Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

A Most Hopeless, Most Interesting Task!

Monday, September 18th, 2023

Ruth Dixon

I’m trying to clean out, consolidate and, in general, make sense of my files.  However, I’ve  all but given up after just two days.  The problem is, I saved these “gems” because they are just that and I’m just not ruthless enough to pitch and toss.  Just now, for instance I ran across a note from historian and journalist Ruth Dixon (1906- 2001) to my Uncle Willard, probably written to him when he was collecting information for his book, Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village.

Copied from the diary of Patterson Fletcher Luark, a pioneer of the vicinity of Westport:

Wednesday, Feb. 11,1863:
Went to lighthouse with team.  Found 7 or 8 men here from Bruceport pretending (?) to hunt for the body of Captain Wells; he and a stranger from Oregon in crossing from Bruceport on the 15th instant were both lost off Tokes Point.

From James A Gibbs Pacific Graveyard: Willapa Bay Light Station shows two lights. The shorter tower, proving too low and threatened by erosion, a higher tower was bult at right.

Friday, April 3, 1863:
The bodies of Capt. Wells and Cline, lost on the 15th of February off Tokes Point were found yesterday and today.
(Mr. Luark refers to giving Mrs. Wells a ride to his house for a visit, or returning her home.  They seemed to be very good friends.)

This is just a few of the tidbits I have, but not knowing just what you lack, and what you have, this will give you some idea.

Our history is so lacy — full of holes, it is a great feeling to be able to smooth it out a bit.

Thank] you for writing.

And, yes, please do send me a copy of Isaac’s letter.  [Isaac Clark, ss ]  Quite a few members of the family (mostly Wilsons) are collecting data, and I enjoy helping, and sharing.

The information about the July 4, 1872 boat race will be so welcome.

Signed [Ruth Dixon]



Lordy! Lordy! Should I be thanking Mrs. C.?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023

Fall Down, Go Boom!

Only two pictures were knocked off the wall as the plumbers eased the hot water tank down the stairs — and neither one was damaged!  There were drops of rusty water left along the route and, once again, I congratulated myself on choosing that cranberry colored carpet years ago!  It is the most forgiving color imaginable.  And the entire tank-moving-operation could have been so much worse!

Step One in the Upstairs Water Heater Removal Project was to drain the water remaining in the forty-gallon tank — presumably forty gallons of (now) cold and somewhat rusty water if the outside overflow was an indication of what had settled at the bottom of the tank.  I (hovering downstairs and out of the way) offered one of our very long garden hoses (perfect!) for draining purposes but then heard a bit of discussion between the plumbers about a window!

Splitting from Bottom to Top

“You can run the hose downstairs and right out the East Door,” I called out.  They looked it over and within minutes that tank was empty and could be muscled downstairs on a dolly step-by-step — which is when the pictures got knocked off and the drips occurred.  When the tank was safely outside, they said, “Take a look!  I think we were just in time!”

OMG!  the entire seam up the back of the tank was splitting — popping out screws as we watched!  I truly think Mrs. Crouch was on our side for once.  Perhaps she’s super-sensitive to water having reached her demise by drowning.  Whatever the reason for our narrow escape, I am thankful beyond measure.

Oh!  And another thing!  We thought we had turned off the electricity to that pesky hot water tank.  Nope!  It wasn’t the upstairs breaker switches as we’d assumed, It was the ones downstairs!  So does that mean the water going out the hose was hot?  I didn’t think to ask,

And another thing… the water in the sink in the bar that wouldn’t turn on Saturday was an unrelated problem — the filter in the spigot was completely clogged with rust. (I do think Mrs. C. might have had something to do with that…) Now that’s also fixed but the house and I aren’t out of the woods (or water) yet, plumbing-wise.  Stay tuned.

I thought the rule was they happen in threes!

Saturday, August 19th, 2023

Sink in the Bar

I’m losing the thread.  (Or maybe the stream!) Last night we had yet another plumbing mystery here at the house.  Bill Grennan went to our teeny-tiny wet bar to get Sue a glass of ice water and said, “You have no water in the sink in the bar.”  Say what?

Right he was!  We turned on the taps of both cold and hot.  Nada.  Upon investigation to see i he shut-off valve under the sink had been shut off, he found there is no shut off valve.  Say what?  He then tried the faucets in the bathtub — yes, there is a little bathtub tucked under the stairway, left over from when that tiny room was the firs (and only) inside bathroom at the house.  The folks kept it when they converted the room to a wet bar — for bottles of champagne on ice for their infamous Christmas parties. But, Bill reported, the faucets don’t turn.  Say what??

Hot Water Tank Overflow Averted Indoor Disaster

I was trying to recount the Plumbing Disasters of 202e — all of which have occurred this summer when the house has been full of guests (of course.)  First, the kitchen sink fixture failed and was leaking water from the hot, cold and faucet spigot.  Water to kitchen was turned off for a week while I waited for a replacement fixture.  Next a pipe under the house split along its entire length.  The water to to entire house was turned off for two weeks while I awaited my turn with the plumber.

Next, the upstairs water hater failed and spewed hot rusty water all over the outside of the house from the overflow pipe that Don Anderson had the foresight to install years ago,  We still have no hot water upstairs while I await the installation of a new tank on Tuesday.  And now, the mystery of the water in the bar.

So how many plumbing disasters is that, anyway?  Meanwhile, we lament no rain and shake our heads at our drought-ravaged gardens.  I just hope that I’m not into the second round of the bad-luck-happens in threes.  And thank goodness my friends and family who are staying during these periods of no flushing, no showers, and Total House Drought are the best sports ever!!!  I wonder, though, it they’ll ever be back…

All outdoors burning banned in Pacific County!

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Not Since April

According to the weather gurus, the Long Beach area (that includes Oysterville) has had 0.00 rainfall in August.  And according to the Chinook Observer. we’ve had no “appreciable” rainfall since April.

Here at my house, I had no running water inside or outside for an entire week this month and I’m now experiencing yet another week with no hot water upstairs.  The latter situation is no big deal, except for the fact that I will have had three guests for four nights and another five guests for three nights during that period.

It’s not that I won’t share my downstairs shower.  And it’s not that any of my friends and family who are staying here are unfamiliar with cold water (or no water) camping etc.  It’s just that I’m spoiled and probably they are, too.  It doesn’t take very long to miss the creature comforts we have become accustomed to.  But it surely does take us (as in the global us) a long time to face up to the facts.

Hot Water Tank Overflow Averts Indoor Disaster

Certainly the Peninsula’s situation (and mine, personally) is some kind of wake-up call and I wish we humans were much better at heeding the signs in a timely manner.  I’m sure we are at least a hundred years too late in the Northwest Water Scarcity Department (and I’m several years too late in the replacing old plumbing essentials.)

In fact, I recently read that “in 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first predicted that changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.”  And “in 1938, Guy Callendar connected carbon dioxide increases in Earth’s atmosphere to global warming.”

Somehow, though, we convince ourselves that it will happen somewhere else.  Or that it will be a problem that our children’s generation will need to deal with.  (Like how callous is THAT?)  And the best we seem to be able to come up with is tighter restrictions on our Burn Bans.

It’s enough to make you self-ignite!!

And today… another “field trip” (of sorts!)

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

I have known from the beginning that this “field trip” is probablyy a bit of a misnomer but, once again, I left Oysterville in the Wachsmuths’ car — this time without Tucker.  Carol had long ago agreed to drive me to my first periodontal “procedure” in Gearhart and since Amelia is visiting her Oma and Opa, she went with us.  What a trooper!

Truth to tell, I could have gone by myself, but I wasn’t sure what to expect, what they’d find, and how extensive my “treatment” would be.  So. reverting to my normal weenie status, I prevailed upon Carol!  I’m so glad I did!

We drove to Gearhart — not to the town center but on the highway, very close to the Seaside border.  The Wachsmuth Ladies dropped me off and went exploring and I bravely proceeded on.  Bottom Line:  The worst part was the numbing up and the worst part of that was the shot in the roof of my mouth.  Otherwise, the hour-plus long procedure was mostly without incident — a few gurgling struggles on my part with the ever-squirting water, but otherwise pretty straightforward.

Only the right half of my mouth was done first and the prognosis was “medium” — the possibility of a bone graft where the roots of one upper molar are totally exposed, but apparently we’ll cross that “bridge” when we come to it.  For now, recovery and another “procedure” next month for the left half of my mouth.  Oh joy!

On the whole, I’d far rather confine my field trips to Cathlamet!

Monday’s Cannon Salute from Oysterville!

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Oysterville Memorial Day Gathering 2023 – Chris Goeser Photo

This year, for the first time: The Honorary Oysterville Militia (T.H.O.M.) was without the leadership of its founder, our beloved General Nyel Stevens.   Yet we heard the order loud and clear, “Carry on!”

Acting Chaplain Lt. Cate Gable reads the names of the fallen – Chris Goeser Photo

Our traditional Memorial Day Cannon Salute in honor of those members and other loved ones “lost in the line of duty” went with ‘nary a hitch on Monday.  Well maybe “half a hitch.” As we were partway through the steps leading to the “Fire!” command, someone said to me, “What about Cate?”  Yikes!

Pvt. Charley Wachsmuth sets the charge – Chris Goeser Photo

So we all did a mental back-up while our Acting Chaplain, Lt. Cate Gable, read the names of the 41 T.H.O.M. members who have died since the organization’s inception in 2004, Oysterville’s sesquicentennial year.  She read the names in rank order beginning with “General Nyel LeRoy Stevens.”

Adjutant General Sydney Stevens tells the history of cannons in Oysterville at the beginning of Monday’s ceremony. – Chris Goeser Photo

This year, for the the first time:  I, as co-founder and Adjutant General, had taken on the role of leadership (the easy part) and Lt. Chester N. Wachsmuth, Jr. (known to most of us as “Tucker”) prepared the cannon and charge and led the firing squad, Pvt. Charley Wachsmuth and Lt. Charlie Talbott (the hard parts.)

“Fire!” – Chris Goeser Photo

The event was well attended by the loved ones of the fallen and by friends, neighbors and those who just wanted to see and hear the “big boom.”  It all came off (just about) flawlessly — another Oysterville day to remember!

When One Morphs Into Two (Days that is.)

Monday, May 29th, 2023

My Great-Grandfather’s Marker, Family Patriarch

Yesterday, as I gathered together the various accoutrements (read: cans, rocks, aluminum foil) to get ready for making the cemetery decorations, I realized that the Decoration Day of long ago still exists.  We just do it a day earlier so that the graves at the cemetery look their best all day on Memorial Day.

Alice Stuckey, Flower Arranger Extraordinaire!

Maggie and her sister Alice came over about two to help actually pick the flowers, stuff the cans (most of which came from the Oysterville Schoolhouse Rummage Sale!) and help transport them and jugs of water up to the cemetery.  Thank you whoever donated those shiny coffee cans to the Rummage Sale!  And thank you, Tucker and Carol, for the rocks and pieces of brick to weight down the cans against the wind.  One way another, this is a holiday that still “takes a village.”

I add a bit of water to keep the flowers fresh.

If the wind and or rain hold off, the flowers will still look terrific for this morning’s celebration.  And, to quote the late Father Tom Williams, “It’s the most we can do, it’s the least we can do, it’s all we can do.”  I know the Espy forebears will be appreciative — especially those who have done their own “due diligence” in years past.

With Love and Remembrance and Eternal Love

I wonder who will be  decorating our plot when I join Nyel up there on Davis Hill.  Perhaps a relative.  More likely a neighbor.  Or perhaps our stones will go unnoticed like so many of the others.  I guess I’ll be beyond caring by then… But you never know, do you?

Some things don’t change much, thankfully!

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

Memorial Day 1917

Oysterville is gearing up for Memorial Day Weekend — the biggest weekend of the year here in our little village.  Traditionally, it has been when families gather together to clean up the cemetery and decorate the graves of our forebears.  “Decoration Day” it was called from its earliest beginnings… until 1971.

Though the grave cleaning and decorating tradition goes back to our earliest settlements, it was during the years following the end of the Civil War in 1865, that so many American communities were tending to the remains and graves of an unprecedented number of war dead.

2014 Memorial Day, Oysterville Cemetery

Soon, the idea for an official, nation-wide holiday occurred on May 30, 1868 when Ohio Rep. James A Garfield, a former general and future U.S. president, addressed a crowd of 5,000 gathered at Arlington National Cemetery.  After his speech the 5,000 visitors made their way into the cemetery to visit the tens of thousands of graves in the newly formed cemetery.

Gradually over the following years, local municipalities and states adopted resolutions  to make Decoration Day an official holiday in their areas.  As time went on, “Memorial Day” began to supplant “Decoration Day” as the name of the holiday, and it soon became a day to honor all fallen American troops, not just those from the Civil War. It wasn’t until 1968 that “Memorial Day” became an official national holiday.

Here in Oysterville we’ve celebrated our loved ones at the cemetery for 150 years or more.  These days,  the weekend is replete with meetings (The Water Company, The Oysterville Restoration Foundation, The Cemetery Association) on Saturday.  Cemetery decorating occurs on Sunday.  The VFW gathering to honor the war dead occurs early on Monday followed by (since 2004) the firing of their cannon by The Honorary Oysterville Militia.

And all weekend long, it is a time for visiting and renewing old friendships, sharing meals and stories and remembering why it is we are so connected to this village  and to one another.


Please join us Monday in honor of our own.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

The Honorary Oysterville Militia (THOM) will gather at 11:00 a.m. on Memorial Day Monday, May 29th, to fire their cannon in honor of members who have died “in the line of duty” and in memory of all of our friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.

The cannon is a replica of an 1841 mountain howitzer and is fired (blank charges only) by THOM personnel on special occasions such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.  The cannon was built especially for the 2004 Sesquicentennial of Oysterville to replace the village cannon of Pioneer times.

The firing on Monday will be the first occasion of the cannon’s use since General Nyel Stevens, Founder of THOM and Caretaker of the Cannon, gave his final order to “Fire!” last Memorial Day, May 30, 2022.  He passed away a week later on June 8th, ironically followed shortly thereafter on June 23, 2022 by his friend and right-hand-THOM-assistant, Ron Biggs.

Captain Ron Biggs and General Nyel Stevens, 2015


Balderdash! There are DROVES of them!

Monday, May 22nd, 2023

Moles! Moles! Moles!

According to more than one “reliable” internet source: Moles are antisocial, solitary animals; they live alone except to breed. A mole typically travels more than one-fifth of an acre. No more than three to five moles live on each acre; two to three moles is a more common number…

Yeah!  Sure!  You betcha!   Breeding AND birthing seasons must be long over in our grassy patch in that case, and the young are grown and still taking lessons from mom on how to ruin the recently verdant vistas around my house.

Everywhere I look — more mole hills! Oh joy!

I am a bit confused about how I can legally get rid of these annoying critters.  It’s not as if there  aren’t plenty of yummy, grass covered open spaces in Oysterville that are NOT part of someone’s garden — especially not a part of MY garden.  But when I ask (again on the somewhat unreliable internet) if it is legal to kill the critters in Washington State, I get several different answers:

  1.  Moles are unclassified and people may trap or kill moles on their own property when they are causing damage to crops, domestic animals, or their property (RCW 77.36. 030).
  2. While moles are unclassified, meaning that people may trap or kill them on their own property when they are causing damage to crops, domestic animals, or property, traditionally used mole traps are illegal in Washington State due to their body-gripping design.

Lesson from our Hawthorne tree — Just rise above them!

So…it becomes another full-time occupation:  Moles and gophers can damage your lawn and garden. Control them humanely by eliminating their food source, spraying with liquid repellents, scattering repellent granules, using barriers and/or digging trenches lined with wire mesh or hardware cloth.

Yep!  I’ll get right on that.