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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Family in Different Directions


~Wednesday, June 14 to Saturday, June 17, 2023

Day 1096 to 1099

While turning the dial to a whole new set of adventures, our focus at the moment is spending time with family. But we wouldn’t be doing this together, this time. To cover all our bases, Jeff flew to California to spend time with our son, Shane and I flew to Oregon to spend time with my sister Tracy, her husband Tim, and my mom who had just recently moved only 12 miles from them. I couldn’t wait to check out her new pad and of course to get those overdue hugs I’d been missing so much. Hannah and Devin were so sweet to take care of our Sadie girl and keep an eye on Hank (the truck) while we were gone for this short time. They were also gracious enough to rouse the family up at o’dark thirty to get us to the airport on time. Jeff had a 7:30 a.m. departure from Chicago O’Hare while mine wasn’t until 3:00 p.m. A kiss goodbye and we were off to different gates, until…….

You know that arising suspicion when you don’t have everything on your person you’re supposed to? I knew it within 10 seconds of exiting the car. My phone. Thank goodness Jeff and I were still in eyesight and earshot of each other so I could use his phone to call Hannah and Devin, all while we were worried about Jeff catching his flight on time. Once we reached them, Jeff was off. Luckily, Hannah and Devin hadn’t gotten too far away. But if you’ve ever been to Chicago O’Hare, it is a looooong way to circle back to the terminals. And there it was. I guess I had dropped my phone on the floor of the backseat of their car while I was grabbing my luggage. After a sigh and an apology to my family for being such a dimwit, we were set. I now had my lifeline back. Could I use the excuse that I was half asleep at the time?

O.k., now that I’ve taken half a page to describe only a sliver of our day, I won’t bore you with the details of my airport and flight time other than to say I met the nicest older gentleman (I’d say in his mid-70’s), and a very proud grandpa of 10 as he was on his way to a soccer tournament to watch one of them play. He had a very witty sense of humor and a mind sharp as a tack while chatting with me the ENTIRE flight. I held my own as you can imagine. His wife, who also likes an aisle seat, was sitting directly behind him, likely used to her husband’s social skills. By the end of the flight, I knew his whole life story and he knew mine. We must have driven our fellow flight companions nuts, unless they had on earphones to drown out the chitter-chatter. For me, it made the 4 hour and 20 minute flight feel like an express flight.

I arrived early evening where Tracy was just outside baggage claim to greet me with her much missed hug and smile. On our way out of Portland, the city seems to have worsened with its deteriorating, graffiti ridden, gloomy state. The homelessness problem has surely put a strain on this once vibrant, beautiful city. Otherwise, we might have had plans to spend time downtown while I was there. Our mission for the time being was to pick up Chipotle burritos and head on over to my mom’s new place. Once again, feeling those arms around me was like a warm, soft blanket. So nice to all be together again.

My mom’s apartment is just lovely and in such a nice location. Spacious and modern, it’s the perfect place for her to transition from the larger home she was in previously, and all the responsibilities that came with that. Her 55+ community, particularly Laura, Loi and Donna, seem very pleasant and welcoming as we’d run into each other on elevator rides, picking up mail, or while walking my mom’s faithful Blue-Roan Cocker Spaniel, Bella. As Bella adjusts too to her new environment, there’s been a few challenges along the way, which are all getting worked out. Tim, Tracy and their kids Dillon and Jarod did such a good job getting mom all moved in either on the weekends or their evenings after work. There were still some things left to be done to which I was more than happy to help with; particularly organizing and making her space feel more homey. All right up my alley!!

On a day that Tim and Tracy weren’t working, the 3 of us got in some hiking time. And boy, had I missed hiking! Tim picked out a great hike on the Mosier Plateau Trail that overlooks the Columbia River Gorge.

Even though many of the hills had turned from their magnificent Spring bloom to their typical summer brown,

we were still able to see a few patches of wildflowers such as poppies and a few diehard lupines. After our moderate climb, it was time for a descent to lunch. We found a wonderful waterfront cafe/bar on our way home called Solstice Woodfire Pizza in Hood River. While waiting for our table,

we enjoyed walking down to the Hood Waterfront Park to watch the many kayakers and paddle boarders enjoying some water time. Our wood fired pizzas and margaritas were absolutely delicious!

With the weather so beautiful this time of year in Oregon, we decided this was the perfect opportunity to check out more of the amenities at my mom’s place. On the 2nd floor, there is a beautiful and well appointed skydeck

with an outdoor kitchen, big screen TV, plenty of seating for gathering, a fireplace, a putting green and a bocce court. Just inside the building is a demonstration kitchen that is open for all to use. We decided to whip up most of the dinner in my mom’s apartment, then BBQ the salmon on the skydeck.

Our meal of marinated salmon, orzo with shrimp, salad and wine was heaven. While enjoying our lovely time outside, a few of my mom’s new friends stopped over to say “hi”. One of them had a handful of fresh basil in her hand. When I asked where she got it, she said, “From the garden over there.” Evidently there are a number of raised beds on the skydeck that you can claim as yours by a lottery system. Of course each bed is shared by several residents, but what a cool way to have your own vegetable or herb garden. Nothing like growing your own.

I was also able to see my nephew Jarod when we all met up at George Rogers Park on the Willamette River for a picnic dinner.

Each of us brought a little something to contribute and enjoyed sharing old memories and hearing everything that Jarod was up to. It looks like he’ll be moving to Southern California in the near future so we wish him well. Another reason to go back to California for a visit.

The day that I was leaving was filled with putting a few finishing touches in mom’s new space. We even had time to adorn the walls with framed art and family photos. It was great we managed to get her place all dialed in along with a wonderful visit to boot. Because my mom didn’t feel good about leaving Bella alone for too long, we said our goodbyes when Tim picked me up to bring me back to their place before driving me to the airport. Saying goodbye to my mom is never easy, but I take comfort in knowing we’ll be seeing eachother soon.

It was nice to share a dinner and just hang out with Tim and Tracy before the drive back to Portland. We went to a wonderful restaurant called Bairds on B which was within walking distance from their place (they are so lucky to be close to town). Our meals were fabulous as we sat on their outdoor balcony

for our late afternoon, early meal. Since my flight wasn’t departing until 12:30 a.m., we still had time to spare to continue our nice visit back at their place on their lovely, cozy balcony. I must say, it was so strange to be leaving so late for a red-eye flight. I can’t recall the last time I flew one. After the hugs, we weren’t sure where or when we’d be seeing eachother again. But it will be soon!

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