Home Again, Home Again…

Dear Liza,

It was really warm the day Grandpa Nelson and I walked to Mt. Tabor. The grass in the park was golden brown from our unusually dry summer. Even the breeze felt more Southern Californian than Southern Portland.

California-golden grass And Grandpa Nelson

We enjoyed watching the people come and go. The cinder cone that is Mt. Tabor is a favorite for hikers and bikers looking for an in-town challenge. They are resolute going up and joyous coming down.

”Mom…..”

Not everyone is equally enthusiastic, however. One young fellow who was cycling with his mom kept up a steady stream of complaints as he rode up the hill. “Mom, you said we were just going to the park!” … “Mom, I don’t want to go all the way up!” … “Mom…” But Mom wisely kept riding and eventually he followed her up.

Lovely lichen


It was hot and dry, but the Pacific Northwest is where I developed my love of moss and lichen, and I was not disappointed. I wandered into some usually- shady spots and found several kinds of lichen flourishing on pine branches. The scaly bits will wait patiently until the rains return.

Pines, firs, and blackberries

Once we had caught our breath, we headed down the hill for hot dogs and fries at Zach’s Shack. A sparsely populated, shady patio and a Chicago dog put me right again, with the thirteen eyes of the weird mural watching over us.

Zach’s Shack back patio

Heading home we found new garden delights. Someone has created this hand-hammered, pomegranate shaped metal fire pit and placed it among blackberries and roses. I imagine it is wonderful on chilly September evenings, glowing in the greenery.

Giant pomegranate fire pit

And just a few blocks from home, we found this carefully tended tunnel of bushes and vines, making a cool passage on the by-now really hot afternoon. We appreciated it and headed home for water and a rest.

Lovely shady tunnel

Five and a quarter miles, and well worth the sweat!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Sewallcrest Park

Dear Liza,

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The First of the colors

Fall will officially be here in just two weeks, and the weather is still hot and dry. Walking is limited to the evening because of 90 degree temperatures in the daytime.

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And I’ll bet it is!

After dinner yesterday we walked south passing one of our favorite neighborhood landmarks, Fort Awesome. It’s a house.

We continued to Sewallcrest Park, where we saw adult kickball last year. There were lots of other folks out enjoying the evening.

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Pick up soccer game

There were two groups of soccer players, a young ladies’ team and what seemed to be a men’s pick-up game (they asked Grandpa Nelson if he wanted to play), both playing half-field. When the ladies were finished, the men moved to the center and used all the space.

There was a group of older men playing basketball, making good shots and passes but wisely taking lots of breathers and drinks of water in between.

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Old dudes playing hoops

Besides these organized games, there was the usual nappers, dog walkers, and joggers. A mom and her daughter rolled by on skateboards. The sunset turned the light pink and everything was magical.

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Art car

On the way home we enjoyed special Eastside Portland views; the sun going down at the end of Hawthorne Street, an old car enjoying new life as an art piece, and front yard chickens, being chickens.

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Front yard chickens

Love,

Grandma Judy