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Exotic Places to Live

As she approached I remembered her daughter had lived in Asia.  Probably prompted by my daughter’s potential adventure.  I asked how her daughter was doing.  She brightened and answered, “Oh she’s doing great!  She’s married and lives in Seattle now.  Now my son lives in Amsterdam and I got to visit him.”

It wasn’t one-upmanship, really.  The thought strolled into my mind unbidden and unspoken.  Filling my heart with joy.  “My son lives in heaven and when I go to see him it will be to stay.”

 

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad

Welcomed to more rural lands,

By the acrid scent of a distant fire,

An afternoon of time travel,

Back into history,

Off the asphalt path,

Deeper into the aging forest,

Near to the heart of the mountain.

The conductor calls all to attention,

With the shrill, singing tune of the train whistle blown,

And the warning clang of the bell,

Startled children clap their hands over their ears,

And respond with shrill cries of their own.

Moving slowly along the track

Swaying to the clickity clack

Past drying ponds and river beds,

Beaver dams and old homesteads,

A parent relates beaver tales,

Kid’s revel in the rhythm of the rails,

They conduct an invisible symphony,

Then the train slows for all to see,

Majesty.

Mount  Rainier looms large before us,

Balding.  Snowy white has

Given way to granite gray,

Pictures are snapped in rapid fire,

Comments on the mount’s attire

Or lack thereof.

We pick up the pace to the old logging camp,

Through lush forest dark and damp,

Sunlight filters through stately trees,

On shimmering waves

Of clean, cool air,

Hiding ghosts living in there,

Exposing verdant ferns.

Locomotives and cranes are quiet and tall,

The logging camp buildings are neat and small,

It wasn’t calm like this at all,

100 years ago.

Sound of the warning whistle calls us back,

The clanging bell calls out the “all-aboard,”

Squeaking, thumping, skins of metal scrape,

Creating friction with the swaying of the cars,

Children of good conduct sleep,

On the shoulders of their parents,

Too tired to utter as much as a peep,

As the unique tune of the train whistle wails out its warning,

When we cross the asphalt highway,

And the steam of 1,000 pressure cookers

Carries us back to present day.

Sherry Bibb, 8/22/15

A Superb, Satisfying Summer Saturday

As we gathered together in the evening, it was unanimous.  It had been a wonderful day.  It was our first Saturday together in two months and would be our last Saturday together for a long while.  With various work schedules we only saw each other in passing or for a brief family pow-wow at Starbucks for a half-hour or so before one of us dashed off to the next job or volunteer responsibility.

The morning sun was a good sign as it streamed through the window, brightening the walls and beckoning us to come outside and play.  We performed our individual morning routines and were ready to head out for the day.

Kayaking on the slough that skirts our little town was first on the agenda.  Paddling effortlessly on the smooth water we saw Mallards with their tail feathers sticking straight up out of the water as they snatched something under the water.  We picked a few blackberries hanging thickly from the bushes that lined the banks of the waterway.  This was not as easy a task as picking berries while standing on unmoving ground.  Often we floated  past the target berry that was just out of reach but didn’t want to risk winding up upside down in the water like one of the ducks.  We all laughed as we observed one little duck who was quite well acquainted with the taste of blackberries and how to pick them.  We saw her eyeing a low-dangling berry, she positioned herself under it and then lurched out of the water and got it, landing with a splash back into the water.  We all had a good laugh at that and enjoyed the beauty and humor that nature provides.

The two blackberries we managed to pick, although delicious, were not enough to satisfy our hunger so we walked over to our favorite little Bothell burger joint, The Ranch.  As we enjoyed talking together and munching on delicious burgers, fries and onion rings, we observed the construction taking place across the street and thought about the way things were and how our town will be changing in the months to come.  We got up to walk to the library and my daughter did something that, for me, was the best memory  of the day. She heard the numbers called out for someone to pick up their order and observed the two older ladies struggling to get to their feet, one with the aid of her walker.  She quickly went over and volunteered to get their lunches for them.  The ladies were so thrilled at her kindness and it was a pleasure to help them out!  But the greatest joy filled my heart as a observed the kind, thoughtful, helpful adult my daughter has become.  I was hoping it would work out that way!

After a quick walk to the library we went for some mother-daughter fun to our favorite local pedicure place.  A hot stone massage later, our feet and toes were all pampered and painted and ready for sandals again.  And for the cherry on top (wrapped in chocolate) we went to Sees to pick out a just a few pieces.

We each had individual responsibilities to take care of for a few hours.  But later that evening after the dinner crowds had passed and when hunger returned, we went out to dinner.  Because we’ve all been so busy going in different directions throughout the summer we hadn’t really had opportunity to share a meal together since June when we were on an Alaskan cruise.  When we got home we played a domino game of Mexican Train.  Actually we played half a game and saved the other half for the next day because it was getting pretty late and church would come early the next morning.  And time was winding down.  Our remaining family time was getting very short indeed.

The day had been as naturally beautiful as one could hope for;  blue sky, warm sun, soft breeze.  We enjoyed some physical activity,  shared the serenity of nature and observed animal antics that you don’t see everyday.  Each part of the day was filled with laughter, joking, remembering and anticipating good things in the future.  We enjoyed the blessing of being three adults in the same family who actually enjoyed each others’ company.  Late in the day we echoed the same refrain, “it has been a wonderful day!”  “a really nice day!” “a beautiful day!”.  It was agreed that we had done an outstanding job of packing as many good memories into one day as we could.  It was one superb, satisfying summer Saturday.