Close to the edge

NOTHING LIKE A FEW DAYS IN A HOSPITALITY ROOM with a bunch of 90 year olds to make you feel young again. I had my ass handed to me in cribbage by a lady who was nearly blind. I mixed Black Velvet-and-Gingers for men who require great effort to stand. I joined in a tone-deaf karaoke rendition of “We Are the World” with a small crowd of warbling Marine wives, which I promise sounded worse than you imagine.

You know you want on this party bus.

Rewind to the fourth of our six recent trips, late-August in Oregon. Why were we there again? What happened? The pictures should help.

Sarah and Jo flew out before me. Within a day I was in psycho-bachelor mode: a lunch of raw peppers and stale pastries with sugar.

Sticking around meant I could go to Witt’s Change of Life party. He’s going back to school, switching careers, and having a baby. So we showed support by letting him cook us dinner and get us drunk.

Later that night at the Red Stag, somebody sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” from the floor. I laughed uncontrollably, which doesn’t happen enough.

I arrived in Portland to find Sarah and Jo dying to leave. We hightailed it to low-key Manzanita for a beach day. Johanna rolls her own.

From Highway 101, a steep hike through old growth leads you to a sweet secluded beach.

Majestic desolation.

Naturally lacquered beach wood.

Things eventually burned off and brightened up, our moods included.

Jo befriended a mermaid near the tidal caves.

I tried to take a nap in here. No dice.

Sarah chillaxing with Sand County Almanac.

My one wildlife sighting.

If you can tolerate lactose, you gotta do ice cream at the beach. I had a beer.

On to McMinneville to celebrate friends Sheila and Dan’s nuptials (they were married on 1/1/10, but saved the party ’til now). Our refurbished old hotel had spectral portraits of historic patrons on the walls.

The party was held in a Frank Lloyd Wright dwelling 50 miles away in Silverton (we weren’t in any one place more than a day). The entertainment included belly dancing and sword balancing. Ah, Oregon.

The coloring table, my preferred refuge from small talk.

“Friends Play Day”

> Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – The Message

> Marley Marl f. Master Ace, Craig G, Kool G Rap & Big Daddy Kane – The Symphony

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