Sunday, August 14, 2005

IN THE SHADOW OF MT. HOOD



Here I am, sitting in a hotel room in Oregon, taking advantage of the opportunity to write, and resisting the temptation to run outside and breathe in the atmosphere, the fresh air, the sense of being somewhere where life means something other than weekend box office results and the endless annoyances of the everyday. I miss my girls, the babies and the grown-up, something fierce, but the good folks at Verizon have made sure we don't pine for each other too long and too painfully. (Have you ever pulled the toes of a five-year-old over a digital phone connection? Nor had I, until last night.) I whiled part of yesterday away driving down three-lane highways surrounded by pines, making my way toward the company of beloved relatives with whom I haven't spent nearly enough time in the last 20 years or so. I enjoyed the best burger in the state (with a side of Walla Walla sweet onion rings) for dinner, and logged a couple of hours talking with Brian Francis, owner/operator of the 99W Drive-in in Newberg, walking the field, checking out the projection booth, soaking up the ambience before settling in with a double feature that got out at around 2:15 this morning. And today, while I'm writing, I've got the Angels/Mariners game on (Fox Sports Northwest doesn't feature the Dodgers/Mets) and I've been switching over occasionally to keep up with what's going on downtown between the Portland Beavers and Colorado Springs at PGE Park. So I can't watch the Dodgers, but thanks to the joys of the Internet, I can still read about 'em, and Jon Weisman's latest piece, posted less than an hour ago, speaks to me like wise words from an old friend, even though Jon and I have never met. I have tonight and all day tomorrow to write some more, and I am having a wonderful time taking advantage of it, letting the Oregon vibes keep my fingers humming, to say nothing of my spirit. Why, I might even head out and track down my best friend's old neighborhood tomorrow too, and take a drink from that fountain on Thurman Street. All is well in the shadow of Mt. Hood as the sun starts to make its exit toward the coast (ah, the coast), and I am all the better for it.

9 comments:

benaiah said...

Enjoy your vacation Dennis! I am heading home tomorrow (to sweet Alabama no less). Hopefully when our vacations are over the Dodgers will be a couple of games closer to the Dads.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Best for your trip too, Benaiah! I just took a break and saw The Dukes of Hazzard. In the words of Bo Duke, whoo-hoo! And all I can say for your visit is, no speeding! Enjoy your time off, and come back safe!

blaaagh said...

What an infusion of cheer this article--and especially your surprise phone call from my old Thurman St. neighborhood this morning!--gave me. And I loved the article you link to about the neighborhood. Sounds like you're getting a good refresher; Portland's good for that. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it!

Sharon said...

According to Entertainment Weekly, the Kennedy School Theater in Portland is #2 in the country. Have you been there or are you planning a visit while you're up that way?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Blaaagh-- I got some pics of the neighborhood around 31st and Thurman today that I'll send to you. And, hey, that water in the fountain is pretty nice and cold!

Sharon: I had planned to go to the Kennedy School tonight for pizza, beer and a movie, but I got caught up in writing this ridiculously long article that I just posted, and besides, I wasn't really sure I wanted to see The Devil's Rejects, so I passed for this trip. But next time for sure!

blaaagh said...

Cool about the pictures--I can't wait to see 'em! It's funny about the fountain with the always nice, cold water: when I was a kid growing up there ('64-'73), we always said that it had a fountain for people to drink out of, a trough for horses to drink from, and a low-down fountain for the dogs...but until I read the article you referenced, I'd never heard an adult verify it. The old sidewalks also had hitching rings for horses; some of them probably still do, where they haven't been replaced. Is the Kennedy School Theater one of those McMenamin's places? They are cool...I've been to one in some former institution up there, maybe a mental institution!

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, apparently it's an old elementary school that has been converted into a hotel/pub/movie theater. They show the movies in the school auditorium-- with couches and stuff to sit on, like the Parkway in Oakland-- and the hotel rooms are old classrooms, so each one of them has a big blackboard in it. You can see photos and movie schedules and the like on the McMenamin's web site right here. Okay, I gotta check out of this hotel room...!

blaaagh said...

Ah, I looked on the McMenamin's web site and found out a little more about the former "institution" I visited some years ago: it's Edgefield, which was established as a "poor farm" in 1911, where they actually farmed, and for its last twenty years (until closing in '82) was a nursing home--anyway, now it's a beautiful, stately mansion with sprawling grounds and several restaurants and a hotel. Lots of good Oregon brew, too, as I remember.

Loxjet said...

I've visited probably half of the McMennamin's in Stumptown, and I'm gonna rate the Bagadad in Hawthorne, the Barley Mill (on Hawthorne but not IN Hawthorne, if you follow me), and the Fulton on Macadam in John's Landing as the top three. Edgefield is nice, too, but a little out of the way. Glad you had a good time, Dennis. Wish I could've been there with you! Let me know when you go again! (Maybe we could meet there to watch the poor Montana Grizzlies try to cover the spread against those bullies from Eugene!)