Wow! What a couple of weeks. I haven’t got much actual artwork done but I’ve been going through all of my old sketchbooks looking for ideas for my show at Kings Mountain Art Festival and for Sandy Visse’s and my show at the Attic Gallery in December. The Attic show hasn’t got a name yet but its subject matter will cover all areas of our dark sides. Watch out, we’ll be reaching into areas unknown and the show will be hilariously disturbing. We’ve done dark side shows before, but only in the privacy of our own studios so this will be a first! We are both excited and wish to thank Diana and Maria at the gallery for letting us go wild. But I’ll talk more about that later.
So I’m working toward these shows, sweating out in the yard picking up debris from a hard winter when the phone rings. I run inside, falling over my dog Cody who is as always blocking the door. I pick up the phone and say hello and a voice that I swear might be Tracy Ullman’s says, “Hi Jerry. It’s Maureen.” I had to sit down. Maureen Jones is a person who I have corresponded with for over 50 years. We got together as pen pals through the Oregon Journal and through a paper in Liverpool when we both were 10 years old. We’ve written over the years, very often at first and then just a couple times a year. We’ve exchanged gifts. I still have a small bracelet engraved with “to Jerry from Maureen”. What a surprise to hear from her in person. She goes on to tell me she’s off on a trip from Liverpool to the West Coast of the US and Canada, coming down from Vancouver and Victoria BC, to Seattle and then to Portland where she wants me to pick her and Bernard (her husband) and Claire (her daughter) and bring them out here for two days and a night. She has gotten standby tickets from Liverpool and kept apologizing for coming so soon without earlier notice.
I was so excited to finally meet her and her family. I picked them up at the Governor Hotel in Portland and it was like we’d known each other almost all of our life. We couldn’t stop talking about our lives and places we’d lived and our jobs and just everything. I’ve been sending her my blog and she’s been reading it but she is not an e-mailer…I guess she’d rather communicate in person by airplane! So this was the first time we could really talk. I gave the three of them the grand tour of the Columbia Gorge. We drove to our cabin by way of the Old Highway and stopped at Multnomah Falls to climb up to the higher spots, take pictures and visit the gift shop. Claire LOVED the jewelry and bought herself an Oregon opal. The rest of us bought touristy things. By the time we got back on Hwy 84 and to the Bridge of the Gods we’d seen osprey and lots of falls and smaller gorges. We crossed the bridge and ate lunch in Stevenson then took Hwy 14 to Bingen and our cabin. As we were going up Canyon Road we decided we needed a couple of bottles of wine for dinner so we passed a couple of wineries and finally stopped at the Columbia Gorge Winery that’s located just a little off Canyon on Snowden Road. We could see clearly that the garage was a winery. We called out to see if anyone was there besides a giant comfortable purring guard cat. I even went to the house and knocked on the door. No one answered. So Bernard and I looked at each other and shrugged at the same time. We went for a box of wines out on the table, found two red ones, and left a twenty dollar bill for them. Later I looked up the winery on the internet and found that we underpaid a little bit…but the wine was great and here’s a shout out to The Columbia Gorge Winery. I guess all I can say is be in the winery when you’re open.
The cabin was a hit. It was a beautiful day. We had a great dinner with the three of them and with our friends Jeff and Sara. We ate a ton of food and topped that off with two apple pies made by Jeanette (our local fancy pie maker). Claire saw hummingbirds at our feeders…maybe for the first time. And Cody now has a crush on a girl from Liverpool. He’s been pining for her since she left. We had wine outside in the garden and watched some TV. Maureen likes a lot of the same shows I do, (Who knew?) and talked and caught up and made promises of not to be apart for so long anymore. After they got back to Portland all of us teared up as we said our goodbyes. Bernard and Maureen also gave us the most beautiful book on Liverpool. Ron and I will treasure it. But…the plan is to visit them next when we can save up the money. We’re going to do it, just wait and see. I was so excited about seeing them I FORGOT to take pictures so I’m waiting for Maureen to e-mail me some of hers. That may be a long wait unless I can get her to use the “new” technology. She has already called once when they got home and I already miss her. Oh, by the way Maureen was the one that turned me on to the Beatles…she casually said that she’d met a band of the nicest boys at the Cavern in Liverpool in one of her letters!