We drove to Bend Thursday to spend the weekend with the MNF Investments group, our annual Central Oregon Weekend. Here are some scattered observations as recorded in my keen new moleskine notebook.
Desert sun seeps this morning, soft and warm on skin. Friends, groggy, gather at the table. Coffee, grapefruit, donuts. Tired eyes peer over steaming mugs, exchanging smiles and greetings.
Arrived later than expected. We left late, headed over Government Pass. The roads were clear and the traffic light, but coming off the mountain onto the Warm Springs Indian Reservation roadwork forced a detour through hills and canyons. Nasty roads at night, rife with switchbacks and sudden drops. Across the canyons we can see the twisting and turning of headlights as cars wind their way down. Open range country, too, with always the possibility of cattle in the road.
A slow start on Friday morning. The sun is out and the skies are clear, though the breeze turns to wind during the day. As we eat breakfast a group of deer pass by the deck; first one, then three, then five, then eight. Eight deer outside the windows, just beyond the deck. I go outside to photograph them. They are more cautious than startled and amble away. All but one. One poses. It allows me to inch closer, crouching, afraid to press the shutter. When the shot is framed at last, I shoot. The deer is wary. I shoot again and it bolts. My third shot is of the deer's hindquarters as it leaps through the brush.
Saturday morning the men are all up at 7 a.m. and together in the hot tub. The women sleep. When I come inside at 8, Kris is up. The group eats breakfast. I'm sitting in the living room and Jeremy comes in, turns on the television. It's Cliffhanger with Sylvester Stallone. He cranks the volume. The women complain. I leave.
Sunny Saturday. Kris and I drive to downtown Bend so that she can do some shopping and, more importantly, so that I may get my haircut at the Metropolitan Barber Shop. I get my hair cut here every year. The Metropolitan is an old-fashioned shop, lots of chatting and friendly banter, always busy. Four barbers are cutting but the line is still eight to ten people deep.
Wall Street is closed. Jim, the man who cuts my hair ( a big round beaming man, completely bald) tells me that the street is closed for the Procession of the Species, an Earth Day parade. He asks me where I'm from. I tell him I'm from Canby and he asks if I know Jerry Serveau. The name is familiar, and I tell him so. Jerry, he says, used to cut hair at Hair of Today in Canby (my regular barber shop) before buying the Metropolitan (which he no longer owns).
Oh! Of course I know Jerry. He cut my hair when I was a kid. I remember him well. I remember eating Dum-Dums suckers while waiting in line. I remember reading comic books (Star Wars #25 sticks in my mind -- I'm a great fan of the Marvel Star Wars run, so here are a couple of other related links: one, two, three). I remember walking to Mary Jo's Book Exchange and the Canby Public Library if the line was especially long or if I was waiting while my brothers had their hair cut.
Most of all, I remember that my family traded our parrot, a yellow-naped Amazon named Sammy, to Jerry for one hundred haircuts. Jerry had an index card and had written out the number from one to one hundred. Every time we got a haircut he crossed out one of the numbers.
Jim is amazed.
He stops cutting my hair and tells me that Jerry still has that parrot. In fact, he tells that story (about trading 100 haircuts for the bird) all of the time. Jerry moved to Brookings for a time, but is returning to Bend and will be cutting hair at the Metropolitan again. I tell Jim that I'll be back next year and hope to see Jerry.
We meet Eila for lunch. She's happy, as usual. She and Sam are preparing to adopt an infant girl from China. She's excited. She recommends the book Fast Food Nation (by Eric Schlosser).
After lunch we drop by the Book Barn. I pick up Fast Food Nation. I also buy Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (by Joseph J. Ellis), which Kris is reading (and enjoying) on Duane's recommendation, and Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (by V.S. Naipaul). I've never read Naipaul before, but crave more Islam-related material after reading Nine Parts of Desire. The book is great. Naipaul is a fantastic writer, clear and simple but piercing and direct. (A review of Among the Believers ought to be coming in the next couple of days.)
Sunday afternoon. All is still. The sun is shining behind white fluffy clouds and birds call from among the trees. They twitter and chirp.
The boy next door calls for his dog and, finding the animal (a Shih Tzu) stretched on the warm asphalt of the driveway, he squats to pet it for several minutes before lifting the dog, draping it over his shoulder, and carrying it inside.
A small breeze rises, very slight, but even this gentle gust of wind brings a great murmuring whisper from the scrub pines, a communal arboreal prayer.
Later another boy (probably the older brother) brings the dog out to relieve itself.
"Hey, Dad, whistle for Whit," he says.
The father whistles and the dog prances toward him. The father praises Whit: "Hey, buddy. You look good. Yeah you do!"
The dog prances. The father laughs.
The breeze carries the warm sweet muskiness of the Spring pines, earthy and pungent. The breeze brings warmer air, brushing away the coolness of the porch.
On this day at foldedspace.org
2005 — On Education Lately I've been thinking a lot about education. What is it? What's the best way to obtain it? What part of my education has been most memorable?
2004 — Internet Radio Here at work, I don't really have the disk space to house a lot of songs, so my best option for music variety is internet radio stations.
2003 — In Passing Well, I'm here, only to find out that Grandmother died early this evening while I was in transit. I am majorly sad.