A Small Price to Pay

Leslie and I got back from our first vacation in nearly two years not too long ago.   Dawn rented a house near Newport, Oregon, for a week and an invitation was our Christmas present.  We also got to see Sydney, our Colorado granddaughter, for the first time since we saw her two summers ago, which, coincidentally, was just a few miles down the beach.  Perhaps it’s not entirely coincidental since it was the same area Paula and I used to take the kids on vacation there for many years in a row.  It’s definitely one of my favorite places.

The timing was perfect; we had seven rainless days.  We had a couple of days of complete sunshine and a few more foggy days, and we were spared the 90+ days that they were having in Tacoma while we were gone.  I’ve been to the beach often enough that  I expected the fog, but was pleasantly surprised by the sunshine. 

We didn’t walk every day, but we did get in some serious walks.  Four miles in the sand is more challenging than four miles on the sidewalk, as it turns out. That wasn’t challenging enough for the two girls who preferred a less-traveled route.

Best of all, Lael and Sydney aren’t as blase´ as we old folks so we ended up seeing things we haven’t noticed for years.

Lael also showed that she hadn’t wasted her time sorting my photos the last two summers by spotting, and correctly naming, a Black Oystercatcher, the only bird other than a gull that we spotted on this trip to the beach.

We also visited several art galleries, both high-end ones where we viewed art work that we could admire but couldn’t possibly afford and more casual stores where I bought the grandkids inexpensive artwork to remember the trip. I suspect, though, that there favorite shop was the Sock Shop that I was dragged into and ended up buying nearly a $100 of much-needed socks. 

Actually, though, much of the trip was spent inside playing board games and card games where I was reassured that the competitive gene I inherited from my father has been passed down at least two generations as I was reminded that kids and grandkids alike delight in beating Grandpa in games.  It didn’t help that grandpa has never played some of the games that everyone else seemed to know by heart and that very few of the games relied on words to solve them. Despite having the lowest score on three major card games, I’ve learned to take pleasure in just watching how competitive the grandkids are and the strategies they developed to win.  Win or lose, I wouldn’t have missed a moment on the trip. 

However, I would have gladly missed the frustration I experienced trying to get Sydney home and the cold/flu that I picked up from Dawn.  Sydney was originally scheduled to depart from Portland airport on our last day at the beach, Friday.  Leslie and I dropped her and her grandmother at the airport in plenty of time.  After waiting an hour or so in Vancouver to hear if she had any problems, we headed for home, only to get a call about an hour later that her flight had been canceled because of “weather conditions” in Denver.  Luckily, Dawn and Lael were behind us and picked her up.  Dawn took her to the Seattle Airport the next day to try again.  About halfway home, she got another call saying that the flight had been canceled, too. Sunday I took her to the airport well before her scheduled flight because Tyson called and said earlier flights had empty seats.  We did manage to get her on a flight an hour earlier than her scheduled flight, but I ended up spending 6 hours at the airport waiting for her flight to take off. Apparently, Southwest Airlines canceled over 1,000 flights between Friday and Saturday.  Weather conditions might have been a factor, but it turned out they had laid off so many workers during the Covid epidemic that they couldn’t keep up with the demand once people were vaccinated.

Waiting at the airport wouldn’t have been quite so miserable if I hadn’t caught Dawn’s cold/flu, the first one I’ve had in over a year and a half.  I was running a fever the whole time I was at the airport; when I got home around six that night I went straight to bed and woke up around 10:00 am Monday morning.  It certainly didn’t help that I got that cold in the middle of our record heat wave.  I suspect my fever had as much to do with the heat as it did to my body reacting to a virus since it is generally higher on hot days.

The trip ended a year and a half of staying home, or, at least, staying within a few miles of home.  Perhaps not surprisingly, that time was also my healthiest period in the last ten years; I didn’t get a cold or the flu the entire time, the longest I’ve gone in a long time.  I can only conclude that if I were to become a hermit and recluse I would probably live a much longer life — if I didn’t, literally, die of boredom.  In the end, though, the cold and the long wait at the airport seemed like a very small price to pay for a delightful week at the beach.

One thought on “A Small Price to Pay”

  1. Sounds like it was a wonderful adventure at the coast. The photos are beautiful. Lovely that you got to see family and vacation together. Hope you are feeling better now. This is such a challenging time with Covid and heatwaves. Take care there.

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