Friday, May 10, 2019

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY



I had intended to make this bittersweet journey sometime next week, but the weather forecasted for next week wasn’t agreeable, so I decided to do it today.

But first I drove across the border to Toyota in Kelso, and got my windshield wipers switched out; after dodging road work crews y.e.t.a.g.a.i.n…

Road work being done near R.A. Long High School downtown.
WHY does the county wait until the busiest time of the year to schedule road work????

I noticed yesterday when I ran the wipers across my windshield with windshield cleaner fluid to wipe the road dust off the windshield so I could see clearly, that they didn’t quite clear the windshield in places. So they needed to be replaced: they are 2 years old. I am glad I took them in to be changed out because watching them get changed looked to me to be a pretty complicated process! I have switched out wipers before, but these ones really are complicated. The $$ spent was well worth it from where I sat watching :-D

After that was done, I stopped by the Warehouse Foods on the way back home, hoping to grab some Halibut fillets – but they didn’t have any, so I settled for Bay Scallops instead ;-)

Warehouse Foods Store by Kelso airstrip.

I hadn’t decided to go to Eden Valley until I had topped off the car’s gas tank – the day is so beautiful: it was perfect for the drive.

But first I needed to stop by the house and unload the scallops. Once home, I opened and separated the entire grocer bag into individual freezer baggies because I knew I would not get to it when I got back home; and they needed to be broken down. Then I asked for prayer on my journey, and locked up the house while I headed out of Dodge:

10 1/2-lb. Baggies of Bay Scallops ready for the freezer.

I asked for prayer because there would be a LOT of memories flooding my brain along the drive as Graysriver, Rosburg, and Naselle are Bob’s stomping grounds while he grew up: and I spent many summers in these places too before I knew Bob. And it is at least a 1-1/2 hour drive one way. I was sure my eyes would be leaking throughout the bittersweet journey to get the needed info for out-of-towners planning on coming to Bob’s Celebration of Life event in August, and I did not want tears to be a continual flow that would hamper my driving or the purpose for the daytrip.

I wanted to get there and back again safely …

Ocean Beach Highway, nearing County Line. I have always
loved this drive. Very scenic; and very relaxing.
I saw a red-headed Turkey Buzzard enjoying a roadkill breakfast here. That reminded me that I had not eaten breakfast yet – so I stopped at Gragg’s Minit Mart a bit further up the highway to get some munchies.
Puget Island Bridge that connects the island to Cathlamet seen in the distance; Cathlamet is only minutes away now.
Entrance to Alger Creek logging road, between Cathlamet & Skamokawa. Aside from the cougar incident, when Bob's crew was logging the area he used to bring home to me petrified seashells and sea snails he'd find laying around on the landings because he knew those things interested me. Bob was always thinking of me no matter what he was doing. He loved me.

I can never pass Alger Creek logging road without remembering that this is where we saw a cougar walk across the roadway right in front of our pickup – I could have reached out and touched it, but I was mesmerized by its size and beautiful face as it leisurely padded in front of us and looked at us in passing before it disappeared like a ghost into the brushy undergrowth alongside the roadway. I will never forget that happening as long as I live! It was pure awesomeness. And it is forever seared into my brain where memories are stored to be revisited time and time again.

Bob allowed me to have my wolf - Precious was a 6-foot long, 110 pound gray and timber wolf mix: pure love and the BEST furry companion we ever had. But Bob drew the line at my want for a cougar. He flat out refused.

But at least I got to SEE one in the wild - up close and personal :-D

Life with Bob has given me many wonderful memories to revisit time and time again.

The drive was so peaceful and relaxing.

I was going “home”, and while topping KM Mountain (which is really just a big hill) I could feel the prayers surrounding me and carrying me along on this needful journey, keeping the tears at bay and the memories wrapping me in a love cocoon:

Coming into Graysriver over the bridge.

Crossing these bridges reminded me of the warm Spring day Bob and I were out and about, driving around, and ended up in Graysriver – I saw 2 baby bear cubs the far side of this bridge set-up and asked Bob to pull over so I could get a closer look at them; he did … and I jumped out to take a picture. As soon as my feet hit the gravel, I instantly felt him grab my collar and haul me back into the truck. Boy, was I mad! I snapped, “What did you do that for? Now I missed the picture!” Bob calmly – but seriously said, “You could be missing your life. Where cubs are, mama is not far behind.” No sooner had he said those words, then mama bear came barreling out of the trees to come stand guard over her cute little furballs – they weren’t very old at all; probably just out of their hibernation cave by the looks of them: soooo small – just 2 little black puffballs with legs and shiny black eyes. I was peeved for quite a while thinking about the picture I missed. LOL

Every time I pass this spot, I think about that day so long ago.

And I laugh remembering Bob’s seriousness in schooling me about bear behavioral habits, and my youthful peevishness in the moment.

I needed laughter today.

SO MANY MEMORIES flooding my brain.

(((((Thank YOU Yeshua))))) for the faithfulness of friends’ prayers and the gift of laughter.

Passing through Grayriver, I noticed that Duffy’s looked open for business: it is always hit-and-miss with Duffy’s open days. Today it looks like they are ready to collect some $$, so I may stop in for a quick pit stop on my way back through here headed for home …


Then, just around the corner and up the road a bit, Rosburg Store came into view. It may be open now, but I didn’t stop to find out this trip; I know it has been bought by a calimexarbia couple, and I know remodeling has been underway:

Rosburg Store.
Eden Valley is out this way too; off to the left before one would come into Altoona.

I was not sure if there is an actual Eden Valley road marker or not – and that is one of the reasons for this little journey today. As the song goes: so I went too - ‘over the river and though the woods’ ...

Over-river-bridge/highway overpass. Rosburg Community Hall is below, off to the right.

This sign will be beneficial to out-of-towner's who have never been this way before.
Rosburg Community Hall where Bob’s Celebration of Life gathering will be held after his cremains are laid in Eden Valley Cemetery. We both attended many, many dances here in our school days - not together though because we didn't know each other at those times. But we did attend Family Reunions here over the past 44 years of marriage.

YES!

Thankfully there IS a Road Sign pointing the way. But that sign will be the only easy thing about getting to the cemetery:

Eden Valley Signpost; maybe 5 minutes up the road from the Rosburg Community Hall. Off to the left of Altoona-Pillar Rock roadway.

The Eden Valley road is very narrow and snaky – barely wide enough for 2 cars to pass without clipping mirrors. There are no ‘shoulders’ along the roadway, just literally barbed wire running along one side at the very edge of the road side; and a winding slough cuts along the very edge of the other side of the road side. There is no wiggle room when meeting an oncoming vehicle – you just pray that you do not meet a truck with dually wheels that hogs the road.

And deer.

And farmers.

Gotta be on constant lookout for deer because they will stand in the middle of the road – and they blend in pretty well with the shadowy surroundings. So you always have to keep your eyes peeled and be on guard.

Ditto for farmers who will park in the middle of the road while they tend to their livestock or farm apparatus’ – they are not used to much traffic on this road, and tend to consider the roadway their own private property. You need to be watchful for the farmers.

I ran into a deer and a farmer this morning, but being the country gal I am … I was prepared to run into them at some point ;-)


I had my Heart CD in the player, and getting close to the cemetery, the song, “This Man Is Mine” came on and I both smiled and cried at the same time because it brought to mind an incident that happened early in our dating period.

The Monday following my first date with Bob, I walked down the school hallway to my locker and if looks could kill I would have been sliced to death from every side by green-eyed girls giving me the evil eye. LOL! Thank God Bob never knew what a handsome man he was! Bob had absolutely NO ego; he really was clueless about what a fine specimen of manhood he was – lucky me.

But I knew.

And those green-eyed girls knew.

And I put every one of them on short notice, letting them know, “this man is mine: hands off … or lose them.”

I dried my eyes and laughed all the way to the cemetery as that memory played out ;-)

When I finally arrived, I got out of the car and walked around for a few minutes, trying to picture in my mind where our plots are actually located.

And I did have a brief 5 minute cryfest projecting the letting go of Bob’s cremains during the August placement ceremony. Just thinking of placing his cremains and then walking away from them was almost more than I could bear.

But it has to be done.

So I will do it.

I don’t have to feel comfortable doing it.

I am not the only person who has ever had to walk away from a loved one’s remains – and I won’t be the last.

This is part of the life process …

Family cemetery. Every name on every grave marker here is related to Bob in one way or another.
This is our family side of the cemetery ... Grandpa Henry Smalley & Grandma Myrtle Smalley (Bob’s mother’s parents), and Dad – Robert Abraham Hargand (Bob’s dad) are already laid to rest here. Our plots are here also.
Dad’s Headstone: I need to make a point to get down here more often and keep it cleared of refuse. Dad’s youngest brother, Herbie, crafted the headstone – it is a beautiful piece of work made with love; and fits dad’s personality perfectly.
Grandpa & Grandma Smalley’s Headstones.
Grandpa, Grandma, & Dad’s plots are right next to each other: our plots are behind them a short distance.
If I correctly remember what I was told at the time of plot purchase, Bob & I will be placed below Wally Smalley's plot shown on the right in this picture.
I think our plots are in this area below Wally ... I will find out for sure, come August 30th, 2019. Wally is Bob’s mother’s 1st cousin and Bob & I liked Wally: it is good to know that Bob's earthly remains will rest among family & friends he liked and admired.
This little country cemetery is a nice place to rest our earthly vessels while waiting for the Resurrection Day for the Saints.

After I left the cemetery – the visit actually went better than I had anticipated – I backtracked to Graysriver and stopped to visit Bob’s Aunt Frieda. Leaving, I noticed hay in the field yonder being cut and baled.

I love the country life; but that life will no longer be part of my life.

I miss it:


Leaving Frieda’s and the pastoral scene, I drove to Duffy’s for a quick pit stop and a restive break before heading the car back towards home base. I decided rather than sit in the interior darkness, which is quite nice in a bohemian kind of way, I would enjoy sitting on the outside terrace deck instead because the day was so sunny and I wanted to reflect on the river out back.

Bob, when we were dating, did the River Run event, and had a blast: watching the river, I remembered that day clearly. Doug was there too – they did the run together. The river run event was the kickoff to summer in the country; everyone participating brought their own thing to float down the river in – it could be anything, as long as it would hold you and float. And it had to have room for beer because beer was always part of the event ;-) It wasn’t so much a competition thing, as just a ‘let’s have fun’ kind of event.

Looking down at the river and remembering that event brought a smile to my lips.

And for a few years recently, we have been driving to Duffy’s every few weeks to enjoy the satisfying home-style fare. Today, though, I just had a homemade berry pie. As usual, it was excellent:

The river is low today; normally that sand bar in under water.
It was nice to sit out here and enjoy the tranquility. And pie too. LOL
I still don’t know what type of berry pie this was, but it was delish! And I ate it a la mode, which I never do; but because today was about Bob, and that is how he always ate his berry pie, that is what I did too.
The river water is very clear. Deep, and clear - you can see to the bottom with no trouble at all.
I love the bold colors and funkiness of Duffy's.
Very bohemian interior. Relaxing and welcoming.
Comfy interior – dark, but not oppressively so.

Fat and sassy and sated with berry pie, I pointed the car towards home.

It was a good drive.

It was a pleasant day.

It was a needful journey.

And this trip down Memory Lane did not twist my heart in a knot like I thought it would.

Thank Elohim, Who gives peace that passes all understanding.

Especially appreciated today, where the peace of mind given for Sabbath Rest is most welcome.

And needed.