Saturday, June 24, 2006


Today we drove to the Oregon coast. It's only about an hour and a half drive. Dad began questioning Ken about his work (he's a heavy equipment operator/supervisor for a natural gas company in Wyoming). When discussing the kind of vehicles Ken drives for work, Dad said he should haul a trailer. Filled with turkey cages, constructed in such a way that the turkey droppings collected and were turned into methane, an alternative fuel source to run the truck. Of course the turkeys would require feed and water, adding to the weight he would have to haul, as well as whatever processing equipment to convert the manure into methane gas. The turkeys then shouldn't be in individual cages so they could procreate. This would provide a continuous source of methane and food as well. So, of course, you would have to add a rotisserie to the back of the rig for roasting whatever turkey you plan to eat that day. You would also want to sell the remnants from the methane processing for topsoil. I envision a Dr. Seuss kind of rig with water tanks, feed bins, turkey dropping collection, some kind of wild processor that puts moonshine rigs to shame, and a rotisserie off to the side. With every sentence the rig became more elaborate, until the only vehicle that could haul it would be a D-8 Cat. I laughed so hard I thought I would wet myself.

Upon arriving at an ocean overlook: "It's a lot of water."
Upon driving away from the beach: "We're almost at sea level."
To test my self-restraint: "Kim, you sing so beautifully, why do you whistle so terribly?"
More "Stop!" "Pull over!" "Why are you driving so fast?" "Why are you driving so slow?" "You missed it!" "What did that sign say?" "You went too far." "Why are you turning around." "Why did we pull into a parking lot where there aren't any parking spaces?" Did we know there weren't any spaces until we checked? "You need to get behind that car." "You shouldn't leave so much room there, someone will get between us and the next car."

The minute the key goes in the ignition the talking begins. All the words he didn't say when he was hiding out in his basement study when we were kids seem to have been stored up, and now must be spoken anytime he is in the car. It's very different from the mostly silent car trips of the past, each of us in our own little world, only brought out of it by requests for bathroom breaks. "You should have gone at home." "I didn't have to go at home."

Still, after false starts, and many stops, we did make it to a lovely beach that was nearly deserted. Dad sat in a folding chair while we beachcombed and took in the sound of the ocean, the smell of the surf and the feel of the sand and water between our toes. There was a lighthouse on a point off to the south. Someday I have to live by the ocean. The food didn't really turn out, but who cares? We were on the beach, staring at the ocean, and on the return trip we drove by vineyard after vineyard, with their neat and tidy rows of beautifully leafy vines (too far away to see the quality of the fruit). Food for the soul.

Dad's worn out. Ken leaves in the morning. A week has gone by with nothing resolved, but with a clearer picture of what's going on. A heat wave has hit Salem. I hope it doesn't last too long. I don't do well in the heat. I wanna go home. I love seeing my parents. I want to help, but I still wanna go home.

I was going to write about how sometimes the most decent, praiseworthy, upright and honorable thing you can do is NOT to hit, strangle or smother another person whose behavior begs for it, but I'll leave that for another post another time.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Your Dad is hysterical. He reminds me a little of my Dad, only much more so. And I can relate to the bit about talking more now than in years past.

Thanks for being there with them. I know he loves every minute of having you there! And I'm enjoying your blog posts from there. But I look forward to having you back home too!