Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Sometimes it’s hard to choose…

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

To read?  Or to write?  To have a day — or even better two days in a row — to do one or the other is my idea of heaven, especially if I have the leisure to spend just enjoying myself.  No deadlines.  No necessary research.  No over-riding “reason” to do one or the other.

Today I chose to write.  There will be deadlines involved soon, but I have ten days or so to blather on, delete, explore new avenues, and let my thoughts take me where they will.  Luxury to the max!  So… I spent time on two totally disparate themes.  One was “cops and robbers” and the other was “unexpected public music.”  Both (or neither) may turn into columns for the paper.

I had fun with both of them but one is too long and the other… perhaps too bland.  I’m not sure.  So, I’ve put them both on the back burner for now, am going to treat myself to my favorite all-time pasta dish — Sandy Stonebreaker’s chicken tetrazzini accompanied by sautéed snap peas with a lemon zest garni.  And then… I’ll read a Donna Leon book on my Kindle —  Give Unto Others, the 31st in her Guido Brunetti series that came out last year.  Somehow I missed it.

Dobby, Sydney, Tucker

And one more bit of perfection on this day — Tucker and I went over to  Dobby Wiegardt’s so we could have our pictures taken together!  Tucker took a selfie of the three of us.  Great picture except I look like I’m standing in a hole.  A deep one!  However, I think it will serve its purpose.  I’ll let you be the judge when you see it its proper context in the paper next week!



Friends, Family, Music, and Flowers

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

Jim Lee listens to Barbara Bate and Fred Carter.

It was a Saturday afternoon to remember.  At one o’clock friends and family of Marian Lee gathered at the Senior Center in Klipsan to visit, to eat, and to celebrate her life.  They listened to the music she enjoyed during her 100+ years, told stories about their favorite memories of Marian,  and shared a few hours of tears and laughter.  Marian would have loved it all!

The inimitable Barbara Bate played the piano, Fred Carter sang a variety of tunes all of which Marian would have remembered, and Robert Scherrer sang a song that touched many of us — I doubt that there was a dry eye.  (Later I asked him to sing it at my funeral or party or whatever — he said he would, so please hold him to it!  If only I knew the name of it, it might help!)  Diana Thompson’s summary of her mother’s life was fabulous!  Marian would have been proud of her and of her sisters and all of the grands and greats who were there!

One of Patricia Fagerland’s lovely dahlia bouquets.

After we’d dried our eyes and said our goodbyes, Vicki and I headed south to Ilwaco to catch the last hour of the Dahlia Show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  We were just in the nick of time.  Apparently there had been a “dismantling” announcement and exhibitors were starting to comply…  We whipped around in nothing flat and managed to see everything, though we couldn’t do much lingering.

We also saw a lot of folks we knew — so many dahlia growers!!!  I had no idea!  What fun!  I hope it will be an annual event!

P.S.  Late Breaking News:  The name of the song that Robert sang is “Please Pardon Me.”

The last time I saw Spud and Mary…

Monday, September 11th, 2023

Spud Siegel and Mary Flower

Yesterday’s House Concert with Mary Flower, Spud Siegel and Doc Stein was perfect in every single way.  Mary, described by Hipfish as a “Finger Picking Artist” and Spud, mandolin (and pocket trumpet!) player extraordinaire, were everything the audience expected and more.

Doc, came as a complete surprise.  He apparently often plays with them and, as Spud said, “Mary wanted him to join us.”  It didn’t take long for the audience to understand why.  The three not only speak the same language musically.  The byplay among them kept us all laughing and wanting more! more! more!

Spud, Mary, and Doc September 10, 2023

Spud and Mary have done a House Concert here before which, I am chagrinned to say I do not remember at all, though at least two audience members assured me that they were here for it.  And since they came from Yakima and from Vancouver this time, specifically to see them again, I could only conclude that I am, indeed, losing it.

Today I spent a bit of time going back in our guest books to see if I could track down that concert. Yes!!   Spud and Mary were here on April 26, 2009 but I’m not at all sure Nyel and I were.  My usual House Concert heading naming artists and date  is not there — only signatures indicating a full house with a note from Brigid saying:  We are headed for New Orleans this Thursday.  This was the PERFECT warm up – Thanks to Mary F.

I can only think that I was in the hospital with Nyel on that occasion and that someone else hosted in our place.  Or… more likely, my mind has finally gone into overload mode.  I did count and found that there have been 106 House Concerts here since the first one Nyel and I hosted on January 28, 2001 with Irish Fiddler Randal Bays.


And, I did count and found that Spud has done six concerts here (counting that one with Mary that I’ve spaced) — most of them with David “Crabbo” Crabtree who used to play with him at the Ark and, before that, at the Shelburne when Nanci and Jimella had the restaurant there in 1981.  We remember one another from way back then…

How lucky I am to have so many fine musicians in my life.  And for so long, too!  I am rich beyond measure that I can count so many as friends.

Some Days Are Like That!

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Patricia’s Garden – 2019

Carefully considered, I do believe yesterday had many more pluses than minuses.  As a matter of fact, there was only one negative and, as it turned out, that was mostly a figment  of my imagination.  (Doncha just hate when that happens?)

The morning passed “as usual” — a few household chores, a little catching up with email, and another pass at next week’s column for the paper.  It’s not quite to my liking yet but maybe the lightening gods will visit me today.  Not “lightening” in the sense of a flash of brilliance; more the opposite of serious as in “lighten up!”  I still have a day or two. so I can but hope.

But back to yesterday — I spent the midday hours at my friend Patricia’s house — lunch and a garden tour (but forgot to take pictures, of course!) and a lot of catching up.  I especially loved seeing the latest pictures of her granddaughters and hearing the latest among her many siblings and in-laws — all areas of life that I’m not personally privy to, being as I am, an only child and also the mother of an only, unmarried child.  Thank goodness for good friends who don’t mind my vicarious clapping and cheering or (sometimes) clucking and lamenting.

Judy in her Rodeo Queen Days!

Then off to the Performing Arts Center to Judy Eron’s concert — some familiar songs, some new, and all pure Judy!  My personal favorite was her tribute to Charlie, “her very own fruitcake.”  I couldn’t help wondering how many people in the audience had been lucky enough to actually sample some of Charlie’s fruitcake — his father’s recipe — as Nyel and I had.  I think Nyel actually gave Charlie a sample of his fruitcake — in his case, his mother’s recipe! (Again, I didn’t even think of taking a picture, so entranced was I — but scored today online with one that must have been taken in her “Rodeo Queen” days!)

I drove home in the glow of friendships and laughter and music and decided to start dinner and then get back to my computer.  But… cough, sputter, rusty spurts, silence!  No hot water!  Not in the kitchen!  Not in the downstairs bathroom sinks!  Not in the bar.  I went out to listen for the pump.  Was it running?  Did I have yet another  leak?

Spiffy New Faucet

It was well after six-thirty but I called the plumber anyway.  I could at least leave a message.  But on just the second or the third ring, he answered!  Himself!  And I began to cry.  So much for Competent-Widow-Woman-In-Charge-Of-Her-Life…  Patience on his part, an explanation that he’d been here doing a little more work that we’d discussed previously, and following a few simple directions on my part and… all was well.  But doncha just HATE when that happens?

I know Nyel was nearby when I was enjoying Judy’s Fruitcake song.  I hope he was off doing something else when I was blubbering over the phone to my ever-patient plumber.  And I tried mightily to cut myself some slack. One or two plumbing disasters in a summer… maybe acceptable.  But five?  OMG! Please, please!  No more!



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…

It’s The Piano Season! Did you know?

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

Colin Staub at a Push-Play Piano in Downtown Portland

The President of the Board of the Oysterville Restoration Foundation at the present time is Colin Staub.  He has been a part-time Oysterville resident for all of his 34 years.  He has worked in the oysters during the summers, spends as much time as possible at his family’s second home here in Oysterville, even bicycling now and again from his home in Portland,  and has performed at Vespers on numerous occasions — he is a mandolin player of some note.

Sometimes when he is in town he stops by to visit — an occurrence which I consider a great privilege.  And I must say, he never makes me feel two-and-a-half times his age (and then some) — not even when we occasionally get into the thorny subject of technology and the ORF website and other things I think I might have known about once but have given up that brain space to more immediate concerns.  Like how to keep my balance when walking over uneven terrain…

“The Old Rugged Cross”

For a few years now, when he’s in Oysterville, Colin has been playing the piano in the church — sometimes ragtime, but more recently, some of the hymns from the old Methodist hymnals we used to use for Vespers.   (Though he began on the violin as a young boy and now is teaching himself the piano, he still considers the mandolin his primary instrument.)   Yesterday, he wrote me this note: There are a dozen or so pianos set up in public places around Portland right now, and I’ve been making the rounds to play them all. I was playing “How Great Thou Art” and “The Old Rugged Cross,” the versions I learned in the Oysterville Church hymnal, downtown the other day, and a guy came up and started singing along. He was visiting from Atlanta and said he didn’t anticipate hearing gospel music in downtown Portland. The hymnals are coming in handy!

When I asked Colin more about those pianos, he wrote that they are put around town by a project called “Piano Push Play” Wow!
They get painted by local artists and placed in various places throughout the summer. It’s pretty cool and has been going on for 10 years or so. I’ve had numerous interesting encounters with people at the pianos, exchanged numbers, had impromptu duets, all sorts of things. Last year I emailed the founder about one particularly memorable conversation and she posted about it on their Instagram:

Piano at the Oysterville Church

There was one in particular that sticks in my mind, where I sat down to play a few boogie-woogie songs and noticed a woman sitting nearby who was crying and clearly not having a good day.  By the end of the first song I noticed she was tapping her feet, although still crying.  A couple songs later she came over to the piano and asked if I could teach her a couple chords, and we ended up having an impromptu piano lesson and talked about what she was going through.  She said it was the best unexpected thing to happen to her all day, and I thought it really illustrated the power of public music.

If you are in downtown Portland this summer, keep your eyes and ears open!  You may come across Colin playing some of those old-fashioned hymns he’s been learning at the Historic Oysterville Church!


Sunday, August 6th, 2023

Margot Merah and Kathryn Claire

It’s always hard for me to think of Sunday as the first day of the week.  After all, it’s the last day of the weekEND.  Even when I was a child I was confused by that.  And then the new school week (which became a work week when I began teaching) started on Monday — obviously the first day of the week.  Not Sunday.  Monday!

Well, first or last, today was a lovely day.  Vespers with Kathryn Claire and Margot Merah was spectacular!  Dayle Olson said afterwards that she had only heard such lovely harmonies when some sisters sing together, and I agreed.  Cate and Starla Gable are the perfect example of what I think of as “genetic harmony.” Kathryn and Margot must certainly be sisters in another dimension.  Once again I remember what “achingly beautiful” means.  So I think that part of my Sunday put a cap on a wonderful week (except for the plumbing issues) and set me up for a glorious week to come.

Zooming Into Next Week

Then — an early dinner at the Roo with Maggie Stuckey and David and Dayle Olson.  Great food.  Wonderful company.  Terrible ambiance.  SO SO LOUD.  But we perservered and enjoyed one another anyway.  When the immediate company is a delight, it’s easier to tune out the surroundings!  That part of Sunday was a mixed bag — a fine hullaballo ending to last week and a lovely conversation of mutual interests to start this week.

And finally — Marta, Charlie, and I talked and laughed our way out of last week and into this week with our usual Sunday Night Zoom Meeting!  Of Course!  It was Sunday-Go-To-Meeting-Day — almost all day long!




The Bad Patch Continues… with good friends to brighten the way!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Ray and Nyel and Sydney

So, after being an entire week with no kitchen sink — well the sink was there but the faucets and spigots were inoperable — yesterday the plumber came with a spiffy new unit and installed it. “Voi” — but no la!”  Water, but not much pressure.  As I understand it… old, corroded pipes are most of the problem.

Today, the insulation team came to repair last winter’s damage under the house caused by a… drumroll!… broken water pipe.  They were fast, efficient, and neat.  But… just as they were finishing up, they asked me how to turn off the water main.  I told them I was on my own well and the best I could do was to unplug the motor.  Which I did immediately.

Ray and His Wood Glue

Apparently, they had uncovered a 3/4 inch galvanized pipe about three feet long under about four inches of sand.  “It was totally corroded and I just touched it and it split right along the pipe for about three feet and was leaking like mad,” said one of the workers.

He was so distressed, I found myself reassuring him over and over that it would be all right. I immediately called the plumber whose scheduler informed me that it would be next Monday before they could fit me in..  Oh boy.   Maybe not so all right. No flushing.  No showers.  No dishwashing.  No icemaker.

Well… not really.  I do have a water supply in  large bottles.  I’ll be able to take care of essentials…

And then Carol and Ray Hansen dropped by!  It was SO great to see them and their beautiful dog, Sage!  Ray helped me hang Nyel’s picture — a gift from Maggie — and then worried about the rocking chair I was sitting in.  “It’s going to fall apart!”

Rocking Chair and Stool Repaired and Drying

So, he brought out his bottle of glue  — how many other guys carry wood glue in their car? — and fixed not only the rocking chair but also the kitchen stool! What a guy!  (And in case you didn’t know, it is Ray who papered every single wall in this house twenty years ago — and every one still perfect!  What a guy!

Carol, bless her, was hobbling on an almost healed broken tibia that she fell on the other night  — not a re-break but a sprain with an ankle and lower leg twice the size of her other (good) leg.  Not a whimper!  Totally stoic — though she did give Ray a few “suggestions” about the picture-hanging and the gluing!  What a gal!  And what role models they both are!  If our situations were reversed, they probably wouldn’t be whining about my current water problem!  I’ll try to do better!


All Hat and No Horse!

Saturday, July 29th, 2023

Vicki, Shirley, Jean, Sydney — Rodeo Grounds, 2023

This morning I pulled on my boots and slapped my cowboy hat on over my windblown locks and went with Vicki, Jean and Shirley to the Cowboy Breakfast!  Nyel would have been proud.  I don’t think we ever missed a Cowboy Breakfast in all the 37 years we were together, except maybe the last year or two when he was wheelchair- bound.

Nyel absolutely looked the part.  Tall, rangy, long legs molded into those old levis, with polished boots and well-worn Stetson — Wow!  And when he got comments (mostly from guys — the girls just looked) his reply was always a smile and “Yep!  I’m all hat and no horse!”

Sometimes, especially if we knew kids who were competing, we stayed for the rodeo.  But usually it was the breakfast that was the big draw.  And all those extra pancakes that Guy Glenn, Jr, managed to get onto Nyel’s plate before we finally left the premises!

Nyel After The Cowboy Breakfast, 2014

I was glad to see Guy still hard at it today — still making perfect pancakes!  But I missed Charlie Watkins and Judy Eron of Double J and the Boys.  Charlie always got my eggs just right — “no runny parts!”  (Though, truth to tell, they were pretty perfect today, too!)

When we lined up to give our order, we were greeted by Tucker, Carol, and their son Charley and family who must have been there at the crack of dawn.  (Later, I learned that they had gone back for the rodeo, too!  I think Vicki, Jean and Shirley were planning to do that, as well.  I was content to come on home and enjoy a gorgeous summer day with a lovely wedding happening across the street!)

Bitty Redell, the first Long Beach Rodeo Queen, 1947

 We shared a table with a lovely couple, Susan and Larry(?), who have a second home up on Douglas Drive — just a stone’s throw from “beautiful downtown Oysterville.”  We urged them to come to Vespers tomorrow — I hope they do!  It’s my turn to do the “Oysterville Moment” and I think  I’m going to tell about the beginnings of the Rodeo here on the Peninsula.  (In case you are wondering… yes, it’s an Oysterville story!)



Look Who Came To Friday Night!

Friday, July 7th, 2023

Three Fine Feathered Listeners

The three youngsters hanging on every note of Fred and Marta’s songs tonight were not exactly invited guests, though we were all happy to have them listening in.  They perched quietly on the edge of their nest above the porch window, perhaps joining in now and then.  It’s hard to tell with baby swallows.

Some of us!

Actually, with all the toe-tapping and singing-along inside the house, we Friday-Nighters were unaware of the audience trio just outside the front door.  It wasn’t until the appetizers were pretty much gone and the guitars were back in their cases and the first few guests were leaving that anyone looked up and noticed.  Then it was hushed tones of “Oohhh! Look!” and “How sweet!” and cameras aimed upwards.

Bonus Daughter and One Tutu

It was a lovely ending to our new “First Friday” series — the first Friday of every month will be a musical one with guests bringing their instruments (“Can I bring my kazoo?” someone asked…) or their voices or their requests.  As Cate said recently, “There’s no food for the soul quite like group singing.”