Monday, June 1, 2009
It was time to get out of town last week to see my folks in Bend. In addition, Rachael and her new husband Brandon were planning on visiting his folks and friends as well, so it made for a nice family get-together. The drive from the coast through the very green Willamette Valley and over the Cascades was very pleasant, sunny, and full of springtime flowering plants. The snow had gone from the mountain road sides and I made good driving time in about five hours.
Since Bend has a Costco and some other favorite stores like Trader Joe’s, I spent the second day stocking up and shopping with Rachael. She accompanied me to my hair appointment and we went to lunch in downtown Bend. Thursday my mom made a great chicken dinner for my entire family and having all of us together was very special. Since the day was so warm, at nearly 90, we spent some time out on the front porch getting caught up and after dinner the kids headed off in my father’s ATV for some back country rambling. My parent’s property abuts huge swaths of undeveloped Juniper-filled high desert great for exploring.
Saturday arrived and Brandon’s parents, Becky and Peter, were gracious enough to invite me, son Neil and wife Hillary and other friends over for a fresh halibut dinner. The halibut was compliments of Peter’s recent fishing trip to Alaska so was fresh off the boat and excellently baked by Peter! They have a lovely home half way up the butte overlooking killer views of the Deschutes River, Smith Rocks, and on east to the distant mountains past Prineville. The evening had developed thunder storms so a haze filled the air making it difficult to fully capture the view on camera. I neglected to get any pictures of our hosts but I did have an interesting conversation with Letha and Bill, who have just adopted a beautiful three and a half year old girl from Vladivostok, Russia. Leeza came to them from an orphanage having been abandoned by her mother at birth, so spoke no English just a few weeks ago. Now she is beginning to babble in both languages and has an engaging and very sweet disposition. The adoption process was quite arduous, requiring their presence twice in Russia, and the last time took a month.
Upon the evening’s ending, it was bittersweet saying goodbye to my kids. Brandon doesn’t expect to leave Washington again until he deploys to Afghanistan in July and they were leaving early Sunday as was I. Thank you Peter and Becky for a marvelous evening; it was a wonderful send-off for Brandon and we all wish him Godspeed and a safe return in a year.