Spring is coming to Portland! The hyacinths are standing proud, cherry blossoms are drifting down like snow, and we are getting sun!
Last week only played at being sunny. Teasing us, being bright and sunny and luring us outside, but still really cold. But yesterday, POOF! It was sunny AND warm. It was so pretty, Grandpa Nelson and I went for a walk.
Well, technically, I was going to make dinner. But Grandpa Nelson mentioned “Salt and Straw” Ice Cream, and dinner got put back in the fridge to wait for a while.
Division Street used to feel like a long walk, but it’s only a mile south through lovely older neighborhoods of Victorians and Craftsman style homes. The oak trees are tall and fat, the steps properly mossy, the garden a bit shaggy. Politics is blooming. It was wonderful.
Once we got to “Salt and Straw”, there was a line inside and happy people sitting in the sun licking ice cream cones outside. It felt like summer, with people in shorts and sunglasses, chatting and taking selfies in the sun.
We stepped into the St. Honore Boulangerie next door to pick up a nice pain au chocolat for Auntie Bridgett, who was home with a cold, and headed back through the neighborhood.
And we saw these inky clouds over the bright pink trees, and knew that our sunshine would be short lived, that this coming week was going to be wet and cold.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!