Tuesday, March 4, 2008

a trip home

What a long day! I drove to Smalltown on the Washington coast, and its neighboring town of Hickville. Neither of these towns has been economically prosperous for years, and it looks as if nothing has changed. I had to visit some credit unions to withdraw money for my dad's care, and I visited his new assisted living center. They'll have a room for him in a couple weeks. Although it's in Hickville, it is a pleasant place with a caring environment, and I think he will be very happy here. I know he will find that he knows many of the residents.

(Okay, of course...those aren't the real names of those towns. But if you saw them you'd understand.)

I did find a decent cup of chowder at a riverside Seafood market. Not the most fabulous chowder I've ever eaten (that was in Ireland...) but better than we find in our desert metropolis.

I was able to put aside the stress...part of the time...and just enjoy the green hillsides and the trees and the clouds.

My dad sent me on a bit of a wild goose chase; he really wanted me to visit my mom's friend who is in a nursing home. He called me this morning to tell me that this friend was not doing well and not expected to live. He didn't want me to be shocked by her frail appearance. I thought this was extremely thoughtful of him to tell me this...but he left out one important detail.

I went to the nursing home. They said she was no longer there but she might be at the hospital. I drove to the hospital, and hesitated for a moment outside as I realized that not only was this my birthplace but also the place my mom died. In fact I had not visited that particular hospital since the last time I saw my mom. I asked the front desk attendant and they did not have my mom's friend on their patient list. This was not a wasted trip though, because from the hospital parking lot (built on a hill), there's a beautiful panoramic view of Smalltown and Hickville and the hills and the Harbor surrounding them. The clouds were particularly lovely this afternoon, and it was a great reminder that though my hometown looks a bit ragged, it was a beautiful place to grow up.

Tonight I called my dad when I reached Salem, and he said, "Oh, your mom's friend isn't in Smalltown anymore, she's in Olympia." That's an hour away from Smalltown and I was nowhere near there today!

I had tea with a friend who lives near Hickville: a refreshing break.

So....a very long exhausting day full of driving and memories and beautiful scenery.

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