Archive for the ‘During The Sheltering Time’ Category

Three Thumbs Up for Long Beach!

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Mask Up

There’s probably a way to get a good picture of a billboard message in lights — one of those kind that changes every few seconds.  Probably pulling over to the side of the road and doing the usual point-and-click isn’t optimum, but there was traffic and…

Practice Patience

In any case, most locals (who undoubtedly get out and about more frequently than I) have probably seen the big signs I’m talking about.  They are both on the main highway as you enter Long Beach — one facing south, about across from Bank of the Pacific and one facing north about across from the golf course.  I think I noticed that one first, probably last Friday.

At least for me, from when you first see the sign until you have driven past it, there is just enough time to read the three messages it flashes:  MASK UP!  PRACTICE PATIENCE!  SOCIAL DISTANCE!  Maybe not in that order.  But, I was so pleased to see the sign(s) and recognize the watchwords of our times that I didn’t really register any details.

Social Distance

Today, coming back from a doctor’s appointment in Ilwaco, we pulled over to take a picture of the sign across from the BOP.  There was a fair amount of traffic, so we didn’t linger, even though Nyel was dissatisfied with his results.  I don’t  know if they’d have turned out better if he’d managed perfect timing…  Maybe.  But whether or not the timing is perfect for a cell phone photograph, it is fine and dandy tfor drivers and passengers entering Long Beach to read all three messages.  Now let’s just hope they “get” them.

And three thumbs up to Long Beach (one for each message!) for putting these important watchwords up in lights!

One man’s junk…

Saturday, August 28th, 2021

L to R – Plant Stand, Table, Creeper, Geezer

There’s nothing that makes Nyel happier than poking around in junk stores.  That’s not so easy these days from his wheelchair vantage point.  But, now that we are “downsizing” (read getting rid of the “extraneous and unwanted”) he’s almost in seventh heaven once again — even though he’s at the giving rather than the getting end of things.

I’ve lost track of the “stuff” we have hauled to Good Will or to some of the Thrift Shops across the river.  Most of it has come from the garage and the big storage room that has collected the extras and maybe-somedays for three generations.  We work on that room together, deciding what can be pitched, shredded, re-gifted or offered to the museum.  The garage is Nyel’s bailiwick.

Fixer-Upper Rocker

I have been astounded at what has come out of the corners and down from the rafters.  Amazingly, Nyel knows not only where each “treasure” can be found, but where it came from and where it should most logically be re-homed.  His blacksmithing equipment — forge, anvil, tools, how-to books went to a friend who “might” actually get going on a project.  Or, maybe someday another potential smithy will be the beneficiary.  And several items have been set aside for Tucker (but don’t tell Carol.)

If there’s no emotional attachment to whatever-it-is and if I can lift it into the car, it is ultimately headed across the river to Good Will.  And then there are the things I’ve come to call “Road Kill” — stuff someone else has pitched onto the side of the road and Nyel has rescued, either with a project in mind or just because…  There were also several things that even he couldn’t identify, but he had a “project” in mind for them… Someday. They went out in front of the garage door with a “Free” sign on them and disappeared in the night.

Today, he’s still fussing around out there and keeping an eye on several treasures with “For Sale” signs on them — mostly $5.00 per item.  While I spelled him for a while, a woman came and paid me for an old rotary phone of my mother’s.  A few minutes later a young man came by and expressed disappointment that “the cell phone” had already sold.  I knew what he meant but when I said we might have another rotary phone around someplace, he didn’t seem interested… Oh my.

A Recurring Theme In This Sheltering Time

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Barb Getting Us Ready for Our Grand Affair, 2019

As I’ve visited with people during these months of sheltering — by phone or zoom or text or email — the conversation often turns to frustrated comments like, “I can’t seem to get anything done”  or “I’m just not motivated” or “I think I’m suffering from ennui.”

I try to put my finger on why that’s such a common theme.  I guess it’s the not knowing.  The not being able to make definite plans.  The feeling that we are wasting precious time but don’t know how to remedy the situation.  But, when I think about it, that’s what the story eventually becomes for all of us if we live long enough.  By the time we get to our mid-eighties (if we are so fortunate) all of those uncertainties are what life is all about.  And to compound matters, we often have health issues that put a whole new level of difficulty into the mix.

Summer for Barbara is all about Sailing

And yet… there are things that I, for one, would like to “accomplish” before they’re beyond my abilities.  Like clean up my files — all the file cabinets full of research materials and all the online files that are redundant, incomplete, waiting to be trashed or put someplace for posterity.  So it was, when Nyel asked me what I want for my birthday, my immediate response was, “A personal assistant.  For about three weeks.”  Knowing that such a possibility is slim to none.

Barb and John’s Dog

“You need Barbara!” was his immediate response.  And he was right on the money.  Barbara Canney was hired by Willard in 1979 to catalogue the Espy Family papers.  It was to be her thesis project for her degree at The Evergreen State College. But it extended way beyond that.  She lived here on the Peninsula for three years (or was it five?), she became my closest friend, and we ended up turning over 70 bankers boxes of files to the Washington State Historical Society.  Barbara knows more about the Espy Family and their history than almost anyone else, including the family members, themselves.  YES!  She would be perfect!!!

Unfortunately, Barbara now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and aged dog, is sheltering like the rest of us, and is yet too young to qualify for early vaccinations.  Nyel contacted her anyway.  This morning she called me and we talked possibilities — maybe in the Fall after sailing season is over and she puts her boat up and, also it depends on the dog…  Meanwhile, I’m excited about the possibility and even a bit motivated to start the  project myself.   A bit.

A ‘Covid Look’ among the fashionistas?

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

Mom and the New Look, 1948

I well remember Christian Dior’s “New Look,”  On February 12, 1947, he  presented his debut haute couture collection in Paris. Its most prominent features included rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full, A-line skirt with a clearly articulated feminine silhouette.   By Easter 1948, my mom was on the cutting edge!

I thought about that this morning as I debated whether to change out of my bathrobe to go outside for morning chores with the chickens.  There is still something that goes against my sensibilities when it comes to spending the day in my bathrobe.  “You should have a housecoat,” said my ever-helpful husband.

“What’s the difference?” asked I.

Me and the Covid Look, 2020

And so we looked it up:  A bathrobe is used when coming out of the bath or shower and is usually made from absorbent material, whereas a housecoat is used when getting dressed or lounging around the house, more of a useable garment, said one definition.  But suddenly we were into dressing gowns, spa robes, wraps, popovers (say what?), dusters and… who knew?

I began to wonder whether (if we are sheltering for long enough) there will be a style called “The Covid Look.”  In my opinion, it should definitely involve a bathrobe which in my parlance has nothing at all to do with bathing or absorbency.  It has to do with why-bother-to-get-dressed-when-I’m-not-doing-anything-and-Nyel-and-the-chickens-don’t-care.

But… if the clothing industry can find a way to make a buck, you can bet your Old-Look-britches, there will be a Covid Look that goes beyond a line of spiffy masks.  Mark my words.

A picket fence is like a young girl’s curls…

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

Our Newly Painted Bright and Shiny Fence

My grandmother once wrote to her teenaged daughter, Medora, who was away at boarding school:  I do hope you are not slicking up the sides of your hair.  I know it will take the curl out.  Ruth ought to be a continual object lesson to you as to how pretty hair can be ruined.  You can leave it soft and curling around your face and still show your ears.  In fact, when you take the frame of your hair from your face it is like plucking the petals off a daisy and leaving the bald pod.  Some people’s hair is not a necessity.  Yours is – so is mine.

I often think of those remarks when thinking about the fences in Oysterville — especially the picket fences.  It seems to me that they frame the old homes like a young girl’s curls might frame her face.  Or is that too fanciful?

Jay At Work along The South Fenceline

Considerable attention is given to fences in the Design Guidelines for the Oysterville Historic District  The very first statements about them is:  “The use of fences is encouraged.”  Immediately following that statement are these bulleted items:

  • “Use picket fences (wood) on the street.”
  •  “A variety of details is appropriate in fences.”
  •  “Barbed wire is suitable for fencing pastures.”
  •  “The use of fences is strongly encouraged in the Core Area.”

There is quite a bit more, but you get the idea.  We still maintain our fence around the perimeter of our garden, though not everyone in Oysterville does these days.  It is an expensive proposition, even if you can make the pickets, paint them, and install them yourself.  Most of our curent pickets were made by Nyel some years ago and, fortunately, he made enough extras (even painted them!) that we can still replace the ones that get broken or otherwise damaged.

Bright Pickets Peeping Into The Garden

Yesterday, Jay Short and his son Charlie came to begin repainting our fence — outside and in.  It looks glorious!  It is definitely the crowning glory that sets off our house!  The upkeep of picket fences is a pain and I sometimes wish that we could follow Tom Downer’s example of a “fake wood” picket fence…  But it’s a fleeting thought.  Only a brightly painted white picket fence would do around our 1869 house!   I repeat:  It looks glorious… even in today’s rain.

Will it be today?

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

For the first time in years (literally!) we didn’t set an alarm and slept until the late hour (for us) of 7:00 a.m.  The timing was perfect to see the narrow opening between the gray, smudgy sky and the horizon — a strip of clear sky and sunshine!  WOOT!  WOOT!  (and then some!)  It lasted but a few moments.  But it was enough to give us hope.

Neither Nyel nor I have ever thought that we suffered from SAD — Seasonal Affective Disorder.  But, truth to tell, even with all the rain here in the Northwest, “normal” weather patterns include spates of sunshine now and then.  The old saying, “Tired of the weather?  Just wait a minute…” is a truism hereabouts — a fact of life, I’ve never fully appreciated until this autumn.

For countless days now,  (four? six?  I’ve truly forgotten), we have slogged through our chores, as well as our celebrations and treats, enveloped in thick gray smudge.  It seems to be odorless as well as colorless (if you can call gray colorless) and we assume it is caused by the fires in Oregon and California.  Someone said that above this layer of  foggy, cloudy gray, there is a big layer of smoke and, because of the weather patterns (partly cause by those same fires), there has been no wind to move the sun-sheilding layers away.

Whatever the reason, it has taken its toll on this household, bit by bit.  Fortunately, we’ve had a few grand distractions.  Friday we celebrated (socially distanced etc. etc.) Charlie Talbott’s retirement with a Garden Gathering.  Yesterday, we celebrated Tucker and Carol’s 50th wedding anniversary (socially distanced etc. etc as well.)  Bright spots in an otherwise gray world.

Perhaps today sun will really break through.  We can only hope…

The fourth wonder? Probably.

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Buddy Holly

Nyel and I were working outside yesterday on our rhododendron project — I was clipping, Nyel was bagging.  I had gone around to the other side of the fence and was walking to a spot where I could toss some clippings in Nyel’s direction when I turned and saw an unfamiliar looking man walking step-for-step a few yards behind me.   He was carrying a big shiny something-or-other (turned out to be a camera) and, when I stopped, he kept coming.  No mask.  It felt uncomfortable.

“You don’t remember me do you?” he said.  ” I visited you and your husband when he was in the hospital.” and he told me his name.  “Julian Frank.” Unfamiliar.

“Do you remember Julian, Nyel?” I asked.  And Nyel, in his wheelchair on the other side of fence and rhodies said, “No.”

Route 66

The visitor seemed surprised to see Nyel there, but it didn’t slow him down. He proceeded to tell me (not us) how he had gotten a rental car (some spiffy kind with an even spiffier engine) in order to see the Buddy Holly crash site.  “Why?” I asked.  “Was it around here?”  He said, “Don’t you know who Buddy Holly is?” and went on to tell me (not us) about his trip to Iowa, his stop to see the bridges of Madison County, his drive on Route 66, how he couldn’t get away from an old lady at a museum along the way, etc. etc. etc.  He didn’t say how Oysterville fit in.

“How did you find travelling?” I asked.  “Did you stay in motels or …?”

“It was fine.  No one in Iowa wears masks.  Me neither.  I’m a Viet Nam vet and ain’t no way anyone’s going to make me wear a mask.”

“Fine, just stay far away from me,” I said. And I backed up a few more steps.

“It’s a hoax, you know,” was his retort.

“No, it’s not, but believe what you want.  Just stay away from me,” I repeated.  And off he went.  All-in-all, a very unsatisfactory conversation.  And why in the world was he in Oysterville, anyway?  Not only unsatisfactory.  Sorta creepy.

Church and ‘Parsonage’ in Oysterville

I looked up Julian Frank on FB.  Unsatisfactory.  Then, I Googled him.  First thing that came up: “Julian Andrew Frank.  Classification:  Mass Murderer.  Status: Dead.”  More than creepy.

“Good to know that Oysterville’s right up there with Buddy, Route 66, and those bridges,” Nyel said.  “I guess we’re the fourth of the seven wonders of the world.”  Yes.  Always good to know.



Missing: Sails and Songs in Oysterville

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

 Zoom Visit with the Rose City Mixed Quartet

I’m not one to dwell on might-have-beens or even on wanna-bes or better-next-times.  I’m pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get and a let’s-make lemonade-outta-lemons kinda gal.  So this weekend’s empty feeling is a bit foreign to me.  And, I may add, not at all to my liking.

Were it not for the dreaded circumstances of the world right now, we would be about to sit down to breakfast with four of our most favorite people ever — the Rose City Mixed Quartet!  In that more perfect world, the BC (Before Covid) one, we’d be rehashing last night’s House Concert and talking about today’s Regatta and tomorrow’s Vesper Service.  But… the fates had other plans.

Not This Year

We’ve been lucky, though, to be invited to two (count ’em) TWO zoom visits with the Quartet.  Our latest “get-together” was this past Thursday.  We caught up with all our news at this tail-end of summer,  talked about plans for fall, and even got a glimpse of spouses and a daughter (Helen’s) and of Mark’s spiffy new dining room light fixture!  We didn’t do much lamenting.  As in, what’s the use?  We all know how we feel about the should’ve-beens.

And then… there’s the Oysterville Regatta.  I’m not sure what number it would be.  We’ll call it the “Umpty-Umpth Annual” because, after all, it began back in the 1870s in the days that all the Oystermen did their work in sailboats called “plungers” and it was an annual tradition for the Oysterville Yacht Club (Yes! Really!) to host an annual competition.

Tucker’s 2016 Regatta Invitation

In those days, the race was followed by a grand ball, probably held in the hall above Dan Rodway’s saloon, “The Temperance Billard Hall,” which was located just across the street from the Methodist Church (not far from today’s Oysterville Sea Farms.)  These days, the after-regatta activities include a huge awards banquet with musical accompaniment hosted by Skipper Tucker Wachsmuth at his daughter Lina and son-in-law Dave’s  place a few doors north of the once-upon-a-time Baptist Church.  The entire community of Oysterville is invited. Plus, of course, all regatta participants and their friends and families.  And musicians galore!  It is definitely the highlight of summer!

But… not this year.  Damn!  There may be a few stalwart sailors out on the bay.  There may even be music wafting through houses and gardens — after all we have electronic possibilities.  But it won’t be the same.  No sirree.

The Shape of Summer in Oysterville

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

A Sign of Summer

Even though Oystervillains [sic] are a fiercely independent lot, there has always been a certain “shape” to summer — especially over the last several decades.  There are certain events and activities that take place each year and, whether or not you participate, they seem to be markers along our path to autumn.

Here, at least since the late ’70s, “The Summer Season” begins on Father’s Day with the first Summer Music Vespers program at the church.  From then until Labor Day weekend, the focus of each Sunday (at least for some of us) is the hour spent with friends and neighbors and visitors from afar in song and fellowship.  Though each Sunday is unique, each also follows a similar structure: a story and welcoming message from a member of the Oysterville Restoration Foundation;  a short message from a pastor from the greater area; a forty-minute musical presentation by local or visiting musicians; two or three hymns sung by the congregation; the passing of collection baskets (donations to be used for maintenace and upkeep of the old building).

In July, the focus is at the Oysterville Schoolhouse.  That’s usually the month that the Oysterville Community Club sponsors the highly popular Artisan’s Fair — a three day event featuring artists and craftsfolk from all over the Peninsula and drawing dozens of tourists in addition to  locals!  Such a lovely time for “catching up” on the creative accomplishments of our many talented Peninsula friends and neighbors!

In August, the Oysterville Regatta occurs — always on a Saturday (for maximum participation), always in the afternoon (for the wind), and always at the most judicious time of the tide as determined by Chief Skipper Tucker Wachsmuth.  For the landlubbers in town (like us) the dinner afterwards, prepared by Carol W. and daughter Lina, is a particular highlight.  The entire town is invited plus all the regatta participants and their families plus musicians plus… Fabulous!

Sweet Memories – Regatta Day 2012

And, of course, the days of summer are punctuated by two or three weddings a month at the church and by picnics and barbecues and family reunions throughout the village.  There is always a special feeling of friendship and sociability here in summertime.

This year, though… not so much!  Summer has lost its shape entirely.  We console ourselves that we are not alone in that regard and that Oysterville and the rest of the world will soon look back on this as the Summer of Masks and Social Distancing — a once-in-a-lifetime aberration here and everywhere.

The Promises of August

Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Flowers at Vespers, August 2019

August first already!  The sun is shining.  Nyel’s birthday is on the horizon.  We’ve survived almost five months of sheltering as have our friends and loved ones.  And there are still plans afoot in our garden for flowers to bloom and birds to hatch.

So… we gird up our loins to carry on!  I have thirty-three more days before my book manuscript — “print-ready” as they say — is due.  We’ve promised our rhododendrons to the east and west of the house that they will get trimmed before month’s end.  We hope Eugene will show up soon to build us a little woodshed.  And our intentions toward a clean garage still stand.

Our South Lawn, August 2019

The month will certainly not be boring.  And who knows what lies just ahead on the various horizons — scientific, political, or even entertainment.  One thing for sure — August will give us plenty of opportunities for new adventures right here at home.  And maybe there will be more sunshine along the way!