Posts Tagged ‘Summer in Oysterville’

Signs & Symbols on the Glorious Fourth!

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

As it turned out, we couldn’t make it to the Fourth of July Parade in Ocean Park yesterday, but thanks to Tucker’s good eye and amazing photography skills, we can clap and cheer after the fact and for a long time to come.  Especially for Grand Marshall Dan Driscoll and his outstanding Oysterville entourage – Lady Linda Engelsiepen and Dan’s parents Les and Ann Holway Driscoll!

They all looked fabulous and their ‘chariot’ was decorated to perfection!  I especially loved the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag affixed to the back of their convertible.  Good choice, Dan!  There couldn’t have been a better one for oh so many reasons!

Known as the “Gadsden flag,” it is a historical American flag named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden (1724-1805) who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution.  The timber rattlesnake depicted on the flag can be found in the area of the original 13 colonies and its use as a symbol to depict the colonies can be traced back to Benjamin Franklin who wrote this about it in December 1775:

. I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids—She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.—She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage.—As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shown and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal:—Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her.—Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?

The words, “Don’t Tread On Me” speak for themselves and, to those of us who have watched the lengthy battle the County has waged against Dan – seven years!! – there is no way the symbolism can be misinterpreted.  The American Revolutionary War also lasted seven years.

And, a resounding Hip! Hip! Hooray to the Ocean Park Chamber for selecting Dan as Grand Marshall.  The best choice ever!

Let’s hear it for Grand Marshall Dan!

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Dan Driscoll

The Ocean Park Fourth of July Parade is the funkiest, funnest, flakiest parade ever!  Over the years we’ve clapped and cheered for Bubbles-the-Pig, the Pepsi Truck, candidates for county and state offices, various and sundry marching bands, horses, Okies Shopping Cart Drill Team, Senator Sid Snyder, classic cars and, in 1990-something-or-other, my own parents as Grand Marshalls.  This year will be a bit different.

For starters Bubbles has been re-homed off the Peninsula but I don’t think she’s been clamoring to come, anyway. Okay. Understandable. It’s a long walk for short legs.  But the biggest difference this year will be NO “candidates or political party entries.”  That’s right.  None. The Ocean Park Area Chamber of Commerce who sponsors the parade has so declared.  Wow!  A Fourth of July Parade with limitations on politics.  A curious spin on our Independence Day Celebration – a national institution known since its inception as a time for orations and declarations and displays of political aspirations – no matter the party or affiliation.

Ocean Park Parade 2016 – Fred and Bubbles

I’m sure there are reasons for banning political candidates and incumbents – reasons that someone thought were important.  But, most of us have no idea the why or the what or the who of it.  From what I understand, some politico was way out of line at a previous event, or so some thought, and the Ocean Park Chamber, after much quiet deliberation, decided to separate the parade from the political scene, somehow.  If the letter to the editor in last week’s paper is to be believed (and I’m inclined to do so) the decision was made without input from the community at large.  Bad form!

In an interesting twist, however, the Chamber has chosen Dan Driscoll of Oysterville Sea Farms as Grand Marshall.  I couldn’t be more delighted!  I’m sure that there won’t be a local at the parade who doesn’t know of Dan’s continuing troubles with Pacific County officials.  For seven years he has been the focus of unrelenting assault by our County, despite several court cases which have exonerated him from wrong-doing.

Okie’s Ahopping Cart Drill Team

So maybe the Chamber has changed the parameters of the parade away from the political candidates and toward citizens who appear to be at the mercy of our current elected officials.  An interesting twist.  But it would also be informative if the prospective candidates for office were marching in the parade. Since they are not being given that opportunity, I urge readers to go the AAUW Candidates’ Forum at Ilwaco High School on July 10th from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Or… you could go the Ocean Park Fire Hall at 8:00 a.m. on the morning of July 12th – the regular meeting time of the O.P. Chamber – when they will give candidates an opportunity to speak.   (Wouldn’t it have been easier on everyone to let the candidates march in the parade?)

The important thing about Vespers is…

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

By Margaret Wise Brown

I used to read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown to my first/second/third graders and then we would create our own “important’ book.  It was a language arts activity we all loved and it was loaded with learning opportunities.  In case you don’t know that book, here is an example of one of its pages:  The important thing about grass is that it is green.  It grows, and is tender with a sweet grassy smell.  But the important thing about grass is that it is green.

Of course, what each of us thinks is important about a particular thing varies and therein lies the possibilities for all sorts of discussion.  For instance, Nyel might say “The important thing about grass is it needs to be mowed.  It can be a lawn and it can be soft to walk on.  But the important thing about grass is it needs to be mowed.”  Well… you get the idea.

Yesterday at Vespers as I listened to retired Episcopal priest Irene Martin talk about Canada Day, it suddenly struck me that one of the ‘important’ things about Vespers is that the officiant’s message is often ‘the best of the best.’  Usually, it’s a one-time opportunity for the minister – one voluntary twenty-minute service out of the summer – a chance to make an important point with no danger of the repetitiveness that must threaten to creep in to those Sunday-after-Sunday sermons given to their own congregations.  (Note to self:  ask one of the visiting pastors if that seems true from their point of view.)

Church and Steeple

The Rev. Irene talked about Canada Day.  I’d wager that most of us listeners were probably unaware that Canada celebrates its birthday just three days prior to our own Independence Day.  But then, Irene Martin was born in Canada…  She talked specifically about the border our two countries share – 3,987 miles of it!  It’s the longest undefended border in the world and she pointed out what a marvelous and important achievement keeping it that way has been for both countries.

It wasn’t a political message.  She pointed that out at the get-go.  But, I’m sure there wasn’t a listener among us who didn’t think about the possibility of political pressures that could be brought to bear on that long expanse if we do not stay ever-vigilant.  It was a topic we may not have had the opportunity to consider, had Irene Martin’s Vesper date been different, or had she not be born in Canada, or had borders not been a world-wide topic lately.

‘The important thing about Oysterville Vespers is each Sunday’s unique message.’ That would be the first page in my book.  What about you?

… and the livin’ ain’t so easy.

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Oysterville Summer 2017

I don’t know what happened to those “hazy, lazy days of summer.””  Or did they ever exist?  Here in Oysterville summer is busier and more bustling than any other time of the year.  There are events at the schoolhouse and at the church.  Tourists walk the streets and lanes clutching Walking Tour Brochures and leaning over the picket fences to ask questions of us likely looking ‘natives.’ Summer is when our relatives and friends come for long visits – sometimes in overlapping droves.  Every now and then we can hardly get the sheets changed before the next group arrives.

Let the record be clear:  I love it all!  My only complaint is that I have trouble getting anything done.  By ‘anything,’ of course, I mean any writing or the things attendant to writing – like interviewing or researching or simply collecting my wits.  But, truly, I wouldn’t change the summertime ambience of the village for any other time or place.

Take yesterday, for instance.  I was just settling in to work on a little writing project for the Water Music Festival when I received a phone from an August bride.  She had a few questions about the church.  When can we get in to decorate?  (The afternoon beforehand assuming there’s nothing else going on…)  Where can people park?  (On both sides of the road…)  Do the windows open?  (Not this summer; they’re being worked on…)

Summer 2009

Suddenly she asked, “Are you home?  I’m in front of your house and I think I’m looking at your husband trimming the bushes.”   Busted!  So… out I went and met the prospective bride and groom.  I showed them where the “Ceremony in Progress” sign is kept and how to substitute it for the “Church Open” sign when the time comes.  I showed them how to angle the chairs in the Sunday School Room so that their audience will be looking at them and not directly ahead at the other guests.  I explained about leaving the lanes clear of cars in case they need to be used by oyster or clam workers.

As we said our goodbyes, along came Tucker with his familiar greeting,  “Hey, what’s happenin’?”  He had his son Charley’s dog on a leash, walking her, he said, to keep her separate from son Clark’s dog who is also visiting in Oysterville.  It was complicated — as children and grandchildren and  pets often are.  As we talked…

Oysterville Summer 2006

Here came Kay Buesing with her daughter and son-in-law.  They had been over at the Artisans’ Fair at the Schoolhouse and were returning to their car.  Nyel climbed out from behind the rhododendrons for one of those “Oysterville Meetings” – a long chat in the middle of the street.  We had all had lunch together a few weeks ago, but still there was catching up to do.  As they headed for their car we noted that it was lunchtime and headed indoors.  Another morning gone.

The afternoon drizzle kept us indoors – a (welcome?) disruption for Nyel’s project and, for me, a few hours of quiet time in my office.  And another hazy lazy day of summer was all but gone.  Oh!  I think the lyrics are actually “hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer.”  Now that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

No News is Good News… Sometimes

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Cocky Bantam

No news is good news, or so they say.  But I’m not sure that’s true with chickens.  We haven’t heard a peep out of them since we’ve been away.  But then, chickens aren’t known for staying in touch.

We’re fairly confident that chicken-sitters Carol and Tucker would alert us if there were any serious coop concerns but still…   it’s that feisty little bantam rooster I worry about.  I hope he isn’t giving Carol any grief.  But I’m not totally confident that he has behaved.  After all, twice he chased me right out of the garden and up onto the porch.  I think if I’d been slower about slamming the door he’d have followed me right into the house.

Nyel didn’t see either incident and he has a tendency to laugh when I talk about it, but he did tell Carol that if the rooster gave her any grief to not hesitate to get rid of him.  Knowing Carol, she wouldn’t think of it, but I do hope she had Tucker step in if it was necessary.  No matter how beautiful (and how little) that rooster is, when his tail is spread and his wings are flapping and he’s flying toward you at knee level, it’s terrifying.  Truly.

T.J. Potter

We’ll know more tonight.  We are on the last leg of our homeward journey, stopping in Portland to have an early supper with Maggie and then… I have a fantasy that we could go down to the old OR&N dock and hop aboard the T.J. Potter.  It would be nice to just float on down the river toward the beach without worrying about traffic or road conditions or any of the rest of those driving concerns.

In reality, though, we’ll probably head home on the Washington side of the Columbia and enjoy the river view from a twenty-first century perspective. Maybe we’ll talk about a stewed chicken dinner… just in case,

The Warp and The Weft

Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Cliff House Today

If I knew anything about weaving, I’m sure I could use its particular vocabulary metaphorically to describe my anticipation for the day ahead.  But I don’t so I can’t.  Not succinctly or specifically, anyway.  I can only say that I’ve lived long enough now to realize that certain threads have followed me since the beginning.  And even before.

Cliff House , 1878,

They are part of the tapestry – no, more like a simple wall hanging – of my life.

Take the famous Cliff House in San Francisco, for instance.  We are going there today to meet my old high school boyfriend (never mind that neither he nor I knew then that he was gay) for brunch.  The Cliff House is familiar territory to me, but not as an eating establishment.  I remember gazing at it from the time I was a little girl on the rare occasions that I got to go to Playland at the Beach.  As much fun as Laffing Sal and the Roller Coaster and the Fun House were, I always longed to go to the Cliff House.  But not so much the Sutro Baths.

I think that desire had to do with my grandmother.  She had grown up in the 1870s and 1880s in East Oakland and, since her father worked in San Francisco, outings across the bay to “City” and even to the redwoods in Marin County, were still fond memories.  I remember begging her for stories about “when she was a little girl” and the Cliff House was among the images that stuck in my mind.  I was also fascinated by a small wooden box with the Cliff House etched and hand-painted on its lid. It was the container for the paper dolls she and her friend Mary Wallace made when they were just my age – probably eight or nine.

Cliff House, 1954

A decade later, I worked summers at the Cliff House Gift Shop.  I remember selling dozens of teacups and saucers (“Lovely to Look At; Delightful to Hold; If You Should Drop It, We Mark It Sold”) to the busloads of tourists and eating my lunch in a room behind the Manager’s Office.  Once in a while, I’d treat myself to a corn dog (were they 10 cents?) from a stand just outside the front doors and once my dad stopped by to take me out for coffee.  But I never set foot in the Cliff House Restaurant.  I was saving my money for college expenses and the items on that menu were out of my league.

Today, though… brunch with a friend of seventy-plus years!  At last!  I don’t know if the Sutro Baths still exists but they are not on the agenda.  Just as well.  A bathing suit was not among my threads this trip.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

…and rising.

As we came over the Siskiyous and dropped down into the Sacramento Valley, the temperature display on the car rose alarmingly.  102°, 104°, 107°!  Even with our air conditioner going full blast, the sun beating through the windows seemed to be winning the heat race.  But, it wasn’t until we exited our more-or-less climate-controlled zone of comfort at a rest stop that we really got the full impact.

Golden Hills

Ah yes!  Instant memories of driving through the Valley in mom and dad’s old 1939 Plymouth.  Overheated radiators.  Flat tires.  Windows down and blasting hot air.  Windows up and suffocation.  Those “good old days” were a misery in the Valley heat.  Plus, I don’t think that car could do more than 50 miles per.

Roasted Beet Salad

We usually made the trip on the old Route 99.  It was faster by a day than Highway 1 along the coast   And, then, there were the years that Interstate 5 was being built.  Long delays while they were blasting through the mountains up ahead.  Or at least I think that’s what I remember.  The four-lane I-5 finally opened in 1966 – by then I’d been driving, myself, for fourteen years – a series of VW bugs – and Charlie and Marta were ten and twelve years old.  It was a faster drive but it was still a furnace in the summer.  I can’t remember when I first had a car with air conditioning.  Maybe not until the 1980s.

Sydney and Marta

Even so, I loved seeing the familiar signposts yesterday – Corning, Williams, Arbuckle – and then the turn onto Highway 505 toward the Bay Area.  The glorious golden hills began to appear and the temperature dipped down into the nineties.  By seven when we met Marta for dinner in Corte Madera, it was a comfortable 78° and I felt as though the day had transformed me into a California Girl again!  Almost.

On the Road Again!

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

We’ve been on the road for less than twenty-four hours now and already our list is getting more than our ancient minds can remember.  First and foremost:  Do Not Attempt Under Any Circumstances to Stay in No Frills Accommodations!  Not even for one night.  Otherwise, it’s what? No Kleenex?  What? Pay extra for internet access?  What? No Coffee?  When you’re old, you need your creature comforts.

The assumption, of course, is that when you are old you either a) have money to burn or b) you are sensible enough to stay home.  Wrong on both counts!  And, I’m not even sorry.  Yet.  We are headed to California – but not the part of the current state that will stay California when the latest bit of legislation jumps through all the proper hoops.

There have been many proposals over the years to “do something” about California – even one that would have it secede from the United States and become one country.  Say proponents of that plan, it would become the fifth largest country in the world when considering its economic impact.  Other plans have based divisions upon water sheds, geography, who knows what all.  So far, none have gotten very far.

The current plan, which will be on California’s November 6th ballot, is a proposal by Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper and is based upon his belief that “political representation of California’s diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable.”  The state would be divided into California, Southern California, and Northern California. The population of each new state would be roughly 1.3 million to 13.0 million.

Pundits give it a slim-to-none chance of passing, citing the strong desire of Democrats to keep the Golden State intact.  Even if it does make it over the first hurdle, it would need the approval of Congress.  Constitutional lawyers say that’s not likely to happen for a whole host of reasons – a no-brainer conclusion given a political climate in which there is never agreement on anything.  Period.

In any event, we are going to Northern California to visit old friends.  In my mind, our destination (the Bay Area) has always been Northern California – it’s what we called it when we were growing up there and that new state would be perfect.  Not so much the other parts though.  To us Northern Californians, Southern California and L.A. were pretty much synonymous.  If Mr. Draper had consulted some of us old-timers, he’d have made some serious adjustments name-wise.  And, coffee-wise,  these for-the-budget-minded motels would do well to consult us old folks, too…

Tomorrow: Sunday, June 3, 2018

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018

The Celebration of Life for fisherman Kevin Soule will be tomorrow at two o’clock at the Chinook School.

The fundraiser for Pacific County Immigrants will be tomorrow at two o’clock at the Shelburne Inn.

Somehow, Nyel and I will go to both.  We will be in Chinook to support Kevin’s family and friends.  Later, we will be in Seaview to support our Hispanic friends.

Poster from website:

It’s one of those times in our close-knit community when I wish I could clone myself.  There just aren’t enough hours or days or lifetimes to be all the places we need to be or to do all the things we want to do.  Too many condolences to offer.  Too many benefits to attend.  Too many tears to shed and hugs to distribute.

As always, we want to do it all.  It’s what living here is all about.  I hope to see you ‘there.’

Feeling Connected Here in Portland

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Maybe it has to do with ‘the seventh time’s the charm’ (although it occurs to me that maybe the expression is ‘the third time…).  No matter the reason, we seem to have had more connections between the beach and Emanuel Hospital in Portland this time than is usual.  Not that our good friends here haven’t fussed and spoiled us in the past – but this time we’ve had connections of a different sort – or so it seems.

It began on Sunday when in walked Steve and Jeanne Bellinger, so out of context that I didn’t even recognize them for a second!  “Wrong hospital!” I thought!  It’s not every day that your Primary Caregiver and his Lab Technician Bride come calling from three hours away.  Wow!  Seems they were on a sort of’ busman’s holiday trek, visiting friends and family members who were in various care-giving institutions in the Portland area.

Dr. Paul’s Automobile on the Right – Ilwaco 1924

Their visit reminded me in a weird way of stories I used to hear about Dr. Paul who was the only physician on the Peninsula when my mother was a little girl.  He lived and had an office in Ilwaco and mom remembered that he would ride his horse to Oysterville if there was a serious enough situation to warrant it.  By the time she was thirteen, however, he had an automobile according to information about the photo of Ilwaco’s main street on the Fourth of July, 1924.  However, it’s been a while since doctors have made house calls.  I think a hospital visit by the Bellingers was even better!

They brought Nyel a gift – a cheerful strand of fall leaves created by the crafty Jeanne.  They found the perfect place to hang it – and from the compliments of the staff, we know it’s the best room decoration around!  We visited for quite some time – heard about Steve’s aborted Pacific Crest trek and about daughter Hope’s surprise visit home from college last weekend.  And, Steve mentioned that it was here at Emanuel that Ben Supernowski spent 47 days in the trauma unit in 2010/2011.  “There’s a plaque down there in the main hall telling about him,” Steve said.

So, yesterday we went down to the third floor on one of our walks to take a look at the plaque.  We found it about three-quarters of the way along the central corridor – Ben, smiling cheerfully with the commentary about his horrendous ordeal written below.  His recovery was, indeed, a miracle.  And to think that he is now out of college, married and beginning his career as a minister!

Ben’s Story

Later that afternoon, Ann Skelton popped in.  “I just came in the hospital for an X-Ray and knew from Sydney’s blog that you were here, she said.  Although we know that Ann’s primary residence is here in Portland, our connection is through various Peninsula activities and events – Community Historians, a mutual interest in Pacific County zoning activities, yearly shenanigans at CPHM’s 6×6 art auction, etc. etc.  We visited about “stuff” – the progress of the new Seaview approach sign, the amazing Kaye Mulvey, and the weather, fires, and other phenomena that have made this summer a tough one.

And I haven’t even mentioned the phone calls and email messages from friends here in Portland and at the beach – staying in touch, offering assistance or distractions or “whatever you need.”  We feel well and truly cossetted!  (Don’t you just love that word!)