Tuesday, May 29, 2007


It's funny, I don't feel sad when we go up to the cemetary where dad is. He's with family and friends. His closest friend is just little way back. I remember Earl stopping to overnight when I was little and he drove a truck for Bird's Eye. And I remember how dad used to tease him about being left handed. He always got stuck on the end of the row of guys working the harvest. If he wasn't careful he'd get his tools caught in the one next to him.

All the little roads still have the names of whoever was working the land when they were laid out. And they change every little bit. You cross the road and Heaton road becomes Jacquith road. There's even a Heaton Creek. My grand dad lost his place during the twenties. I don't think he really a very good business man. But he was the one everyone called when they needed a steer butchered or their hops dried. He rented a place and ran a small dairy while grandma worked for the phone company. In a one person office. Half the kids in town knew how to run the switchboard. Even came in handy for Earl when he got sent overseas as a radioman. Those old army radios were nothing more than miniature cord boards. Surprise, he actually had some idea how to work one.

The road over Chehalem Mountain is paved now. It was gravel back in dad's time. And the road up the mountain coming out of Newburg still has more curves in it than a drunken Boa Constrictor. Imagine trying to drive it at night, in the fog with the little slit head lights they allowed during the wartime black out.  

If I feel sad when I'm up there it's because I never got a chance to meet the man. He was gone long before dad met mom. But, as long as the stories are told and remembered he's never really gone.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Swung by a local bookstore and picked up a couple Mary Renault’s Greek history novels. Looks like I’ll have to do a little on-line shopping to get the series in the right order. She ended with Alexander the Great, but that’s what they had on the shelves. What I’ve read is excellent, and I’m looking forward to reading them in the order the history takes place. Sometimes I think I’ve learned more history reading well written and researched novels than I have reading history books. At least had more fun.


Spent part of the weekend going up to the cemetery near Portland where dad is. And my great grandparents, grandparents on his side and a few assorted cousins. If it had been clear we probably could have seen Mt. Hood through the trees. After we were done doing the flower thing, we got out our lunch and were going to hang out in the car for a bit before heading home.


We’d noticed a couple going along the family line and noticed they’d stopped at headstone near dad. We talked for a bit, turned out it was cousin and his wife. Hadn’t seen the man for a good thirty years. If we’re lucky his sister will call one of these days and I can pick her brains about some of the family history. When they put up great grand dad’s marker they forgot to put in his middle name or initial. It’s surprising how many John Heaton’s there are who had wives with the initial H. And I don’t know if Hortense was her first or middle name. Anyway, we had a chance to catch up a little.


We stopped at a nursery that specializes in roses on the way back. It’s just outside the little town of St. Paul, Oregon. Fell in love with the miniature roses. You can have a whole garden in an eight by ten patch. And we did leave with three plants. Three Stella D’Oro day lilies that is. LOL The roses will have to come later. We’d been planning to add the nice little yellow day lily to the mix and were surprised to find such nice plants at a rose nursery of all places. They do have beautiful roses planted there though. And they sell what are called “bare root” roses not grafted hybrids. Takes a little longer to get the size plant you wantbut it’s worth the wait. Even some of the miniatures have all the scent you’d want and some of the old fashioned English climbers and ramblers, marvelous. And they sell online. http://www.heirloomroses.com/ Checking out the link is worth it just to look at all the pictures. They have some great ramblers, but we don't have room for anythng that big.

Other than that, caught up on the laundry, did some baking, harassed the cats, enjoyed the sunshine today, and the extra day off. I’ll have to try to pack at least four days work into three because we’re heading out on Friday for nephew number three’s graduation. He’s giving the valedictorian speech. Maybe we’ll actually get to here him string more than a half dozen words together at a time. Either that or it’s going to be a really short speech. This young man gives a whole new meaning to the word, laconic. J


It’ll be a fast trip for me. Over on Friday, drive back on Sunday. Mom may or may not be staying for rest of the week. Chris is starting summer term at Corvallis in June. She might be able to hitch a ride with him. We’ll figure something out, we always do.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Jack Ohman, who draws editorial cartoons for the Portland Oregonian has been a busy boy this week.

His take on the late and not so great Jerry Falwell. Is that expression priceless or what?

And the bridge is out, slow motion train wreck of scandals involving former

and current Bush appointees. And the local Eugene paper used almost all of it's editorial panel on the opinion page to comment on the attorney generals' unfolding laundry list of assaults on the constitution he's sworn to uphold. With friends like these the constitution doesn't need any more enemies. Way to go Jack!


Friday, May 11, 2007


Right now I’m feeling like that painting called “the Scream

Cin made a good comment about my last entry. If we aren’t careful our children aren’t going to know how protest. We’re already so fragmented that I’m honestly surprised when anyone does mount a protest about anything. But, the first time a group agreed to hold their protest in a designated “free speech” zone, the first nail went in the coffin. Whenever we agree that we need a permit to hold a rally on public property, our property, there goes another nail. The constitution doesn’t say anything about speech only being free if it takes place in a certain area.

Once upon a time (sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale) the market place was public space. You actually had to interact with people to get what you wanted and there were no private security guards to tell you to shut up if the discussion got a little heated. Of course you might end up in a brawl but better a bloody nose than scared rabbit silence.

There were town squares with the obligatory statue of a local hero or a slightly rusty cannon, cliché I know but it was public property where the public could meet and speak. But, the new strip mall cities in the southwest don’t have town squares and the market place has been replaced by private merchants on private property.

We can get in our big ol SUV’s with the tinted windows and drive to the store or the mall. We can avoid making eye contact with any one, in fact a lot of us are probably afraid to in case we honk off some nutcase. We park and go inside, again basically ignoring anyone around us. We do our business. We pick out our packaged, plastic wrapped, pre cut, pre-measured, pre weighed goodies and most of the time there isn’t a clerk in sight. In some stores you can check out and bag your purchases on your own. You don’t even need to interact with a checker. You can go back out to your oversized chariot, drive home and never interact with another human being. Home to our environmentally controlled cocoons and our pre packaged music and entertainment. God, I’m a surly bastard this afternoon.

If you know even one or two of your neighbors it’s a miracle. Heaven knows I don’t want my neighbors knowing about everything I do or get a gander at everything on my reading list but how can we get enough voices together to be heard when we can’t even get together?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Just when you think you’ve heard it all, or at least hope you’ve heard it all. Something or someone comes along and knocks you upside the head. Ran into it again this weekend. Frankly, I’m not sure whether to post this on the political side or the religious side. First thought is political, but to be frank this blind faith the onward and upward benefits of capitalism and world trade smacks more than a little of a religious faith instead of being something you can actually prove. Guess I’ll file this under political for now.

Since the Stryker brigade shipped out of Fort Louis earlier this year, the military has been shipping supplies overseas through the port at Gray’s Harbor Washington. Naturally this has attracted anti war demonstrators. As of the last weekend the cops were trying to contain the demonstrations to an area away from the port entrance. The reason given by the spokesman for the cops was that it was “for their own protection.” Since there was no mention of counter demonstrations, I have to ask: who or what are they in danger from? The cops? Didn’t hear anyone else mentioned. Sorry Mr. Policeman, you are a necessary cog in the preservation of the status quo. After all, you’re first in line to keep the people paying the bills from objecting about how the money is being spent.

Also, speech that has to take place in a restricted area can hardly be considered free. Actually, as soon as you have to ask permission to speak or assemble, you can forget about freedom of anything. Hm, I seem to be becoming a closet anarchist.

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is going down the tubes, a little town in Kansas gets wiped off the map by ahorrendous tornado, most of the GOP presidential hopefuls are about as attractive as the south end of a north bound mule, that contaminated gluten has been found in the feed used for hatchery salmon here in Oregon, ad nauseum and what do I find when I sign on to AOL and look at the “news” headlines? Paris Hilton’s been caught driving suspended (again), Brit’s old boyfriend is not impressed with her new main squeeze, they’re still feuding on American Idol and a restaurant owner refused to serve OJ Simpson. !#$%^^%$ the H E double toothpicks is going on here?  (sound of forehead repeatedly hitting desk, I started this on my break.)

On the subject of that tornado. I do not want to belittle what these people are going through. I can’t imagine losing everything that way. But,let’s move along here. Dear Weather Channel, please drop the interviews you’ve shown at least two dozen times and give us something new. How can these people rebuild? What is involved? What kind of buildings can they build that might withstand this kind of storm? What do they have to do to safeguard their rebuilt utilities? How are they going to pay for this? Does your homeowners insurance cover events like tornado damage? How often does tornado alley get hit with a storm that strong, anyway? Really, I’d love to know. Volcanoes, tidal waves, and earthquakes aside, Oregon is looking really good right now.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


A while back there was an indie film called A Day Without a Mexican. Now imagine how this country would look for a day or week if we all decided to pull a day without women and stay home and just do what was absolutely necesarry for our families. And no nookie for the guys, no matter how enlightend they are.

Now imagine what would happen if the women announced "this  is how it's going to be until you chuckleheads get your priorities straight."

See Lysistrata http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peloponnesian_War

Just a thought.