Just a Quiet Sunday (Part 2)

Dear Liza,

Once Auntie Bridgett and I finished our long walk home from Eb and Bean, she checked her fitness watch. We had walked four and a half miles! We had big glasses of water and were reading on the balcony when we got a text from Grandpa Nelson, who had gone out for a short walk around the park.

“Music at the park!” He said. We were up in a minute, packing salami and cheese, water and peanuts and grabbing the folding chairs. As we walked, we got another text. “Finishing up. May have missed it.”

Well, heck. But we decided that we might as well go and enjoy some snacks in the park, anyway. Another text. “New band setting up!”

Hooray! We found Grandpa Nelson, set up the chairs, and watched people, dogs and kids hang around as the next band set up. Fellows with saxophone cases wandered in, then trombones and trumpets. A keyboard was set up. Then a lady in a wonderfully flowy, showy flowered dress walked toward the stage.

A Jazz band! Indeed, the Jumptown Jazz Band, with their vocalist, Claudia Knauer. What a treat!

They started with “I’ve Got a Lot of Living to Do” from Bye Bye Birdie, and continued for an hour and a half through Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Hodges, and Peggy Lee’s “I Love Being Here with You.” (“East is east and west is west, north and south, they’re both the best. But I’ll only visit them as a guest, ’cause I love being here with you.”)

The band was crisp and harmonious, and Claudia belted out the tunes with love and gusto.

We enjoyed the music and the impromptu dancing of kids, men and ladies in the audience. Dogs came and went, fetching sticks. Kids collected sticks that the dogs left behind. It was top notch Laurelhurst magic. But the music had to end sometime. And when it did, it was time to leave.

Before we headed home, I wanted to get a good photo of the wonderful Claudia. She was chatting with some friends and I got brave and just walked up. They were taking about a National group called “Women On the Fly”, a sort of Girl Scouts for grown women. They specialize in camping, encouraging women to enjoy themselves like they did (or didn’t get a chance to) when they were younger. Their motto is “Making Girls Out of Women.”

I joined the conversation and found out that Claudia is as nice and welcoming as she is talented. She laughed and posed and we had a lovely time. I plan to look into “Women on the Fly” and maybe even go camping! Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett don’t enjoy it, but I did when I was younger, and may enjoy it again.

I got home and realized that for just a quiet Sunday, we sure were busy!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Ice Cream Walking

Dear Liza,

Last night we wanted a nice long walk, and we wanted ice cream. We headed south, toward Division Street.

Just down our own block, we walked past the house where the flamingos are out in the yard. They were all wearing eclipse glasses!! This cracked us up. The whole city has gone eclipse crazy, with lots of visitors coming to Oregon to see next week’s solar eclipse. Hotels and rental cars are all booked. But these flamingos are ready.

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Eclipse-Ready Flamingos

We walked through a lovely neighborhood called Sunnyside, with interesting gardens and all sorts of decorations, like the Giving Tree, where people are invited to write what they are thankful for and hang it on the tree, announcements of neighborhood picnics, and cats.

 

 

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Tiny free library Photo credit: secondhand-goods.blogspot.com

 

We stopped at one of the tiny free libraries that are in many of the neighborhoods around here. They are smallish boxes, like a cupboard on a pole with a (sometimes) glass door. I had brought a book to share, a copy of “It was a dark and stormy night” that I have had for years. I traded it for a new copy of “Junie B Jones is a Party Animal” which I can share with you when you come up.

 

When we got to Division Street, about a mile south of our house, we stopped at Salt & Straw Ice Cream. This is a famous ice cream shop and there is always a line. We only waited a few minutes, time for me to decide on a tiny but delicious strawberry basalmic and pepper ice cream cone. Grandpa Nelson got a cinnamon snickerdoodle milkshake…he loved it! We sat in a nice shady patio and enjoyed our ice cream while happy kids ran around, giggling like goofballs.

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Salt and Straw!!!

 

Auntie Bridgett prefers frozen yogurt to ice cream, so we walked just a block up Division to Eb and Bean, a tasty frozen yogurt shop. She had a peanut yogurt cone, which was very, very good.

Heading home, we walked up Caruthers Street, and the name was very familiar. The other streets around it are Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant, who are all Civil War heroes and Presidents. Once I got home I realized that I had just photographed Finice Caruthers’ grave in Lone Fir Cemetery the day before, and read about him in my Portland history book, “Portland: People, Politics and Power”, by Jewel Lansing. Caruthers was a pioneer in Portland, getting one of the first Donation Land Grants just south of the main part of downtown.

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Finice Caruthers’ Grave

He was one of the men who made decisions that got the city started. He died young, with no children to carry on his name, so he is mostly forgotten. But this street, and now you and I, remember him! The history of this city is long and complicated, but I feel like I am starting to put some of the pieces together.
On our return walk, we saw more gardens, and cats. We had walked about three miles, so we were tired out. But it was a lovely evening!
Love,

Grandma Judy