Posts Tagged ‘Summer in Oysterville’

Overnight O’ville Mail – Deja Vu Backwards?

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

From My Friend Casey!

So… yesterday morning when I went for the mail, there was a priority mail package for me.  For a minute I thought it might be Anna’s purse finding its way back to me  — and if this doesn’t make sense go back a blog or two.  But, the return address said “From Your Friend Casey” and it had been sent from Stevenson, WA on August 30th — the day before!  Not only had I received it overnight, but it had arrived in Oysterville in time for our 8:30 a.m. mail distribution.  WOW!

“But then,” thought I… maybe Casey has magic strings he can pull.  He was Oysterville’s Singing Postmaster for years and worked in many other WA and OR post offices as well before he got smart and quit to write poetry full time.  But… even as the thought erupted, I knew that wasn’t the reason.  It was probably some other logical combination of things .

It’s only 162.6 miles from Stevenson to Oysterville, according to Google, while it is 199.1 from Oysterville to Seattle.   The time from Stevenson 3 hours and 8 minutes  but from O’ville to Seattle, it’s 3 hours and  18 minutes — just ten minutes more.  Obviously, it has more to do with where the sorting and transfer points are than the separation of post offices by time and distance.

But never mind all that.  Whatever was Casey sending me that required priority mail?  I can’t tell you how surprised (and pleased!) I was to find a loaf of home-baked bread in the package.  Casey made it with his own hands (I emailed and asked immediately).  “Yes, I did make that loaf of ordinary white bread but it has been so fun to make and so yummy that I can’t abandon the recipe,” he told me.  And “yummy” it is!  I mixed up my last can of Erik Fagerland’s tuna (jalapeno flavored) and had two (count ’em, two) tuna sandwiches on Casey’s bread (toasted).  OMG!  I made yet another one today for lunch.  Heaven!

Tuna Sandwich Ingredients: Tender Loving Care!

How I wished Nyel was here to share these treats with me.  Did Casey and Cynthia ever get any of Nyel’s home-baked bread?  I hope so.  Did Erik and Pat?  How blessed I felt eating those luscious sandwiches.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t heard from Anna or her purse.  I think Anna had just a quick turn around when she got back from Canada and then she was off  on yet another business trip.  As for the purse — no telling what adventures its been on.  But I’m here to tell you that most experiences that begin in Oysterville are worth every bit of angst and uncertainty.  I hope that extends to purses, as well.

At Two (Or More) With Modern Times

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

I can’t say I was ever a great letter-writer.  Or even an inveterate telephone-caller.  And definitely not a telegram-sender.  But I did know how to do all of those things and was probably about a five on a scale of one-to-ten, communication-wise.  So you’d think that being able to use a single device and be in touch with people around the world almost instantly would be a no brainer,  You’d think.

But, now that I have untethered myself from my landline,  I’m finding that the learning curve for keeping in touch and up to date has steepened.  Just this morning, for instance, I finally figured out how to access the voice mails on my cell phone.  In fact, it was just a day or so ago that I even noticed there was such a possibility,  And here people have been leaving me messages right and left!

If you are one of those, I’m so sorry.  Except if you are one of those who doesn’t have a name attached to your phone number and who doesn’t identify yourself in a voice mail.  Then I’m purely flummoxed.

I discovered one such message from a pleasant sounding woman who tried to contact me on August 20th.  Her voice didn’t sound familiar and the phone number… well, I don’t do numbers very well.  It took me a looong time just to learn my own cell number…  I certainly haven’t memorized anyone else’s. Had I been more savvy by then, I guess I could have called and said, “Who are you?” though it seems rude, or awkward at the very least.

Anyway, too late now.  I blipped out all those old messages and will try to do better in the future voice-mail-wise.  But… I can’t help wondering what else I’m missing.  Though truth be told, the jury is out as to whether I even want to know.


The Word On The Street

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

Wrong again!  That’s what I get for believing the word on the street — at least when the street isn’t in Oysterville.  I think I’ve already established that the Oystershell Telegraph which functions here in the village is pretty much always right.  But on Friday, I heard the enticing “fact” that on March 12, 2023, we would spring forward for the last time, adjusting our clocks for permanent Daylight Savings Time.

Though I know better, I didn’t research that “fact” until after I had passed on the information to several people, even prompting a bit of a discussion at our Friday Night Gathering about which would be better as a permanent time solution — Daylight or Standard time.  I’m all for sticking to one or the other and hadn’t thought much about which I like best.  But, my friend Bill (who is another early morning person) is adamant that by “giving” us an extra hour of daylight in the morning, Standard Time is by far the best.  Good point, Bill!

I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until I’d bought into the truth of the word on the street (the “street” being in a community to our south, not in Oysterville) that I did a little research.  Emphasis on “a little.”  As far as I can learn, it’s not a done deal yet.  Apparently, last May the Senate unanimously approved a measure called the Sunshine Protection Act that would “make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity”

YIKES!  Wouldn’t you know that it’s all about money!  I also read that “The House of Representatives… must still pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.”  So far as I have learned, that necessary piece has not yet happened.  So… maybe Standard Time still has a chance.  Or maybe we should be considering solar time.  As another of the Friday Nighters put it, “I just like the the clocks to say 12:00 when the sun is straight overhead — the way the time gods intended.”

I’m counting on readers to let me know if there have been further developments that I’ve missed.  As they say, “It’s not over ’til it’s over” or, in this case, until we take the saving and spending out of the equation altogether– assuming we can ignore the old adage “time is money,” that is.

Tonight was the twelfth gathering…

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Tucker shares Arthur Nissan’s arwork.

There were thirteen of us here this evening for our Friday Night Gathering — the twelfth Friday get-together without Nyel.  It’s hard to realize that a dozen weeks (and two days) have gone by since he left us.

And yet, the time has not behaved normally.  At least, not for me.  Some days crawl by without accomplishment.  Others gallop and crash into one another and maybe things get done but I can scarcely remember what they might have been — a phenomenon which matters sometimes.  And mostly not.

And did I mention the fabulous food?

The first Friday without Nyel, there were twenty of us here — friends who came to offer support to me and to one another. The simple fact of their being here was a lovely tribute to both Nyel and me; the caring was palpable.  Since then, the numbers have varied — sometimes eight or nine, seldom fewer.   And things have settled back into a rhythm that has become soothingly familiar over the twenty years since our Friday Night tradition began.

Another Friday Night in Greater Downtown Oysterville

We talk, we laugh, we plan, we give one another a hard time now and then, even as we share our successes, our annoyances, our aha moments.  We don’t always agree but we seldom disagree very seriously.  It’s comfortable — a fitting finale to one week and a promising beginning to the next.

Or, at least that’s how I see it.



Flags Flying in Oysterville!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

Flags Flying in Oysterville

Check it out!  A couple of doors north and across the street from our place is the wonderful house that Lina and Dave Cordray own.  It’s the “modern” house many people ask about — the one built by Jim and Leigh Wilson-Codega back in the nineties.  The one with the wrap-around deck that looks so inviting.

Today the house is all decked out (ahem) with bigger-than-life-sized flags — at least ten of them  — some recognizable, but many not.  At least not to me.  And they are probably not “bigger-than-life-sized” either.  It’s just that you seldom see full -sized flags at eye level — not in Oysterville that is!

Carol (who is Lina’s mom) told me that many of the flags represent the colleges and universities where Cordray family members have earned degrees.  How fun!  And, of course, I immediately wondered if my own alma mater had a flag. I looked it up and there it was,  vaguely familiar.  I doubt that I’ve seen it (except as a sweatshirt) since I graduated sixty-five years ago.  And I certainly never thought of anything so clever as putting it on display anywhere.  What a great idea, Lina and Dave.  Thanks for all the fluttering color right in Greater Downtown Oysterville!

Oysterville Tradition Alive & Well!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

A Thirsty After-Vespers Crowd at the Oysterville Lemonade Stand

As the adults spilled out of the Oysterville Church a few Vesper Sundays ago, they were greeted by the youngest generations of village entrepreneurs — my Red House Cousins of  the Alpha Generation and Generation Z (the “Zoomers”) — otherwise known as Oysterville’s Sixth  Espy Generation.  They had set up their lemonade stand right across from the exiting hoards, just as their parents had done years ago.  And probably their grandparents before that.

They were doing a booming business — especially with the Blackberry Lemonade.  “We picked the blackberries ourselves!” we were told.  I was mortified that I didn’t have any money with me.  “That’s okay.  You can have some anyway,” they chorused.

Red House Cousins’ Lemonade Sign from 2013

I demurred.  They had a lineup of thirsty buyers and I thought it would be yet another family story if Cousin Sydney got a freebie that could have been sold at the going rate — $1.00 a glass.  Besides, I really enjoyed watching their casual salesmanship (it was all about the blackberries!) and their even more casual handling of the cash flow.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the next generations — Beta and Gamma — will be using Bitcoin or some sort of cryptocurrency as yet unnamed.  Or perhaps they’ll just take plastic.  But it probably goes without saying that the blackberries will still be picked by hand and the cousins will still be full of giggles at their accomplishments!  And the lemonade will still be Oysterville’s finest!

Traveling: Let me count the ways!

Monday, August 22nd, 2022

Sydney at “Three Pines” (Knowlton, Canada) – 2016

For me, traveling has always fallen into three distinct categories:  the planning/anticipation part; the journey, itself, with all the attendant surprises and unforeseen adventures; and the aftermath — re-living the experience with interested friends, pouring over the once-in-a-lifetime photos, staying in touch with new acquaintances, even trying to replicate a recipe from that quaint bistro along the Seine.

Each travel experience, of course, includes all of the above parts, but I think my focus  differed according to my age.  It was the journey, itself,  that was of greatest importance when I was a child.  By the time I was old enough to plan my own trips, it was probably a toss-up between the planning and the actual journey that I most enjoyed.  And, by the time I reached my seventies, I confess that the aftermath of most trips was what I liked the most — safely home in familiar surroundings, basking in the memories..

Charlie at Pisa, 1958

And now?  The jury is out.  I’m not even sure how much more traveling I want to do.  Do I have the energy?  The stamina?  Do I want to be one of those old ladies who spends much of a trip “resting” in her hotel room while my companions are out and about?  And for that matter, do I really want to travel with a group?  Or am I too set in my own ways of travel?  A lot to ponder…

On the other hand, I spoke to my son about the idea of traveling with me to the East Coast — maybe this Fall or next — “to visit the relatives.”  All of my first cousins (and several seconds) plus my good friends Barbara and John are “back east” and none of us are getting any younger.  Charlie, too, has relatives on his Father’s side back there. I thought maybe this Fall — but it’s getting here way too quickly.  Maybe a year from now — if Charlie is still willing…


If your mind isn’t open…

Sunday, August 21st, 2022

Today I find myself considering the words of wisdom I ran across in Sue Grafton’s M Is For Malice.  I’m sure I read them back in 1996 when that book came out — plunk in the middle of her Alphabet series which ended with Y Is For Yesterday in 2017.  Although she planned to finish with Z is for Zero in 2019, she died before even beginning to write it and, as her family and fans said at the time, “For us, the alphabet ends with Y.”

Since it’s been a full quarter century since I’ve read her M book, I’m more than hazy on the details.  And, even at the time, I’m sure I wasn’t reading these “down and dirty murder mysteries” (as Nyel called all paperback series of that ilk) for any wise words to live by.  But no sooner had I settled into this one than I read (on page 92):  “If your mind isn’t open, keep your mouth shut, too.”

Boy oh boy, do I wish I’d paid attention to those ten words way back when!  How many useless arguments or how much unnecessary angst would I have saved myself?  When I think about it, I am probably the Queen of Closed Minds.  “The way we’ve always done it…” or ” but it’s a tradition!”… or “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” are all phrases that come out of my mouth probably all too often.

I’d like to say that the closed mind part comes with age, but I’m not so sure that’s true.  I know lots of elders who are always up for new experiences and new adventures.  I am, too, until it comes to being the gatekeeper of history.  That’s when the second part of Grafton’s adage (well… it should be an adage) comes into play.  I do believe I need to work on that mouth part.  Beginning now.

When the Red House Cousins come to town…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

From Lexie’s FB Page – (Thanks Lexie!)

I went visiting this afternoon — four houses north and two generations south.  It was a hubbub of activity at the Red House as it has always been my live-long life!  Those cousins of mine can pack more activities and fun into a short stay than any other ten families I know.

As I knocked at the open door and walked into the kitchen, Anna was mixing a serious looking cocktail that involved egg whites and pisco (a kind of brandy) and Angostura bitters — “pisco being about 95 proof” said her dad, Jim.    “Beeg and I met pisco in Lima Peru seventeen years ago,” he told me.  “We brought the bottle back with us and last night was the first time it has been opened.”  Pisco Sours — one for me, one for Jim — we being the Honorable Elders of this particular family gathering.

Although, “gathering” doesn’t quite categorize what usually happens at the Red House!  More of a meet, greet, and off to fly a kite or take a swim or, in the case of Anna’s husband, Rob — to paint another section of the house with a fresh coat of red.  (Or at least that’s where I think he disappeared to!)

I caught glimpses of all five of the “youngers” — Lexie’s boys, Kahrs, Anders and Bo and Anna and Rob’s two, Anwyn and Walker.  But not all at the same time and not all doing the same thing.  Kahrs, flat on his back in the lane managing the kite flying overhead.  Anwyn in the kitchen, in the back yard, down the lane, in the tall grass.  Bigger kids so far out in the bay it was hard to tell who was who.  No one still.  Everyone having fun.

Red House Cousins!  Wow!  And that wasn’t all of them by any means — only the ones here and now.  YAY!

RCMQ Incognito!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

RCMQ – Incognito at the Oysterville Regatta Dinner

I’ve seen them in formal wear.  I’ve seen them in casual outfits.  But on Sunday at the Regatta Dinner was the first time I had ever seen the Rose City Mixed Quartet incognito!

The four of them — Mark Petersen, bass; Helen Dietz, alto; Dale Webber, tenor; Cameron Herbert, soprano; — had come for one of their periodic weekend visits.  Mark’s wife, Elo was with them which was a special treat and I was pleased that their stay in Oysterville coincided with our annual Regatta weekend.  To top things off, the weather was picture perfect.  Never mind that there was hardly enough wind to make it a proper sailboat race.  We happily cheered and clapped, were given ice cream bars by Regatta organizer Tucker Wachsmuth, and all had a marvelous time!

Our neighbors “four doors up,” Alan and Kathy Dees, hosted the Regatta Dinner this year — pulled pork or Buddha bowls with all the trimmings!  Then the Awards Ceremony, topped off by Commodore Tucker’s presentation of the Oyster Cup to first place winner, his son Clark Wachsmuth.  Closing the festivities was this year’s Regatta Song presented by Tucker with zany vocal accompaniment by Fred Carter.  A grand finale… we thought.

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Formal Wear

And then, when most of us were diving into dessert, came familiar voices singing “Ain’t Misbehaving.”  WOW!  “Did you know they were going to sing?” I asked Elo who was sitting next to me.  “No.  Not at all.”

As Tucker said the next morning, “It was like magic.  No one there knew who they were — just that they had been your guests at the Regatta, as such, were at the Dinner Party.  And suddenly, they were singing and there was just no mistaking that they were professionals!  Really!  It was like magic!”

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Casual Mode

The crowd gathered, standing, behind our front row seats and you could have heard a pin drop as we all listened.  Tucker had it right,  It was magical!  Then a standing ovation, introductions, and we all resumed our dessert.  The Rose City Mixed Quartet — no longer incognito in Oysterville!