You probably noticed that I wasn't here last week – instead, playing host to Peter Tibbles who had arrived all the way from Melbourne with the Assistant Musicologist (AM).
Surely you know the two of them: Peter who holds forth on Sundays at this blog with so much knowledge and wit about all things “Elder Music” with lots of input from the AM.
After spending a week or more in California during what Peter described in email to me as “paradisical weather,” he and the AM did not see the sun for the five days they were here – just buckets of rain. Well – hey, it's Oregon.
Even so, it was the most and heaviest rainfall with no breaks worth speaking of crammed into five consecutive days that I've seen here since sometime last year. But we didn't let that stop us.
One day, after lunch at Jake's Crawfish restaurant, we spent an afternoon at (where else in Portland, Oregon, with three heavy readers needing to get out of the rain) the world-famous Powell's Books – an entire city block and an annex of new, used and rare books.
Peter found me a copy of a book about a Melbourne detective. For Americans, it has a handy glossary in the back so I'm able to translate such Aussie words and phrases as chook, dob, panelbeater, spaggy bol and Macca's - the last being a popular name for McDonald's.
Most of our visit revolved around food and wine – at home and out-and-about in northwest Oregon. We did the “waterfall tour” along the Columbia River Gorge stopping at most of them. This is Peter in the woods at Waukeena Falls.
And more of Peter in the woods while in the distance, you can catch a glimpse of the AM.
All along the “old highway” in the Gorge are beautiful small bridges built by the WPA during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Peter liked them as much as I do.
The major destination of such a trip as we took is Multnomah Falls. It was a regular Sunday drive for my family when I was a kid and the AM took a lot of photos while we were there.
We stopped in at the lodge there for lunch – excellent rainbow trout and some nice Oregon wine.
We were lucky that for the most part, the rain stopped for awhile at each of the falls we visited and on occasion the sun peeked out for a few minutes.
No driving trip up the Columbia River Gorge can be said to be complete without a stop for the spectacular view at Vista House. When we were there, the storm clouds in the distance were dark and threatening and beautiful.
Another day, we drove the opposite direction to the coast – specifically, Astoria at the very northwest tip of the state where the Columbia River rolls into the Pacific Ocean.
Up on a hill, there is a column dedicated to John Jacob Astor, merchant and business man who, among other things, helped open the west in the early 19th century. It was way too rainy at that moment to spend much time.
And definitely at our ages, we did not climb the interior circular staircase to the top but a few, much younger people did.
Instead, we had an excellent brunch at the Columbian Cafe, an Astoria destination for the past 30 years where chef and New Orleans native, Uriah Hulsey, holds forth.
Here is Peter at the door of the Cafe just after my brother, sister-in-law and the AM had entered the establishment.
When we were not eating out, we were eating at home and here's a photo of Peter and the AM after dinner one evening.
It seemed no time at all before Peter and the AM were off to Idaho to see family there. The AM then heads to the east coast of the U.S. while Peter stops back in Portland for a few more days with me before heading back to San Francisco and, in time, home to Melbourne.
I was teary when I dropped the two of them off for the next leg of their trip and I look forward to Peter's return this week to soak up some more time with him.
But I will never forgive scientists. After all these years, I think they have had enough time to create a real-life Star Trek transporter so I could say, “Beam me to Melbourne, Scotty” any time I want to visit Peter and the AM.
(Peter, who knows far more about scientific things than I do, says science has a lot further to go than I imagine to create a transporter.)
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Brenda B. Berretta: Mr. and Mrs. Dove