Monday, December 2, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 12/01/19: Patrick and Meagan Arrived in Portland, Breakfast at Goose n the Tree, Good for My Soul

1. When Meagan glided downstairs and we wished each other a good morning, anxiety shadowed her face. She's been researching weather and driving conditions. Things looked dicey on the Columbia Gorge, snowy, icy, and windy. She wondered if she and Patrick might drive west toward Seattle before heading south on I-5 to Portland. The good news, though, was that Meagan and Patrick would be leaving Kellogg late in the morning, maybe even at noon. The travel advisory on the Columbia Gorge was due to be lifted at 4:00 p.m.

I suggested to Meagan that she and Patrick stop at my favorite Starbucks in the whole USA in Ritzville, go in, relax over a latte, and research the latest weather/road reports. Ritzville is where they would turn south to travel toward the Columbia Gorge or continue west, but, to continue west would mean contending with possible snowy conditions on Snoqualmie Pass.

Patrick and Meagan hit the road around 11:30. Meagan texted me a picture of Patrick hunched over his phone at a table in the Starbucks in Ritzville. The weather and road report was favorable. They would head south. Patrick texted me a while later from the Tri-Cities telling me they had taken a lunch break. About two and a half hours later, Patrick (as Meagan's passenger, btw) reported they were about forty minutes out of Portland. They encountered light snowfall, but were doing well.

Shortly after 7, they arrived home.

2. Before Meagan and Patrick struck out for Portland, we ate a delicious breakfast together at  Goose n the Tree Fresh Baked Cafe in Pinehurst. Over breakfast, we had relaxed conversation and Patrick worked a crossword puzzle and solicited occasional aid from Meagan and me. Coincidentally, on occasion, a song or two from The Last Waltz came on over the cafe sound system and moved Meagan and me to remark how fun it had been to listen to that album last night. I was very happy with my Eggs Benedict, made with crab, and hash browns and Meagan and Patrick enjoyed their food, too.

Just before heading out the door, we all put our arms around each other, forming a little circle of goodbye and gratitude, marking the end of a relaxed, most convivial, and vibrant weekend together. I enjoyed giving myself over to the rhythms of Patrick and Meagan's routines and ways of deciding what to do. Things were low key, unrushed, unscheduled, and, often until a last moment, undecided. Our days together were peaceful and comfortable. They were easy. I hope we see each other again soon.

3. I loved these last few days. I hosted two Thanksgiving dinners. I very much enjoyed helping prepare a salmon dinner and then a turkey dinner and then enjoyed eating around a small table that made sustained and interesting conversation possible between Christy, Everett, and me in the company of four superb young adults in our lives: Molly and Travis and then Patrick and Meagan. Yes, I enjoy larger family gatherings, too, but I found these two smaller get togethers especially fulfilling and calm.

So, with the house empty, and having been up with Charly at around 5-5:30 two or three mornings in a row, I spent the rest of the day sitting still, working crosswords, taking a few short naps, and reflecting upon my good fortune. I froze leftover mashed potatoes and left over cornbread dressing and filled zip lock bags. Late in the afternoon, I made myself a turkey, mustard, cranberry compote, and cornbread dressing sandwich on a plain bagel. I drank seltzer water. Mostly, I sat in silence: very little music, no college basketball, no movies.

The quiet, my gratitude, and the resting were good for my soul.

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