Kerns picnic

Dear Liza,

Yesterday it was so hot, we stayed down in the cool of the basement most of the day. We read, played Scrabble, and looked at maps of Portland to see neat places to go visit. once it gets cooler.

But at 6:00 in the evening, we gathered our folding chairs, cold water and a few snacks and walked to Oregon Park, up between Hoyt and Irving Streets,  for the Kerns Neighborhood picnic,  celebrating the National Night Out.

Oregon Park is not a fancy park, not as as forested as Laurelhurst Park.  But it is a nice park with tall Douglas firs and wide spreading maples, giving lots of welcome shade. There are climbing toys, including teeter-totters, which we don’t have in California anymore.

When we got to Oregon Park, people were beginning to gather, bringing chairs, blankets, or sitting at tables and chairs set up on the basketball court, which was resurfaced and donated by Nike in 2002. (There is a plaque in the corner of the court making sure we know this.)

A small band of fellows about my age set up, and started playing smooth jazz on an electric keyboard, bass, flute, and drums. Just the perfect music for a picnic. Happy, dance-able, and familiar enough to be friendly and welcoming.


The Kerns Neighborhood Association provided hot dogs and soda, which many families and their kids enjoyed, and a church group set up kids’ games in the shade.We met Thomas, a local minister and music producer, and his sons Kuyper and Tobin, and another pastor named Art.

A group of young adults played frisbee football, and later, just frisbee, with great skill and joy, running and jumping like athletic Labradors.

Raffle tickets for good donated by local stores were sold at a dollar a piece. Grandpa Nelson bought three and  we won a $30.00 gift certificate from Dov Vivi pizza, just a few blocks from home. Other folks won a corn hole game, gift certificates from massage shops and tea, and flotation shop, and Staccato Gelato, a wonderful Italian ice cream parlor just a few blocks from here, next to Whole Foods.

As the sun went down it got a tiny bit cooler. The music stopped, tables and chairs were folded and put in trucks. We gathered our things, helped throw away trash, said goodbye to our new people and dog friends, and walked home in the dusk. Restaurants and bars were full of people cooling off, porches were lit up with their sparkly lights, and we were happy to be here, home, and together.

I hope tomorrow is cooler!

Love, Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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