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Pretty scenery. Pretty people. I'm allowed to say my family has pretty people, right?

Mom, Dad, Aunt Nancy Weare and I all got up the Columbia River Gorge today, for two reasons:

1) Aunt Nancy Weare was here from her usual home of Guam.

2) My cousin Rob P. was here with his family from their usual home of Copenhagen. Yes, Denmark.

Also today is Aunt Nancy's birthday, and we had the means and the time to get together, visit, and celebrate. I'm glad we did, because -- lack of dysfunction time! -- my family's pretty awesome.

The folks and Aunt Nancy picked me up reasonably early this morning, and we got out of Portland headed east. Dicey traffic, including a guy in a pickup who almost drifted from the right lane into the side of Dad's car, but we made good time and we made it to my Aunt Pat and Uncle Bill's home in White Salmon, Washington. I've enthused about this house somewhere and somewhen in my journal before. Custom design by their architect son, Rob P. -- handsome guy, too, in a "taller Brendan Fraser" way -- that they built in the mid-90s. Neat house. It has a third-story tower for an even-better view of Mt. Hood across the Columbia River. I say "even better" because the mountain view from other parts of the house are pretty good, too. Plus there's a view right to a wide spot in the Columbia just west of Hood River. You see...Much. It's just a big view.

I've gotten to house-sit at this house. That's an awesome job.

So we had a nice slice of the extended family. Let's see: me, Mom and Dad; Aunt Nancy Weare*; Aunt Pat, Uncle Bill, and both their kids Rob P. and Meg; Rob's wife Sara, and their kids Markus, Amalia and Olivia; Meg's boyfriend Scott; and Meg's energetic, smiling toy Eskimo** Jasmine. And we visited, both inside in a comfortable house and outside on a comfortable, nothing-but-sunny day.

There was food, brownies, stories, laughs, beer (for those of us older than the kids), and a "Barbie dress cake." As in, a cake built like a dress surrounding a doll that I don't think is a Barbie doll, but I wouldn't know Barbie stuff. That was a specific request of Amalia, one of the kids; I think she helped make it, even. Good cake, too.

There was also a poem, or something headed in the direction of poetry: Mom had asked if I could write something for Aunt Nancy's birthday, and I did. I recited it, even. That poem's not for here; it's for her. I gave Aunt Nancy my copy of it, even (and I asked Mom if she could print up the poem later in her handwriting, since hers is much nicer than mine). I'm not replicating it here because it has in-references that'd take a bit to explain. Example: near the end of the poem I pulled out a bag of crackers. In Guam, crackers take so long to get shipped there and it's so humid that you can almost bend them. "These are a REAL treat," Aunt Nancy said as she took the bag of crackers I'd proffered.

OK. That's all of the day I want to share. I'm home now, though traffic seemed to want to keep us from doing so; Dad was good enough to follow my suggestion and take Portland surface roads, not a backed-up I-84, to get me back. Winding down now. Oh, yeah, I can wind down by writing.

I hope your day was its own kind of good.

* I keep giving her full name because I have an Aunt Nancy Walsh. Just referring to either of them as "Aunt Nancy" or "Aunt Nancy W." just won't work.

** "Toy Eskimo" can give the wrong imagine, can't it? But adding "dog" to the description might be redundant.


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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