And We'll Fly Just Like Birds Of A Feather
The brief weekend sojourn to Portland turned out to be rather hectic - I was there for a whopping 42 hours - but quite enjoyable nonetheless, due mainly to getting a chance to see my dad, and the "surprise appearance" of a couple of cousins I only see on rare occasions, as well as a very pleasant visit with my soon-to-be 93 year-old grandmother.
All things considered, everyone seems to be doing quite well. Dad is looking as good as I've seen him in ages, everyone else seems equally hale and hearty, and even my grandmother, who has had some not insignificant health setbacks recently, was looking surprisingly well.
And the kiddies - where-oh-where did all these darned kids come from? (It's a rhetorical question.) There must have been 15 under-teens - mostly in the newborn-to-four year-old range - spread out like kudzu in a cotton field on Friday at my uncle and aunt's condo in N. Portland. There were literally so many underfoot it was almost impossible to avoid stepping on one - which did in fact occur on a number of occasions.
Not that I dislike kids, mind you, but the sheer number was, well, a bit overwhelming for those of us not used to having them around on a day-to-day basis, and despite all, I found it necessary to retreat next door to my other aunt and uncle's adjoining condo for the 4th of July fireworks festivities.
I had initially intended to take the train back up to Seattle on Saturday evening, in order to make my Noon rehearsal call on Sunday, but my cousin Kim convinced me to stick around, enticing me with the promise of a chauffered trip north the next morning. I hemmed and hawed - for about 30 seconds - since it really was way above-and-beyond the call of duty on her part, but again, we have so few opportunities to get together these days (she lives in Phoenix), that eventually I gave in to her persistence.
As it turned out, plans changed considerably in the interim. Her boyfriend Dave, whom I finally was able to meet for the first time, had to fly back on Saturday night, so the two of them, along with one of my nephews, and Kim's "adopted sister" Diane had a pleasant dinner before whooshing Dave off to the airport, after which we dropped Mark off at the condo's, while Kim, Diane and I ventured downtown to check out the annual Portland Blues Festival.
Which, as it turns out was a bit of a bust, unless one considers listening to several hours of Zydeco (not an unpleasant musical experience per se) to be the height of "blues music". We could have stuck around for some more diverse acts (Charlie Musselwhite was the headliner that evening), but ironically, they were groups with which I was already familiar (e.g. Duffy Bishop, a long-standing Seattle blues maven), and frankly, even the people-watching left something to be desired.
So, we headed back to the condos, and ended up spending the evening watching a movie ("Mad Money", not a bad flick, just not one I would have paid $10 to see in a crowded movie theatre) before the three of us finally hit a wall of exhaustion around 10:00 p.m.
I checked out of my hotel room (directly across the street from the condo's - tres convenient!) bright and early Sunday morning, schlepped my meagre luggage over to my rendezvous with - Diane, as it turned out. She had already planned to drive to Seattle en route to Wenatchee, where she was going to spend a couple of days with friends, and somehow had been convinced to drag me along as a passenger, which did make sense, since there was really no other reason for Kim to drive up than just to take me home.
We had a pleasant trip, made good time, getting into town around 11:00 a.m., with plenty of time for me to drop off my gear at the apartment, grab my script, feed the cats (my upstairs neighbors being gone for the day), and head back down the hill, directing Diane to a local purveyor of fine Danish malt beverages on her way down to the waterfront, before walking in to rehearsal - which unbeknownst to me had been pushed back to 1:00 p.m.
Well, better too early than too late.
(Note to the family: Yes, Diane and I got along just fine on the trip, but don't expect anything more; she's quite serious about her boyfriend. Still, thanks for trying!)
on 10:27 PM