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What's out there.

The Kenton Paul Bunyan

Wednesday was an out-and-about day. Several hours driving, some errands, many sights, and many thoughts. This entry won't be elegant about it — it'll just show some of what I saw and did.

The only definite goals I had for the drive was to get comics at Bridge City; to drive in general for a bit; to fill up the car if I got close to an empty tank; and to eat when needed. While, as I have been, protecting myself as best as possible from the virus.

I started with an indulgence. Iced blended drink and a granola bar from Dutch Bros. near the house. The people working the booth were in a reasonably good, friendly mood. My one thing I planned to do and didn't, though, was add a tip, but they were okay about that.

My zigzagging drive to N. Mississippi and the comic shop took me to Grand Ave., and past the now-reopened bar My Father's Place. I hadn't known this. I was and am relieved to see it back. Then Bridge City Comics, for the first time in a few weeks — weekly comics are coming out again after a hiatus — and more "Why not? Go that way" driving.


To St. Johns this time. More zigzagging: a brief stop at the Belmont Goats near Lombard, up and (later) down the neighborhood's commercial district, then an impromptu stop at Kelley Point Park, where the Willamette River flows into the Columbia. Watching the waves and the boats, while also staying vigilant for mosquitoes. I wasn't vigilant enough. Darn. I got some bites even through my shirt. Grr. Argh.

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More zigzag-driving, to get closer to empty. I went to the Kenton neighborhood, on Denver Ave. just south of Interstate Ave. where it bends a bit. There I got out and walked.

Po'shines, a longtime Kenton soul food restaurant, and Disjecta next door had put up memorials for black people who have been killed by police: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, and Ahmaud Arbery. A large photo of each of them, the years they were killed, and the cities where they were killed. A protest, one of so many, for so many who have died. "I AM GEORGE FLOYD A MAN," said another poster in a Disjecta window.

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Life went on around me, including a farmer's market, closing up for the day. So, there were many people, and except for a shouting match at a bus stop, the overall mood seemed good if subdued. "Good if subdued" is probably a good goal for now, considering how the last few months have gone.

Driving again. At an intersection I looked over at a lawn concert: people sitting on a house's lawn and the sidewalk next to it, as a rock band played.


Then to the St. Johns Fred Meyer Fuel Center; the Kroger-brand gas stations have gone back to having their workers pump gas, unlike last month (the last time I fueled up) when it was self-serve, unusual for Oregon. After that, I ducked into the store to use the restroom: I didn't shop, because it makes sense for me to wait until July 1st to shop at Freddy's stores again because those purchases will count towards reward and fuel points in the next rewards period. Strategic shopping; and strategic peeing (I wouldn't have a chance to stop again for that until I got home)...

Then a rambling route towards home. As I drove eastward on Lombard, a line of cars drove in a protest headed westward: "Black Lives Matter" and "Defund the Police" signs, and drivers honking in solidarity and support. I did so, too.

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To make sure I knew more, because I want to get back there soon, I made a stop at My Father's Place to see what restrictions are in place for eating there. While I was in the Central Eastside, I also visited a restaurant that didn't reopen: Le Bistro Montage, which had announced earlier that day that they'd be closed permanently. I've been there a few times, the first in spring 2001 soon after moving to Portland; and it was an institution for many Portlanders. Already on the plywood covering the front door was graffiti of a tombstone, marked "1992-2020." On another outer Montage wall, "Thank you Portland."

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Back to my neighborhood, after that. I made one more stop at Dutch Bros., getting a decaf drink that was somewhere between a frappé and a milkshake, and also adding a larger-than-normal tip to make up for my earlier purchase where I hadn't tipped. Then the McDonald's nearest where I live: more drive-thru food. I came home and ate it on the front porch.


I saw a lot that Wednesday, that trip. Then I indulged with an evening shower, as it had been a warm day.

This has not been my most polished journal entry, but it was one I wanted to get written.


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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