I spent so much of my growing up time tapping my foot, waiting to blow the small town dust off my britches, and then spent the NEXT twenty years looking over my shoulder heaving a sigh of relief that I HAD escaped. Last weekend, I roadtripped with my sister and Joe-Henry back to the old stompin' grounds to hang with my brother, his daughter and her sweet family, and to catch up on the lives of friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in at least 30 years. And I realized how much I had missed it - this town where I grew up. It seems more beautiful to me each time I visit.
We packed baseball gloves and ice cold pops and I took my camera. I burned some cd's for the road, and both coming and going we sang and soaked in the gorgeous scenery. The Columbia Gorge is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and just outside the Dalles, we saw a herd of Big Horn sheep grazing the narrow rock wall above us. There was no stopping to take pictures, the road was too narrow, but suffice to say that we were all in awe. I did manage to get some pics once we hit the Palouse, but mostly the camera was used to take shots of sweet Isaac, my nieces two year old boy.
Joe-Henry fell in love with Isaac, and although they'd met before, Isaac is more mobile and talkative now, and Joe-Henry really relished being like an older brother. It's a role he'd be very, very good at, and I loved seeing him have the opportunity to be a good role model. He also wore out all of our arms playing catch, and one evening he was just so close to driving me crazy that my brother suggested a drive. I took my camera, and we went up to a big ball field and while Joe-Henry and my brother and sister played and JH ran and ran and ran, I managed to get some shots of the most amazing sunset I've ever seen. The hills surrounding the valley I grew up in are so luscious and voluptuous. I never saw them that way before, but this time they just took my breath away.
We played a killer game of Monopoly, and now I'm convinced that my fairly quiet, sweet brother has a secret cave of money somewhere. He truly has a killer instinct at that game, and should he ever decide to do so, he'd be an EXCELLENT land baron! We also laughed so hard we all leaked from somewhere. Drooling, weeping, peeing - we did it all. My stomach hurt the next day from laughing so hard.
Our last night there, Joe-henry and my sister watched Isaac while my brother went to his Fantasy Football meeting and I went to have dinner with friends I hadn't seen in forever. These were the people that started me on the path to the Theater, people that even all these years later I feel completely comfortable with and truly love being around. We met doing Babes In Arms at Lewiston Civic Theater in 1977, and even though the years have taken us all in different directions, it took no time at all to feel as though no time had passed. It filled up my heart to the brim and over just to sit around the table and tell stories and laugh. My fondest hope is that it won't be another 30 years before I see them again!
Coming home that night, I was swinging on a star, and I guess Joe-Henry was a big help to my sister, because as you can see, Isaac pooped out before his mom came to get him!
We made the drive back the next day, taking our time stopping to stretch and take in the charms of the small farm towns along the way, marveling at the changes in the scenery, what with the wind turbines and the millions of wineries populating what used to be miles and miles of nothing.
But the best part of going away is always coming home, and my husband, who should win some sort of prize just for being a sexy kilt-wearing beast, surprised me by painting the dining room while we were gone. He had two whole days to himself, and he chose one of those days to do something he knew would make me smile. I love that man to the moon and back again.
And now the countdown to our next trip begins. Less than a month to go, then SCOTLAND! My traveling shoes are so happy.