Family, food, travel, other obsessions.
I know. It’s been a really long time since I’ve written.
I won’t bother filling in blanks right now.
Instead, I’ll give thanks in a few words and lots of images. The Palouse Valley is rather picturesque.
We skated out of town Tuesday night, arriving on Moscow Mountain in the middle of the night, as we have so many other times over the years.
Wednesday morning Ted and the boys got right to work helping Papa split and stack wood for the cold front that is hovering on the weather radar.
A particularly powerful motivator for the boys to help with the wood is the chance to drive Papa’s funky little Kubota, affectionately known as “Bota.” They can live out their driving fantasies on the short stretch between the wood pile and the house, the endless view of the mountain above and the valley below giving the illusion of far grander journeys.
While the boys stacked wood and Kathy fought off a killer migraine, I made huckleberry pie, paying my annual homage to my Grandma Clara by making her pie crust recipe. I doubt she ever made huckleberry pie, since huckleberries only grow wild, and I don’t think they grow at all in central Utah where she lived, but I think she would have approved nonetheless.
Thursday Kathy and I worked hard to have dinner ready by 2:00. There is no room I love better than the kitchen.
At the table, we paused to say what we’re especially thankful for this year. The list included Mo, born in July to Sam and Neala. His arrival means our boys finally have a Warren cousin. It also means we finally have someone to whom we can re-gift many of the strange and wonderful gifts his then-single father once gave our boys, including the screeching bat and the drum set. Not that I hold a grudge.
We also offered up many thanks for another year that Jon/Papa is stronger than his cancer. His constant activity and positive outlook leave us ever grateful.
Early dinner time had several advantages, including plenty of time to walk over the grassy fields, past the pond and the old combine to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to a sick neighbor.
Eating dinner early left plenty of time for leftovers, which for some of us is the main point. It also left time for Grammie to dominate at Scrabble. I don’t think any of the boys stood a chance. As you can tell, I didn’t even try.
Yesterday Grandma took the boys ice skating in town. Everyone returned intact. I don’t think Kathy skated with the boys, for which they should probably be grateful, since she could probably still skate them into the ground.
Kathy and Jon filled the air with music in the afternoon. I was just reminded today that they met in orchestra at San Rafael High when she was a pixie-ish 14 year-old clarinettist and he was 15. They have, as the saying goes, been making music together ever since. It’s reassuring to know that they keep at it, even when she hollers “How about counting?” when he gets offbeat, and he asks “Why?!” That’s the point, isn’t it? Make a little music, get off beat, keep playing. They should know after 52 years of marriage. I like listening to their steady cadence.
Today brought another walk, this time up the mountain with neighbors Len and Susan. We encountered just a bit of snow amid lots of rich conversation.
After the walk we headed down West Twin road to Woodbury’s Christmas Tree Farm. Getting our tree in Moscow and tying it to our Subaru for the long haul back to Tacoma has become an almost-annual tradition. We found a rather magnificent Grand fir, adhering, of course, to Ted’s philosophy that you can’t just pick the first nice tree you come to. You have to move away from the road. Sure enough, our bushy tree was up the mountain, through fields of mud, standing majestically amid a gangly flock of Frasier firs. It was love at first sight for all of us, an almost unheard-of convergence of evergreen opinion.
Grayson got to practice his driving skills to and from the tree farm. He did fine. My knuckles were only mildly white. (Am I old enough to have a child who drives? I didn’t think so.)
Ted and his dad got chains on the tractor tonight before it got too dark. Lots to do to keep this lovely place ready for winter.
Papa’s in bed now — always the first one — while Ted and the boys and Grammie chat and text and email in the other room. We’ll head home tomorrow, hoping it won’t be a full year again before we head up this mountain to the welcoming lights of home.