August 20, 2012

Oregon Highlights {chapter 1}

Well, we're back and we're exhausted from all of the fun we had.  At this very moment, the kids are cleaning out the van (veeeeery slooooooowly) and laundry is going at full tilt downstairs.  Recovering from a trip is almost as tiring as the trip itself.  Anyway, it was worth it because this was the best trip ever!

The first few days were spent in Eugene catching up with old friends.  It was like long needed therapy to sit too long in kitchens and gardens and talk as if 4 years hadn't passed since last we wasted time together.


Okay, well 4 years hasn't passed since last we chatted for too long with this guy.  Nope.  Steve up there lived in our basement for a spell and Joe and I had lots of late nights talking with him.  This was our first time meeting his new bride, Shawna, at their home which just happened to be be right on the way to Eugene.  It was great to see him all settled and happy.


 Although you can't see her here, this is the garden (and son) of my dear friend, Angela, whose love and friendship nourished me during the Oregon years.  You know those friends that you meet and instantly know you'll be friends for life?  Yeah...Angela wasn't one of those.  She was more special than that.  We were both a little shy and quiet and it took several cups of tea over several visits for me to realize that she'd be in my life forever.  And now when I meet someone new and it's not an instant match, I always think of her, and how just because you don't immediately exchange witty banter doesn't mean that this new person isn't your soul sister.  Because that's what she is and always will be.

We passed an afternoon cooking (okay, she was cooking.  I was just perched on a chair in her kitchen.) and catching up while the kids played in the yard and the garden.  It was bliss.  I'm not sure I have any friends in Utah that have mastered the fine art of doing nothing at all with me and it feeling so satisfying.  That level of comfort is now my gold standard.  And I was worried, when I arrived, that our comfortable exchanges would be strained after 4 years since occupying a couch together.  But they weren't.  It was as if no time had passed.

Later that day, there was this guy.  Haha!  Bob.  It doesn't get better than Bob and his long time companion, Jude.  These two are the most loving, nurturing, and easy going friends you could ask for.  Bob was our neighbor in family housing many years ago, and again, we had no idea how special he would become to our family.  Then he found Jude (that sounds a little like he was walking and there she was on the sidewalk, so he picked her up and put her in his pocket.  I don't know how they met.  Maybe that;s exactly what happened!) and she became as dear to us as Bob.  Like family, those 2 are.  Jude's yard is a magical place where time stands still and magic happens.  It's the only place I know where an 8 year old girl can still get a galloping ride on shoulders through a garden and then be given a copy of the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran because her wisdom wasn't at all challenged by the fact that she still wants a piggy back ride from time to time.


When we left their house long after bed time, Joe and I both tried not to look at each other because we didn't want it to be too obvious that we were crying.  Hannah Jane asked some random question and Joe's voice was shaky.  Then she asked me.  When my voice cracked, she said, "Seriously?  You too?" Joe tried to explain what a child could never understand.  That there is something special about friends who loved your family, your children, loved you, before you were who you are now and still love you today as if you haven't changed at all.  And when you're with them, you haven't changed.  You can, for a few hours, go back to being someone without worries or fears, without deadlines and dinners to host, someone who hasn't known much difficulty at all and who still believes that the world is just as it should be.

Visiting with old friends was chapter one of our trip.  Chapter 2 was Badasht Baha'i School, and tomorrow I'll share those photos.  For now I'm going to go ponder what miracle friendship is while I fold laundry!

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