Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Oregon Coast Days: Assignment #18 (and Sunday Scribblings)

I assigned InlandEmpireGirl and Silver Valley Girl and me to write about the Oregon Coast. You can find IEGirl's post here and SVGirl's post here. Both of their stories are very funny. What's more, this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "ocean".

I hate to admit it, but I was married twice before the Deke and I got married almost ten years ago. I suffered particularly acutely when my first wife and I divorced. I bring this up, because the cabin my family and I stayed at for several visits to the coast was one that I learned about when married to my first wife and it was with her that I first stayed there.

Consequently, our family get togethers at the coast were, for me, always tinged with melancholy and a dose of self-pity. At some point during our visits, I would find a way to separate myself from the others and I'd go to beach, the indifferent waves crashing harshly on the rocks, and I'd be sad, the unrelenting waves and the impervious changes in the tide impressing upon me how the larger world itself was oblivious to my suffering.

But, the beauty of those waves and the power of the gravitational forces that pulled the ocean's rhythms in and out transported me beyond my confusion and pulled me out of my longing and my deep sense of failure.

So did my family. Mom and Dad loved the ocean. Dad loved the seagulls and the sunsets. Mom loved the view and the beauty of the water. The ocean climate and scenery embodied a world so very different than North Idaho and they loved the feeling of being in a whole new place.

I have the oddest memory that really isn't much of a memory, but that has stuck with me over the years. Maybe a little background first: when it came to gift buying and doing special things in our family, Mom was in charge. This was true whether it was the holidays or just something as simple as bringing home a new breakfast cereal or a new kind of soda pop on the market. We always knew that Mom took care of the Sears Santa Claus orders and that Dad helped support the gifts and other special things with his wages, but he didn't often show up at home after being uptown with some kind of little thing for Mom or for us kids. (I don't remember this being a problem. I think we all knew it was the way things were.)

Well, one of the Augusts that we were at the coast, Dad got up early and went out to take a walk around Yachats. Yachats is a nice town to walk around in. The ocean is visible from nearly every street. Yachats is small (so Dad wouldn't get lost). When the fog breaks and sun comes out, the air is clean and moist with salt.

Dad went out to get a cup of coffee. I think he wanted to see of any of the local boys had a coffee cronie corner somewhere that he might be able to join in on and find out what was going on around town these days. Dad loved to do this. He'd find someone willing to talk and he'd ask questions about the houses or how the myrtle trees grew sideways and find out how far east the sand dunes moved each year and come up with some crazy (and hilarious) calculation about how long it would take the dunes to reach Kellogg.

Well, this particular morning, I don't know if he found any locals to shoot the breeze with, but he did find a doughnut shop and brought a box of doughnuts back to the cabin.

That's pretty much the end of the story. I loved those doughnuts. I loved that he found the doughnut shop (on his own) and thought we'd like to have doughnuts that morning. He was all smiles when he walked in the door and we were all smiles when he arrived.

It's not a funny story. It's not really monumental. But it's always stuck with me. Those doughnuts really made me happy.


InlandEmpireGirl said...

You captured another side of Dad beautifully in this piece. Again, it is amazing the different perspectives we have on the same writing prompt.

Silver Valley Girl said...

That is a great story. I don't remember the donuts, but what a touching moment for you to remember. Those Oregon Coast days were sure a special time.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

I love the Oregon coast. I haven't seen much of it, but in 2004 my husband and I took our first family vacation. (Too bad none of the girls could join us. They all either worked or had other places they would rather be.) We went to Cannon Beach, and the beauty took my breath away. The first thing I noticed were the gigantic hydrangeas. The blossom clusters were as big as my head! (large). I fell in love with the place, all the little walkways and shops. I think I ate salmon every night.
Last year, we made a second trip to the coast - but stayed in Seaside. The accomdations were stellar, but I still liked Cannon Beach better. We took day trips to Astoria, and Tillamook, but never got as far south as the rest of you.

Oh, yea, Kit bought me a hydrangea bush to plant here. I am still waiting to see if it will come out of hybernation!

Katrina said...

It's funny how lifelong memories can be made of the smallest things. I so enjoyed this simple story, and the backdrop of your personal experience that made the joy of a doughnut something transcendent in its own small way.

I love your writing, rp.

Jennifer said...

This post makes me think of how the simple things in life are what we remember. I remember little things that my parents have done over the years. Not the big life changing obvious moments, but those little heart warming times. I try to do this as a parent, those funny, or heart warming times that makes my family smile. Your post reminded me how important this is.

Rob Kistner said...

Raymond - We live near and spend much time on the Oregon Coast, north to south. Reading your post was like taking a little familiar trip. Enjoyed it!