As long as we’re on the subject…

July 3rd, 2020

A Town in the Wild West

I really didn’t expect that my blog of yesterday would generate quite so much response.  But I’m glad it did.  There was a lot of commentary to remind us that  we aren’t so far removed from the “wild west” of a hundred and thirty or forty years ago and, furthermore, we’re not nearly so civilized as some of us would like to believe.  From what readers wrote about this weekend’s holiday happenings, it would seem that the hot-spot of the Peninsula, wild-west-wise, is Long Beach.

from our bookmark

That’s not exactly a new situation.  It seems to me that there have always been renegades in Long Beach.  Right now, one of the most blatant is the World’s End Public House whose FaceBook page begins a long statement saying: “Worlds end public house simply stated… ‘we support everyone.’  It’s not complicated?! Wear a mask if your [sic] comfortable doing that! Don’t wear a mask if your [sic] not…” And on it goes.  It’s painful reading and even more so for me because the restaurant occupies the space in the former Campiche Building where we had the Bookvendor for a number of years.  It’s a great location and used to stand for something positive in the community — or so we always thought.  Now…it will be interesting to see how many of the locals (especially us old ducks) support the restaurant after all is said and done.

It all reminds me of something I wrote on this site back in 2017.  The blog title was “You just can’t make this stuff up!” and, among other weird law-and-order situations in Pacific County, I wrote this:  And here I thought it was pretty crazy, back in 1985, when Mayor Fred Rutherford fired all the policemen (or maybe it was ‘almost’ all) in Long Beach.  I can’t remember the details except that we got a call at Ocean Park School where I was then teaching that “Everything is under control.  Fred is marching down the center of Pacific Avenue wearing his six shooters and the town is pretty quiet.”  Just like Yosemite Sam!  Perhaps you remember that?  It doesn’t seem nearly so strange in the light of more recent law-and-order events in the county.

Fortunately, we are content staying home.  And I must say, most of the tourists in Oysterville this week have been wearing masks even though they appear to be in family groups and are outside strolling around the village.  Thank you!


Disappointed doesn’t half express it.

July 2nd, 2020

Seattle Policemen During 1918 Flu Pandemic

Yesterday’s front-page headline in the Observer:  Face Masks Mandatory But Don’t Expect A Ticket.  “What then?” I wondered.  “Will it be a go-directly-to-jail-offence?”  But no.  The article clarified a far worse scenario as far as I’m concerned.

Long Beach Chief of Police Flint Wright says that there will be no consequences at all.  In fact, if a merchant asks a customer to put on a mask or leave and they refuse and won’t leave, the merchant then may call the police – which, I might point out, is putting the responsibility fully on the merchant.  Hardly seems fair.  At that point, according to Wright, it would become a trespassing issue.  Say what?

How much “education” does it take?

Robin Souvenir seems to concur saying his office will be “focused on education.”  Talk about needing education… where have those guys been these last few months?  Is there  a person on the planet over the age of reason (which used to be age 7) who does not understand why it’s necessary to wear masks during this pandemic?  In my not-so-humble opinion, we are now at the point in our “education” program that consequences need to be added to the mix.

Governor Inslee  and Secretary of Health John Wiesman understand that.  Their mandate has clear consequences.  As of last Friday, not  wearing a mask in a public space is a misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine or incarceration or both.  But, apparently not in Long Beach and not in Pacific County.    And again, for those over the age of reason (which perhaps no longer exists) the decision to mandate mask-wearing and make non-compliance punishable is based on rising numbers of Covid cases because (drum roll) … too many people have not demonstrated their ability to comply with polite requests.

The Law in WA as of 6/26/20

Without consequences, some people just plain won’t do it.  That was true when I was teaching first grade; it was true when I taught sixth grade; it was true when I taught adults.  And, in case you haven’t noticed — some things don’t change.  There are always those who feel that they are asserting their rights by ignoring the rights of others and turning a blind eye to the greater good.  Consequences seem to help.

As one of ‘the old and most vulnerable,” I feel betrayed by our law enforcement leaders here.  In my mind, they are the buck-stops-here people who should be looking out for my welfare.  I not only feel unprotected, but undervalued. Shame on you, Flint and Robin!  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who expects more of you.  It’s one thing for ordinary citizens to flaunt the law but you are paid to enforce it.  Or so I thought.

The Next Best Thing!

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!


A Century And More Ago

June 30th, 2020

Medora’s Locket

Every once in a while, it seems important to go back in time for a little reality check.  My “go-back-to” place is often family correspondence.  It’s sort of my own, personal “On This Date In History” experience.  So, I wondered this morning what was happening on the last day of June in my Aunt Medora’s life?  She was my mother’s oldest sister — born January 3, 1899 and died unexpectedly in her sleep of a Cerebral Hemorrhage on January 16, 1916 — just two weeks after her seventeenth birthday.

DIARY            WEDNESDAY,  JUNE 30, 1915            DIARY
 3125 Claremont Ave. Berkeley, Calif.

Do you realize Diary that I am in California, the land of our dreams?  Those two weeks at home intervening between the eleventh and the twenty-sixth were very busy days.  We packed, cleaned house, and did general overhauling…We left Saturday morning on the early train…arrived in Astoria about eleven; then followed a weary wait till three when the Rose City left.  We had two large staterooms opening on deck.  Only Sue was sick crossing the bar.  Sunday morning was delightful, so calm and sunny.  Just before lunch I got acquainted with…Clarence Hickock from Portland. We sat up on deck all afternoon and talked…

The Espy Children in 1913 – Dale, 2; Willard, 3; Edwin, 5; Mona 9; Sue, 10; Medora, 14.

Monday morning we arrived.  Grandpa, Eva, Ruth, Buelah, Uncle Sid and Uncle Bert met us.  Clarence asked to call.  Ha ha!  San Francisco is the thriving bustling metropolis of old; the bay, the fog and wind are all the same.  But as we rode through Oakland I could see the difference.  Out here in Berkeley are many beautiful homes. Aunt Maud’s is very attractive, every little detail is so perfect, and the whole house is very artistic…

What a difference a century makes!  I wonder if any fifteen-year-old girl anyplace in the world could write of their day today with such quiet innocence and pleasure.  I also wonder if someone looking back one hundred and five years from now would feel that ours is a time of calm in comparison to what might be going on then.  A horrible thought, indeed!




Where’s our hedge fund when we need it?

June 29th, 2020

Nyel On The Attack

It was at least twenty-five years ago, but I remember it clear-as-clear.  My mother was still living in this house and we were a mile down the bay at our place.  She called early one Saturday morning and said that we had to “drop everything” and come tend to the rhododendrons outside her bedroom windows.  “They are completely blocking the view and pretty soon they’ll block out the light completely.”

We allowed as we could come over later and see what we could do.  We didn’t give her worries much credence.  She was always a bit of a drama queen, after all.  But, when we got there we found that her alarm was well-founded.  The rhodies seemed to have grown by leaps and bounds and just overnight — or at least within the last week when we had been there doing a bit of yard work.  We conceded as to how something had to be done.

No. I’m not sitting down!

I have no memory of our solution — mostly because I don’t think I was involved.  Nyel, bless him, got right on it and trimmed all of the rhodies in the garden — not just those around the house, but those along the east fence, as well.  As I remember, our burn pile grew to a burn hill and then to a burn mountain by the time he had things tidied up.  It must not have seemed too onerous, however, because one of the first things he did after we moved into the house in the late nineties was to plant a long row of Jean Marie Rhododendrons along our west fence — not quite double the trouble, but almost.

Trimming the rhodies has been one of the summer chores every year since that first call for help from mom.  Until last year (when Nyel began life in a wheelchair) I haven’t been involved.  Now, however, it has become a team effort — Nyel getting the front parts that he has access to and me wriggling ’round to the back between house or fence and plants to get the parts he can’t reach.  And now that we are old and impaired, it takes about four or five times as long for the two of us than it did for the one of him on both feet.

In the first five minutes…

There will come a day, of course, when we can no longer manage this yearly garden chore.  I was thinking about it as we got ready to have at it again today.  “What we’ll need,” I said to myself, “is a hedge fund.”  But… the really, truly, literal kind.  Not whatever the financial wizards were making headlines with a few decades back.  One more place to spend our hard-earned pennies… Or, we could just let ’em grow.  I wonder if anyone would even notice the house had gone missing.  And us with it.

Out with the old. In with the new.

June 28th, 2020

The Scratch Trail

Chickens are curious.  Chickens are smart.  Chickens can learn lots of useful things.  But chickens are not intellectually inclined.  The “why” questions don’t get examined on a regular basis — fortunately for this chicken farmer’s wife.

When I opened the door into the garden for Slutvana and Little Red Hen this morning, they didn’t question my intent at all.  With no hesitation they went forth, full of joy that, after a week of lockdown, they could get out into the greater world.  It wasn’t until I let the new girls, Clara and Ida-Mae, out of the Broody Hen Quarters and into the Big Run that S. and L.R.H. took note of their new circumstances.  Now they were closed out and the new girls were already exploring their vacated quarters with alacrity.  (I doubt if that’s how their little chicken minds expressed it but…)

Slutvana and Little Red Keeping Watch Nearby

I put a ‘scratch trail’ of cracked corn and grapes up the ramp and into the coop for Clara and Ida-Mae.  I waited for a while to see if they would follow it and take note of the feeder, the nest boxes, and the roost inside.  From their vantage point outside the run, S. and L.R.H. were keeping an eye on things, too.  They did not seem altogether pleased with this new turn of events and were still maintaining a close watch when I gave up my own vigil and came inside for my second cup of coffee.

Farmer Nyel is more confident than I about the outcome of this grand experiment.  But… I’m trying to think like a chicken.  Without anticipation.  Which is harder than you might imagine…


Problems Among The Chicken People

June 27th, 2020

Slutvana on Patrol

It was gray and wet out as I went out to say “Good Morning” to the girls.  The four of them are still separated — Slutvana-the-Mean and Little Red Hen in the main coop and run area and the two new girls in the separate broody hen area.  I am ever hopeful that they will reach some sort of accommodation with one another, but so far… not so much.

Slutvana is the problem.  She is taking her self-appointed role as Alpha Hen way too seriously, marching up and down at the barrier fence and making threatening noises to the newcomers.  They usually have their backs turned to her and are busy exploring in the grassy areas of their quarters.  In the seven days since we’ve had them, they’ve give us seven eggs.  They are totally sweet, good-natured girls.  We are calling them Clara and Ida-Mae.  Meanwhile, cranky Slutvana and neutral Little Red, between them, have only given us one egg during the same time period!

Clara and Ida-Mae

I tried to explain to Slutvana that she is doing herself no favors.  However, she’s taking no  heed of my words or my tone, as far as I can tell.  On the other hand, she apparently still thinks I’m the Alpha Rooster because as soon as I enter the coop area, she dutifully “assumes the position.”  It’s pretty weird.  And, I must say, we nailed it when we named her.

Totally Territorial

This afternoon I plan to let Slutvana and Little Red out into the garden and lock them out of the coop area for a few hours.  Then, my plan is to entice the new two into the main run, let them explore the coop with its roost and nest boxes and food dispenser — let them get acquainted with the space.  I’m hoping they’ll take advantage of the visiting privileges and begin to get acclimated without that mean old Slutvana around.

Waiting Patiently at the Border Wall

And, of course, I hope that Slutvana and Little Red will take note of Clara and Ida-Mae in their space and see that the world doesn’t end.  Maybe if we can manage that for a few days in a row, we can try co-mingling.  Farmer Nyel thinks it will work.  But… I know for a fact that you never can tell with chickens.

He offered. I refused.

June 26th, 2020

At The Stevens’ Salon

Yesterday Nyel took his barber’s kit and disappeared into the garage.  Being the worrier that I am (and with the excuse that I needed to document The Great Haircut Event) I followed.  I knew he’d be standing on his one good leg on the cement floor and with both hands and head busy.  In my mind, a formula for trouble.

Feeling Like A New Man!

But, it  went perfectly smoothly and didn’t take long at all.  Just enough time for a few pictures and a little sweep-up of a lot of hair.  Wow!  What a difference a few dozen swipes with an electric razor makes!  Not the designer cut that our wonderful Elizabeth has been providing in recent years, but neat-and-tidy counts for a lot.  Plus, he reminds me that he used to cut his own hair for years…  I had forgotten.


After I finished clapping and cheering, Nyel asked if I’d like him to do mine.  I have to tell you, I was just a tad tempted.  However, I don’t think a buzz-cut is my style of beauty.  Not that long, gray, and shaggy is either, but … oh well.  This too will pass.  And meanwhile, what a good-lookin’ feller I have to admire!  Plus, he says my Sheltering Shag isn’t all that off-putting, so not to worry.  What a guy!

So look who’s lurking in the kitchen!

June 25th, 2020


And now we are training a second robot!  It’s Cinderella’s step-sister Drizella and her “place” is in the kitchen where she will dry or wet mop as directed.  She’ll do the dining room and bathroom floors, as well, although she doesn’t know about that yet.  She’s still undergoing training.

I cannot stress how fabulous it is to have willing and fairly silent young robots who are eternally in waiting to do our bidding!  Cinderella has now completed all of her training and we have only to go to an app on our cell phones to direct her to vacuum the library or the bedroom or the entire main floor which is nine rooms!  As long as we have wifi coverage, we can direct her from wherever we happen to be. Woot! Woot!

Danish Modern in the East Room

So far, we feel we need to be ‘in residence’ when she cleans the East Room — the big room where  the TV, the roll top desk, a four-foot-in-diameter coffee table, Papa’s lawyer cabinet  and  seven assorted chairs hang out.  Cinderella has had to be rescued several times while cleaning there — twice from being trapped under the lawyer cabinet and once from getting hung-up on a Danish modern chair-leg.  Our conclusion — certainly not an old-fashioned girl, but not exactly modern, either.

Do I talk to these robots? Yes!  Do they answer?  Not quite, but I can sort of tell what they’re thinking…  I blame all these months of sheltering.

“Putting Out Fires” as they say…

June 24th, 2020

It’s getting down to crunch time on deadlines for the sequel to my ghost stories book and I’ve been spending every spare moment at my computer — fine-tuning, double-checking, re-thinking.  So, when an uninvited intruder showed up on my screen, closing me out of all my files and giving me no options — not even a peek at my desktop or access to the taskbar or windows/file explorer — I was more than a little annoyed.  It claimed to be an opportunity for me to upgrade to “Microsoft Edge” — unasked for and impossible to get rid of.

I followed the usual protocols — turn off, count to ten, turn on.  Whew! Lookin’ good.  But the first key I tapped, there it was again!  “Microsoft Edge.”  Uninvited.  No way to get it off my screen. Clotting up my life.   This time I unplugged, waited five minutes, re-plugged and… back it was.  I called Dominic at Plugged In Computer Repair.  He had me go through the turn off and on routine again and it looked like the problem had solved itself.  Wow!

“How long since you’ve had your yearly maintenance done?” he asked.  “Years,” I told him.  “Since way before Mike (of Mike’s Computers) moved”

“Why don’t you drop it off next time you’re in town,” he suggested.  I told him that I only sally forth once every two weeks to get our groceries at Fred Meyers’ curbside service.  “Well, next time you do that, drop off the computer and I can probably have it ready to pick up by the time you come back through Long Beach.”  Perfect.  And I went back to work.

But, with the first keyboard stroke — “Microsoft Edge” appeared and I was clotted up once more.  I called Dominic, took the computer to town and dropped it off, relieved that I was the only customer, Dominic was masked (as was I), and there was hand sanitizer on the counter. We (Nyel was with me for the “outing) came home and I picked up our almost-full recycling bins and did my due diligence at the Nahcotta Recycling Center, went to the post office, checked out the newly re-opened library, picked up an order at the Planter Box, and drove around to check out the tourism scene.  Lotsa traffic, lotsa people, only two masks that we saw.

I pickec up the computer and we were home in time for the cocktail hour.  Computer purring along.  Cinderella at Home Base waiting to be helpful.  Deadlines calling a bit more stridently.  Okay! Okay!  I’m on it.  And what’s with Microsoft, anyway???  Sending something that froze everything up?  Nyel got the same message last week but he was able to delete his.  And why do they do that, anyway?  How rude.  There oughta be a law… Like Scarlet, I’ll think about that tomorrow…