to Joseph, Oregon
with Buzzy, Dianne, Cheyenne & Cody Crowe
Dear friends & classmates,
This past summer, Dianne, Cheyenne, Cody and I had the opportunity to spend a few
weeks traveling in the west. As on our previous trips, we had a great time and
shared adventures both big and small. I would like to share our trip with those
of you who might have an interest.
In later installments, I will include pictures and
commentary on some of the special places we visited, but right now I want to recount
one particular day of our trip.
We have just completed a perfect day of exploring Hells
Canyon (on the Snake river between Oregon and Idaho) on a jet boat. We saw beauty
and power reflected in the canyon and the river. A cloudless blue sky attended us
all day, and the warmth of the day was a perfect counterpoint to the bracing chill
of the water following a swim in the river. The discoveries of the day were
continuous; we saw yearling Bald eagles, deer, bighorn sheep and a black bear.
The end of the day found us on the patio of a little
brew pub in Joseph, OR (a small and charming town in northeast part of the state).
The boys were allowed to accompany us, and they were served individual bowls of ice
water while we sampled the local microbrews and ate onion rings served by the foot
on a spindle.
After dinner we returned to our cabin at Wallowa
(pronounced Wah Low' (ow, as in how) Wa) Lake at the edge of the Eagle Cap
Wilderness in the Wallowa Mountains. I decided to sit for a while at the
picnic table by the side of the cabin and watch the tame deer wandering about.
(From here on, I will switch to the present tense for
reasons that I have mentioned in the past). As I sit here in the early twilight, I
can hear the sounds of a Go-kart track in an RV park a couple of blocks away.
Through the trees I can see one corner of the track. Now, some may feel that the
cacophony of a bunch of Go-karts is inconsistent with a peaceful mountain setting,
but I was not in the least offended. To the contrary, I relish the sights and
sounds. These are the sounds of unbridled happiness; of family and friends sharing
something more than some noisy little vehicles going around a track. I hear the
girlish squeals of mock terror and the hoots of young men. There are summer
memories being made here. Groups of pre-teens and teens clap and cheer for their
favorite driver of the moment. I see glimpses of color as the cars race round the
track. Every now and then I see the flash of a camera as it captures a time and
place that will be warmly recalled many times through the years. There is such a
wholesomeness and innocence to the entire scene that I am overwhelmed. I find
myself savoring the moment and am a little disappointed every time the whine of the
engines stop for a change of drivers. In the lull, I hear the rushing of the river
and the night sounds of the forest. I wait with anticipation for one final
explosion of unapologetic joy and enthusiasm before the park shuts down at 10 pm.
As I wait, I am joined by Dianne and the boys, and I share my reflections. We spend
a few more moments enjoying the sublime experience, then I am compelled to retreat
to the inside of our cabin to record my thoughts so that I can keep them forever,
and so that I can be accurate when I someday share them with my friends. I shake
out a little pile of peanut M&M's on the table and munch them as I write. I
hope I capture something that will stir a personal memory for many of you.
If any of you ever have the chance to visit Joseph, I
hope you will do so. The town is only a few blocks long, but its charm is
king-size. There are life-size bronze sculptures on every corner and tucked in the
patios beside some of the shops. I have included a little photo tour that shows some
of what is to be found there.
That's all for now my friends. It's been nice talking
Your friend & classmate,