We flew back to Seattle from Alaska for some family time and just plain old vacation.
With Wayne’s brother and his wife we visited Pike’s Place Market with the original Starbucks, cruised Lake Washington in his brother’s boat and had dinner on their condo building rooftop with the Space Needle, Mount Rainier and the Olympic mountains as a stunning sunset backdrop.
The Labor Day weekend began with a Saturday morning football game in a suburb east of the city featuring Wayne’s grandson Dexter, a 12-year-old superstar (!) quarterback coached by his dad, Wayne’s son Jared, who paced the sidelines with the focus and intensity of a Vince Lombardi. Coach Jared was ably assisted by John Martin, Wayne’s son-in-law, Marine combat veteran and all-around motivational spark plug for the team. (We discovered around the campfire later that one of John’s hidden talents is doing a knockout rendition of the Cowardly Lion’s “If I were King of the Forest” from the “Wizard of Oz.” This is sure to become a campfire tradition.)
We all cheered and stomped the bleachers in the Seattle heat, yes heat, as Dexter nailed two touchdown passes. For us, it was a rare opportunity to share in the everyday lives of our children and grandchildren, the kind of experiences we miss living so far away in New Mexico. With our own girls’ hearts anchored in New Mexico we talked yet again about how we have led a kind of dual life. Whatever it means, we love and have roots in both the NW and the SW.
After the game, Wayne’s brother and his wife hosted a family gathering at their cabin at Lake Cushman on the Olympic Peninsula, which included Wayne’s son Jared and daughter Jaime with their spouses and children–quite a crew of 13! Our campfire and guitar sing-alongs lasted well into the night.School and work siphoned everyone else back to Seattle so we had a few days to swim and kayak around the lake and hike in the Olympic National Park, where we were enthralled by the rain forest and Carol and her camera had to halt every two steps for another shot.
As we packed up to drive south, down the coast to Astoria, Oregon, where we watched the ocean going ships come up the mouth of the Columbia River during a spectacular sunset, we realized that we were now starting our journey home. We talked about how a labyrinth represents a journey and how different the energy is going in and coming out. It’s a bittersweet feeling to leave our families, but we’ve had our moments of homesickness and traveling back toward the southwest felt like we had a fresh wind at our backs.
After a day with friends who drove out from Portland to see us in Astoria, which included a hike out to the literal end of the Trail where Lewis and Clark looked out from Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the Columbia River, we drove down the coastal highway to Waldport. There we enjoyed a reunion with Carol’s family at her Mom and step-Dad’s house with her two brothers and some of their families. We walked the cold but fantastic beaches with waves crashing over the rocks, relished home made delicacies, (nobody cooks like Mom), and walked out to a Lighthouse.
One evening Carol’s Mom and her husband invited a group of their friends who are involved in community and human rights issues to their house for several hours of conversation about our journey. Their keen interest made for lively and challenging interaction. The group included a retired Methodist pastor and his wife, an immigrant from Chile, and an immigrant couple from Mexico. He heads a local organization that assists Spanish-speakers who have come to work on the central Oregon coast in recent decades.
Over the next few days, we’ll continue our rambles down the coast of Oregon and California to rendezvous with our three daughters in the San Francisco Bay area. We plan to show them the hospital where they were born and San Francisco Theological Seminary where we lived when they were little.
In the next few days we’ll post another blog about our meeting with Irv Porter, pastor of the Church of the Indian Fellowship in Puyallup, Washington and a leader in the Native American Consulting Committee of the Presbyterian Church.