This past weekend I had the privilege of addressing the Fall Gathering of the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ, meeting in Forest Grove, Oregon. It was nice to see some old friends, as well as to be in town again, sipping a breve latté at BJ's Coffee where I had sipped many previously in the company of Evan, Angie, friends, and family. As I reminded the audience Friday evening, it was also nice to be invited to speak in Forest Grove again, even if it was 19 years after the first engagement.
1990 was a big year for our family. My new position with the Nebraska Conference occasioned our January move from Colorado to Lincoln, Nebraska. Then, that summer, we packed the Toyota van for our first trip to the Pacific Northwest. The trip was memorable in countless ways:
- Sally and I listened to an audio course on Transforming Your Relationship to Money by Joe Dominguez. I'm still quoting it, including in my workshop on Saturday.
- We camped in Yellowstone National Park, dividing our anxieties between the likelihood of freezing to death or being trampled by the bison in the campground.
- As a result of our near death experience, we bought new sleeping bags in Helena, Montana. The circumstances surrounding their purchase are now the subject of legend.
- We tented in Glacier National Park, breaking camp in a deluge that foreshadowed several ensuing outdoor drenchings that ultimately drowned our (my) interest in camping as a family.
- We visited Dusty Strings Music in Seattle's Fremont district - twice. The second visit was part of the epic 31 hour drive from Lincoln City Oregon to Grand Junction, Colorado. This drive featured rearview mirror scenes of Mount Rainier, the wrong way driver encounter on the interstate west of Boise, and the loss of a Teva sandal along the interstate in Utah.
Each of these occurrences, and many more on this trip, shaped our family members individually and collectively. Yes, "twisted" is a shape. To Sally and the kids I again offer heartfelt apology.
One additional chapter from this same epic adventure flooded back into my awareness this weekend: the Potato in the Wilderness Story. OK, so our drive along I-90 east of Spokane isn't exactly parallel to the Israelites wandering through the Sinai desert. And perhaps scrounging potatoes that fell off a truck onto the highway isn't exactly the same as the Hebrew children gathering manna from heaven. Deal with it.
While driving along the interstate this past weekend I saw a number of onions that had followed the example of our miraculous potatoes from 1990. Absent Sally with me in the car, I was not compelled to stop and gather dinner. We did so in 1990, accompanied by the eye-rolling protestations of our embarrassed children. The potatoes, pre-pealed by their skidding path along the asphalt, became a main course in a meal shared with our niece, Tracy, in a KOA campground near Kent, WA. Come to think of it, they would have been even tastier with sautéed onions.