energetic group?  We are the luckiest old folks around!  And we will be the first to say so!


Being Outnumbered and Loving It!

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Photo by Tucker

Even when it’s the height of the tourist season, I do believe the critters far outnumber the humans in Oysterville.  Especially if you factor in the birds!  And the underground folks — like the mole people!  And I guess it’s because they outnumber us that they are  sort of cheeky.

Photo by Tucker

Today, for instance, two deer grazed in our garden.  They seemed to be working on the lawn so I didn’t bother shooing them off.  But, I did go outside and talk to them for a while.  They couldn’t have cared less.  That’s one thing about our Oysterville population of wild denizens — they aren’t all that wild.  They have learned that we are cupcakes when it comes to cohabitating.  We’d rather shoot with our cameras than with anything scary or lethal.

Photo by Tucker

Tucker is the best camera shooter I know of here in Oysterville.  He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and with the right camera.  (Some of us these days just have one camera — the one on our cell phone.  Not always the best choice, photo-wise.)  The lucky part of all that for the rest of us is that Tucker shares at the drop of a hat.

Photo by Tucker

The other thing is that there is a Wildlife Path that goes right through Tucker and Carol’s property.  Not that it’s marked.  But the bear and the deer and (if there were any) the antelope, know it’s there and they all (except the antelope) travel along it.  Back and forth they go, giving Tucker a chance to take his glorious photos.  And did I say that T and C put out wild bird seed every morning?  So between the four-footed people and the feathery winged ones. Tucker has a lot of subject matter at his fingertips.  Which he shares.  And some are right here on this page!



Farmer Nyel is back on duty!

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Nyel Approaches The Coop

Yesterday, Nyel completed a trip that he began on February 28th.  That was the evening (my birthday!) that he fell on the way out to the chicken coop to collect the day’s eggs and say goodnight to the girls.  It was the evening he fractured his hip which ultimately led to several surgeries, many weeks in the hospital, and, ultimately, to no hip at all.

This time, it was broad daylight and he approached the coop from his regal position on his new electric all-terrain wheelchair.  He had gone out the garage door, up the middle of the street (well, it’s Oysterville!), through the gates that barricade the cannon, and over the expanse of abnormally mole-ridden lawn!  He had done it with the singular nonchalance and aplomb that I associate with the bearing of kings!

Farmer Nyel Back On Duty!

An electric wheelchair!!!  Can you imagine?  We certainly couldn’t — not in our wildest dreams.  And then, for reasons that will probably always remain mysterious, we were handed a huge check from unknown benefactors.  They must be people we know — why else would anyone just give money to a little old couple from Oysterville?  To say we were gobsmacked — both of us — doesn’t begin to describe it.

And then… how to honor this gift in the best possible way?  Weeks before, we had briefly considered getting Nyel a sturdy electric wheelchair so that he could safely resume his rightful place on the property as “Farmer Nyel.”  But we had discarded that thought almost immediately.  Too spendy and, perhaps, not really necessary.

But, now?  The more we talked, the more it seemed like the perfect idea.  And so. yesterday, Farmer Nyel was back on chicken duty!  And rhododendron-trimming duty.  And if he’s not careful, mail-fetching and even grocery-shopping duty!  (I jest, but the batteries — two of them — will take him twelve miles before they need to be recharged.  I’m sure Jack’s is only about five miles away…)

We are SO grateful for the generosity of whoever you are out there!  You have no idea how the atmosphere in and out of the coop has changed!  Overnight!  The girls and I are ever-grateful, to say nothing of Farmer Nyel.

Paul, Me, and Oysters Three!

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Paul Brent

Artist Paul Brent and I have a special relationship.  It has to do with oysters.  But not in the way you might think.  It has nothing to do with eating oysters and certainly nothing to do with growing oysters or even gathering them.  It has more to do with their shells.

As I’ve written now and then,  for 160+ years Oysterville’s economy has been based upon three different varieties of oysters.  The pioneers here made their living by shipping Native oysters (Ostrea lurida) to gold-rich San Francisco in the 1850s and ’60s.  By the turn of the century, when those little Natives were depleted to the extent that they were no longer economically viable, the oystermen began importing oyster seed from Chesapeake Bay.

By Paul Brent

Those young Easterns (Crassostrea virginica) thrived and reached harvestable size, but they did not propagate well in the cold Willapa Bay waters.  However, the growers continued importing them, though prices for the little oysters were high and freight costs exorbitant.  The death knell for Easterns here came in the summer of 1919 when an unexplained environmental event in the Bay destroyed virtually all of the oysters.

Enter Trevor Kindaid, a marine biologist from the University of Washington, who brought students here to experiment with imported seed of the Japanese oyster (Crassastreaa gigas). They thrived (but, for years, did not propagate consistently) in our bay.  Each case of seed (baby oysters attached to pieces of old oyster shell) could produce 150 gallons of fresh oyster meat and, in the first years, oysters matured to marketable size within 18 months. Though the onset of World War II put a temporary halt to imports of seed cases from Japan, oyster growers managed to maintain production until 1948 when seed imports resumed.  Today, of course, it’s a whole new ballgame what with hatcheries and “designer” oysters and triploids and I don’t know what all.

Painting by Paul Brent

About the time I met Paul (at an early Art Walk at the Port of Ilwaco) I was teaching a class on Oysterville history and I was especially interested in our economy and development as it paralleled the various decades of oyster production in Willapa Bay.  As visual aids,  I had examples of Native oyster shells (tiny!) and Japanese shells (huge!) but none of an Eastern (medium sized, but a bit different in thickness).  Somehow Paul and I got to talking about that.  “There are lots of ‘Easterns’ in Florida!  When I go home, I’ll send you some shells.”  And he did.

Yesterday, he sent me more oyster shells – of the photo variety, through email —  paintings, inspired he said, from something he saw during the recent Music in the Gardens Tour.  I love these paintings!!  Even more than I love oysters!  Thank you Paul.  I’m so glad you and Lana Jane now have homes on both coasts and that our friendship has transcended oysters!

Let me count the ways…

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Thanks for the rides, Bill and Maggie and Tucker!This past week was one of those periods when everything seemed to catch up to me.  Nothing serious or even very out of the ordinary, but I suddenly felt overwhelmed and inept.  But before I could really think about it, the days filled up with friendship and blessings!

It began last Tuesday when Maggie came over to help me put the upstairs back together.  Our painter friend Jay had re-painted two of the bedroom floors and once the furniture got moved back in, there were beds to be remade and straightening to do.  Maggie said, “I’ve always thought that if I owned a hotel, I’d hire housemaids in pairs.  It’s so much easier to make beds with two people.”  And it was!  Four beds in nothing flat!

Smiling and Sparkling with Miki

The next morning at 8:30 I delivered my car to Hill’s Auto Shop.  Bill Grennan, bless him, gave me a ride home via Adelaide’s for a coffee.  Nyel and I were to be car-less for three days.  Then, suddenly that night, Nyel went to the ER in Ilwaco by ambulance and I was car-less all by myself!  Tucker to the rescue!  He took me down to the hospital to be with Nyel and picked me up when Nyel was about to be transported to Portland.  On Friday, it was Maggie who gave me a ride to pick up my car — all shiny bright and dent-free. So many wonderful friends to help me out!

I should also mention Tom-the-Painter who got up at three in the morning to work on the car so it would be ready in time for me to beat the dark on my drive into Portland.  (I don’t do well with night driving these days…)  The car looks fabulous!  Thanks George and Tom!

It might have been Sunday that Tucker told me he was going to the dump and did I have anything for him to take.  Oh boy and how!  With everything else going on, I forgot to put out the garbage Wednesday and we were on ‘overload.’   Suddenly next Wednesday didn’t seem so impossibly far away.


Then, yesterday and today, Miki was here helping me wash and dry all the china and glassware in the dining room cupboards.  It’s a monumental task that I was ‘prepared’  to spend a week doing as I gear up for our September 150th Birthday Party for the house. But, in a FB message, Miki responded to my comment about being tired with:  “How can I help?  I’m retired now, you know!”  And it was fun!  We laughed and talked and remembered…  The most time we’ve spent together since I was teaching at Ocean Park School in the 80s and 90s!

And… Brigid came by last night with a still-warm blackberry pie and a bag of ice surrounding a quart of ice cream!  “Did you pick the berries?” I asked.  “Yep!  This morning!”  What a fabulous treat!  What a week of blessings!  We are so lucky!


” An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain…”

Thursday, August 1st, 2019

Dick Hawes

It promised to be the best weekend of many-a month!  Friday our long-time friend Dick Hawes was to come from Bainbridge Island in time for our Friday Night gathering.  He planned to stay through Monday for the first good visit we’ve had in almost two years.

Saturday is the Oysterville Regatta, followed by the Regatta Dinner — usually a festive gathering with upwards of 80 people!  Regatta Day is the highlight of Oysterville’s summer and Dick and I had worked out how we would get Nyel down to the end of the lane in his wheelchair to see the races.  Also, unbeknownst to Nyel, Carol and Tucker were planning to open the dinner festivities with a cake and have everyone sing “Happy Birthday to Nyel” as a special surprise for him.

Noel Thomas

Sunday, August 4th is his 76th birthday!  The plan was that Noel Thomas would join us and Dick at the Bridgewater Bistro for a quiet birthday dinner — probably one of those affairs that begin with the “organ recital” (as in which ailments each is dealing with and how) and morphing into exaggerations and lies about the good old days.  Except with that threesome, the truth is often stranger than the alternative.

But last night the gods did it to Nyel again!  Severe pain prompted a call to the EMTs and a trip to the ER at Ocean Beach Hospital.  As of one or two this morning, he was back at St. Vincent’s for evaluation and possibly a third “wound clean-out” surgery.  I will join him tomorrow afternoon when, the gods willing, George Hill will have my car repaired and road-ready.

Waiting for Nyel

The good news is — no sooner had Nyel arrived at St. V’s than he was notified that the wound-care team, the infectious disease team, and the cardio team will all be weighing in to the orthopedics surgeons on any decisions about next steps.  A few minutes ago he called to say that if surgery is indicated, it won’t happen until tomorrow (to give his blood thinners a chance to dissipate from his system). Also, the infectious disease people have him scheduled for an MRI (as we speak) to determine if he might have chronic osteomyelitis — a bone infection that will not require surgery but could keep him in the hospital for a while on IV antibiotics.

We think it’s the latter scenario we are hoping for (especially the non-surgery aspect) but we are trying not to anticipate anything at all.  And we have very little information as yet.  As Robert Burns so succinctly put it:

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy


The Gordon Schoewe Memorial Picnic

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

“Original Picnickers” Patty and Noel

It was a small gathering.  Truth to tell, it gets smaller every year.  Not like the picnics of the old days when there might be as many as twenty or even thirty of us.  We’d meet with scarcely any notice at all — throw together a salad or grab the rest of the pie out of the fridge — and meet wherever Gordon suggested.  He was the instigator.  But not any more.

Since Gordon died five years ago, the remaining members of the old “picnic group” gather on his birthday which is today – July 23rd.  Each year there are fewer of us and we have begun asking folks who knew Gordon, but later on — not as picnickers.  Some were Book Club members.  Some were regular Friday Nighters at our house, as was Gordon.  But even they are disappearing from our ranks.

Gordon’s Picnic

Gordon would have been 93 today.  I wouldn’t have any memory of that except that he was ten years older than I.   He always made a big deal about that.  “Honey,” he’d say to me, “You are younger than springtime!”

In my heart and memory, so are you, Gordon!