Sunday, October 14, 2007

A brigde to Monday

We got out of town after work on Thursday and headed for Portland. Beth drove while I graded essays and the kids read books. We had a full slate of activities ahead of us. Our friend's daughter turned eight, so there was a slumber party-birthday celebration for our friend's daughter Ariel. There was also an Apple Fair on Hawthorne where there were literally fifty different varieties of apples to taste...Beth took the kids there while I went to one of the world's great private bookstores, Powell's Books. There I bought some reference books for French and Spanish classes at LHS and I also graded essays for another couple of hours. Saturday we went to the Northwest Children's Theater production of "Honk!" Not as good alas as "Frog and Toad" from two years ago but still worth seeing. There was one endearing moment that came not from on stage but from Piper, Ariel's little sister. It came at the end of a chorus number. All the singers on stage were sustaining a long plaintive note when I noticed a new and slightly sharp voice added to the mix. I looked over and there was Piper, her lips rounded, her voice sounding out as if by instinct to the "ducks" on stage. When the chorus stopped in unison, Piper's tremulous little voice continued for about three seconds, having melded with her flock it had become by the end nearly pitch perfect. The lights went out leaving some in the audience unsure of what they had just heard. Piper's mom and I laughed....worth the price of admission, that moment.

After the show we made a very random connection with a friend we first made last year in Lege. John is an American married to a French woman. We met in France and spent a few enjoyable evenings together but upon returning to Oregon we fell out of touch. Then we learned through a mutual friend that he has moved to Portland where he is working feverishly to open a restaurant called Isabele in the Pearl District on 10th and Flanders. It was only six blocks from the theater so we checked it out and we found John and spent a little while catching up...wierd. He's a mover and a shaker and it will be fun for us to monitor his exploits from a closer distance.
Sunday it was back to Powell's (on Hawthorne) for a not so random (in fact, very contrived) meeting. Our next door neighbors, whose kids are best friends with our kids were also in Portland. We all agreed it would be fun to blow their little minds by setting up an "accidental" encounter in Portland. Powell's was the site chosen because of its terrific children's book section. Turned out to be a great idea, we all bought lots of books, too many really (I got Persepolis 1 and 2 and also Sacco's Palestine...gonna try and interest my Social Studies colleagues in them.
After that it was time at long last to trek home...a four hour drive.

I'm boning up for a course I'm teaching at penitentiary in Pendleton next month. We'll be reading and discussing excerpts from Aristotle's Ethics, Plato's Republic, and Thucydides' History of the Peleponesian Wars. On the drive back Beth let me practice on her a little bit. I'm actually growing more and more sympathetic to what his views, at least as I understand them. Perhaps more on that some day.

Let me just finish this with an observation that getting in a car and going some place with Beth (and the kids) is invariably a good thing. We pass the time a variety of ways, some of them practical (school work), others not so much, but there is always time for us to talk at some point. There's nothing like talking on the road. Maybe it's the fact that no matter what you say, on at least one level you're always getting somewhere. All I know is that it makes for good times and good travel.


Anonymous erin said...

I love the idea of the "casual meeting". What fun! Also, I had to tell you that the other night someone asked me if I knew where my Dad was at the moment, and my answer was "probably at the prison in Pendleton". Then I started laughing- and don't worry, I explained everything! Had a good laugh, though.

6:46 AM  

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