Sunday, August 05, 2012

tiger blood memories

The whirlwind tour continues.

Yesterday my mother and I drove from Bend to Powers through Zane Grey country on the Umpqua River.  If all goes well, I will have some tales to tell of colliding rivers and the bloated egos of western writers.

But this post is something quite different.

We are in southern Oregon to honor my mother's cousin, Ken Rolfe, during his induction into the Powers Hall of Fame at a picnic Sunday afternoon.

This is my mother's home turf.  And I lived here long enough that memories tend to well up unbidden out of the very soil.

The photograph at the top is a perfect example.  The very place a boy could believe was troll central.  A steep gully with a stream at its base.

But the memory is a bit more prosaic.  My grandmother, who lived in Powers, knew I was very fond of one of her cats.  A yellow striped cat, who I imaginatively named Tiger.

We were in Powers visiting her, having just moved to the suburbs of Portland.  So, she boxed up the cat in what passed for a cat carrier in those days.  An Arm and Hammer cardboard box.

Into the car went Tiger inside his fancy new digs.  By his yowling on the 20 mile drive to Myrtle Point, it was evident he did not share my joy in the prospect of a new pet in northern Oregon.

For some reason, we stopped in Myrtle Point.  Whatever our reason, Tiger had his own agenda.  No sooner had the first car door opened than Tiger did his best Steve McQueen impression.  And high tailed it into the woods.  The above-pictured gully.

We looked and looked for Tiger.  But thousands of years of kitty evolution stood between our offered comforts and his immediate fear.  Off we drove with our box once filled with hope.

I cannot look at that gully on visits to Myrtle Point -- a gully that borders the back of our motel -- without wondering what became of that great yellow hope.

But reminiscing about cats is not why we came south.  On Saturday night, the Powers Alumni Association held a fundraiser dinner.  Not being an alumni, I attended solely to reconnect with some of the classmates I left behind upon completing the third grade.

And I did.  Here are three.

That is Doug on the left.  He was one of my best friends in the 1950s.  We have met several times in Salem.  Susan is in the center.  She was quiet in grade school.  But I had a great time hearing her stories of her life after Powers -- and some after her return to the area.

Linda is on the right.  She was undoubtedly the prettiest girl in my third grade class.  When we moved north, I lied and told my new fourth grade classmates she had been my girl friend.  Linda cringed a bit when I told her that.

I also  had the honor of meeting a reader from Brookings who follows this blog on Facebook.  It turns out our mothers are long-time friends.

It was a fun evening.  Even though I did not live long in Powers, it will always have a special place in my memory -- solely because of my friends there.

On our drive back to Powers, the sky reminded me that the Mexican beaches may have fantastic sunsets, but the Oregon mountains can put on a show almost as competitive.


min said...

You are finding a beauty every place  you go.

I was right about keep on reading your Blog.

min said...

And also you reached out.
Thanks .

Steve Cotton said...

 I almost retired in Powers.  The memories were a draw.

min said...

How wonderful to have freedom.
Able to pick and choose.

Wish,you were watching  Tennis!
Andy Murray won the Gold.

Those pickle English,
When He wins,His English.
When he loss,His Scot!

Joe S. said...

Steve, just read your last 2 blogs. It takes me back to when Darrel & I were both wrestlers in high school, but he was really cool, even though he was younger, because he raced motorcycles. You however had panache, and a cute girlfriend. You KNEW when the time to move on was right, unlike the rest of us. One of these days we'll reminisce in person.   

Andean said...

And I agree, Oregon has one of the most beautiful sunsets! The colors are spectacular, mesmerizing.
It's good to hear you are so enjoying your time with friends and family, there's nothing better sometimes.

Chihuahua said...

Poor little kitty.

John Calypso said...

Now you are causing me to reminisce. Lots of fishing days on the  Umpqua river. Lived in Ashland for 16 years once upon a time.

Steve Cotton said...

I look forward to it.

Steve Cotton said...

And today was family in spades.

Steve Cotton said...

The jungle took back one of its own.

Steve Cotton said...

The upper Umpqua and Diamond Lake are among my favorite parts of Oregon.

Miz_L said...

well, I have read and re-read trying to find a mention of my sarcastic self, but to no avail. Until now - the third reading of this blog.

Thank you for treating me with such kindness. It was, of course, nice to finally meet you. You have done your mother and yourself proud writing about Powers. If I had not been there, I would have wanted to visit.

Steve Cotton said...

 My in-person persona must be a bit more sarcastic than my writing persona.