Saturday, October 9, 2010

It Came From Out Of The North

I am deeply interested in international relations, and that is why I was so pleased to have my friend Sara Stratton visit. Her personal awesomeness did not factor in at all. Sara is from the great state of somewhere-in-Canada, a landmass celebrated for its northness, but she speaks real good English. I couldn't wait to show off our corner of the world, and we have a lot of good material to work with.

It started out great. We set off to explore the wonders of nature, starting with Dave's neck, which is spectacular, and then moving off to the waterfall region of the Columbia Gorge. On our very first stop, we trotted down the path to a lovely cascade in front of which stood a young woman with, as Dave pointed out, no mistakes on her, who immediately removed a trench coat to reveal a pink bikini and high-heeled shoes. Tip: natural wonders are best presented with nonchalance. "Oh, a young woman with no mistakes on her in a pink bikini and high-heeled shoes in front of a waterfall," we said. "They're getting to be as bad as fruit flies around here."

At the next lovely cascade, we scored a magnificent red-legged frog that was completely naked, so things were getting better and better. The remaining waterfalls came plain, and we rested up in Hood River for sandwiches and a hearty, nourishing beer so strong it could stand up without a glass and slap you if you nodded off. As we rounded the valley for a trip around Mt. Hood, Sara found herself so overcome by beauty and hops that she had to rest up her neurons, but by the time she woke up again, we had her 6,000 feet up the flanks of a snowy volcano with a raven in charge. The road downhill bounced with elk. Natural-wonder-wise, I'd have to say things were really going well.

Now, you may have heard that the ancient Persian weavers always introduced a flaw in their carpets as a reminder that only God's creations are perfect. The statement being made, as I understand it, is "I am exactly like God, except for this little boo-boo I am putting in on purpose," which, you have to admit, is mighty humble. In this spirit, I decided to introduce a flaw into Sara's perfect day by picking up a stray ("Willy") in Rhododendron who had missed the last bus and wanted a ride into Sandy, twenty miles away. Sometimes I like to do favors for strangers to remind myself why I do it so seldom. I did think he looked dull and a little pungent, but I was wrong. Willy was thunderous stupid and loud and stank at least four different ways. Individual fugs of alcohol, pot, cigarettes and B.O. set up an intricate weather system in the back seat, where Dave, who is an awfully nice man, kept up a lively conversation while Sara and I counted mileposts as fast as we could. He had a lot of interests, foremost among them medicalmarijuana (what we used to call marijuana). For a living he made little screening boxes for medicalmarijuana, and in his off hours he liked to skateboard, use medicalmarijuana and miss the bus.

What is the sound of two brain cells flapping?


He mentioned he actually lived in Portland, so I was prepared when we rolled towards Sandy and he asked if we were driving any further. "I'm dropping you off at the Arco station," I said without explanation, because the Arco station is six feet inside the Sandy city limits. The rest of the trip home was pleasant, windows rolled down all the way, and the next day was sunny and bright all over again. An excellent day to shop, see more of Nature's wonders, and have the car upholstery burned.

International relations remain good, and if you have any more nice Canadians, roll them on downhill. We're ready.

29 comments:

  1. I can't figure out where the frog stops and the leaves start. Excellent camouflage. Also, picking up the "vagrant" was a great ruse...let those Canada-ers know we have weapons like that and we aren't afraid to use them.

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  2. So Sara did a wonderful job convincing you Canadians are good people...excellent! I'm on my way over now :-)

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  3. On an archy gig, I made great friends with a gal from Edmonton. She became very weary of people asking inane questions like "Do you have Doritos in Canada?" and "Do you have Levi's in Canada?". It became a recurring gag between us that all that and more could be found in the American aisle of every store in Canada, as required by NATO.
    Good times.

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  4. I mean NAFTA.
    (I'll be in the American aisle, now, geesh.)

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  5. When I worked in downtown PDX I had a worman in her late 20's working for me who lived in East Portland who had NEVER been up the Gorge, never seen Multnomah Falls. As far as I know, the Sandy river was her border and anything further east was like North Korea.

    My ex mother-in-law, on the other hand, lived in Hillsboro but would NEVER venture to downtown Portland for her fear of CRIME!!

    Makes me sometimes wonder what all those bridges are for?

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  6. Elizabeth BrewsterOctober 9, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    That was me in the pink bikini.

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  7. Oh, I know an extremely nice Canadian, and I know she visits your blog regularly. I'm a little surprised to have beat her here this time. Of course, she's probably already read this post, and is just too polite and humble to make her presence known now. I'll never forget taking my first trip to Canada when I was a young'un, and hearing a very common TV ad for Kellogg's corn flakes on the other side of the border. Instead of "All American, Tall American, Kelloggs' Corn Flaaakes!" the jingle went "All Canadian, Tall Canadian, Kellogg's" and so on. That and my brother smuggling firecrackers back into the U.S. under the tissues in an open box of Kleenex were the highlights of the trip.

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  8. Hey, we could have sat you next to Willy.

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  9. True. So very, very true. Dave is a saint.

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  10. Yay, Sara's in this one!
    When I read that you were giving a "Willy" a ride, well, I was expecting more there.

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  11. Oh, my. Nothing like laughing out loud on a rainy Seattle night. I wonder if it's raining in Canada. Does it rain up there?

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  12. Oh, I have been dying to go to Hood River. Donald Maass, a fabu literary agent, has week-long intensive workshops up there. I'm going one of these days, and perhaps I'll require some medical marijuana. For low levels of creativity, dontcha know.

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  13. Well it's sure good for low levels of ACTivity.

    laytonwoman: oh, for the days a person could sneak explosives across the border in a Kleenex box.

    Linda, I'm almost positive it all turns to ice at the Washington border. Otherwise we would have taken more of it when we had the chance back in 1846. Wouldn't we've?

    And Susan? What are we going to do with you? (And what would we do without you?)

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  14. For the longest time, I thought Willy was the little frog you were holding in the photo right above that anecdote. Clarity, Murre. Clarity.

    I had not fully appreciated the largeness of Dave until seeing him with a Canadian for scale.

    When I visit, please arrange to have Sara waiting on the landing in front of the waterfall to welcome me, and not Barbie. 'K?

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  15. This is a good one, eh? Someday, if I can find my snowshoes where I left'em in the snowbank by the wood pile, and if the moose don't get me, maybe I'll venture down there too.

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  16. There's something about your comment on fruit flies and nearly unpeeled young women that intrigues me. I see a lot of nearly nakkids lately, and I wonder if this is a phenomena of getting older and suddenly seeing all this skin about that makes me appreciate nature more, as in green trees, grass and such, rather than the naked ape.

    Could it be the wilderness is the new 14th Street? The trench coat reminds me of the "flashers" of old...

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  17. Clarity? From ME? Actually I have issues trying to get my photos to go where I want them but in cases like this I have to spread them through the piece as visual resting-spots only. I failed to get a picture of Willy, which is a damn shame. Although he could have given my computer a virus.

    Oh Susan, it's aboot time!

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  18. Just pecking a few words out with my frozen fingers here in the far north, sitting in my igloo with the satellite dish on top of the stuffed moose at the door: Happy Thanksgiving from Canuckistan! Actually, the sun is shining, it's 20C and there's no one smelly around for miles. Life is good.

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  19. I like Canada people even though they say prohcess and prohject and end every sentence with an "eh". But boy can they complain about Houston weather. Silly people.

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  20. Will you be allowed reciprocal visiting rights to Canada? Or will they all just want to come and shop in Costco and Fred Meyer? It's all take, take, take with those colonial types.

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  21. Thank you for reminding me to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends up north. The rest of you down here should just hold tight and try not to leak any gratitude for another month yet.

    Mme. DeFarge knows about Freddie's???

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  22. Sadly, we have Costco. Fred Meyer would be nice, though. Also Trader Joe's. You people do groceries different than we do.

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  23. I had no idea Hood River was so colorful. And I had none of the babes -- or frogs, for that matter -- when my friends from said place gave me the tour of all the falls. But then we make our own color.

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  24. For the longest time, I thought Willy was the little frog you were holding in the photo right above that anecdote. Clarity, Murre. Clarity.

    I had not fully appreciated the largeness of Dave until seeing him with a Canadian for scale.

    When I visit, please arrange to have Sara waiting on the landing in front of the waterfall to welcome me, and not Barbie. 'K?

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  25. So Sara did a wonderful job convincing you Canadians are good people...excellent! I'm on my way over now :-)

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  26. Oh, I know an extremely nice Canadian, and I know she visits your blog regularly. I'm a little surprised to have beat her here this time. Of course, she's probably already read this post, and is just too polite and humble to make her presence known now. I'll never forget taking my first trip to Canada when I was a young'un, and hearing a very common TV ad for Kellogg's corn flakes on the other side of the border. Instead of "All American, Tall American, Kelloggs' Corn Flaaakes!" the jingle went "All Canadian, Tall Canadian, Kellogg's" and so on. That and my brother smuggling firecrackers back into the U.S. under the tissues in an open box of Kleenex were the highlights of the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Elizabeth BrewsterApril 5, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    That was me in the pink bikini.

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