We managed to find a lot of fun things to do while you were here, like walking to Slappycakes for breakfast.
We love this place! You get to make your own pancakes right at the table. There is a gluten-free batter, a chocolate and delicious lemon-vanilla, as well as regular buttermilk. We had fun designing, flipping, and eating our creations.
The next day, we took a long walk through the Lone Fir Cemetery. I love this old cemetery that has been in use since the 1840s. You liked it, too, and wanted to help keep it in good repair.
You got very good at rubbing the headstones to gently remove the moss and dirt. You even helped clean out the letters with a soft stick.
We also went to the Central Bowl down on Morrison. This combination restaurant, bar, bowling alley and arcade is amazing! There are TV screens and crazy lights everywhere. Auntie Bridgett coached you, we bowled a few games and had sushi and tacos for dinner.
I lost at Air Hockey AND bowling, and had such a good time! When the grownups were pooped, we headed home.
One evening, Auntie Katie and Marion came by to visit. It was loud and funny and went way late.
You are coming to visit! I am so excited! It has been years since you were in Portland, and some things haven’t changed. Slappycakes is still here, and we will be heading there for breakfast.
We can still go to the zoo, although you might not fit inside this log anymore!
But in the four years since you’ve been here, lots has changed. The riots of 2020 and the pandemic have effected the politics, and economy, of Portland.
This statue of Harvey Scott, up on Mt. Tabor, was taken down by people who disagreed with his being “put up on a pedestal”, literally. Mr. Scott was a rich, important man in the history of Portland, but his beliefs about women’s and other groups’ civil rights have not aged well. Other statues, like Teddy Roosevelt and even Abraham Lincoln, have been put away until decisions are made about where they should be.
And since it is now early spring instead of late summer, there will be more tulips than black-eyed Susans.
Cities are living things, with millions of people creating them everyday. They grow and change just like you and I do. But we take what comes and do what we can to make it better.
One of the reasons we bought the house we did, here in the Southeast part of Portland, is because of the neighborhood. It is a nice mix of Victorian style homes and newer houses, full of big trees and rhododendron bushes, and just a few blocks away from fabulous Laurelhurst Park.
It is also close to dozens of bars, restaurants, and cool shops, and even a Korean grocery store. We love being able to walk less than a block for milk or eggs at H Mart.
But it is the little restaurants and the people who run them that make our Friday nights special. Pulled pork, shrimp with grits, a glass of wine while hanging with David at at the Hobnob. Watching scifi movies and having dessert with Mitch at The Nerd Out. Street tacos and chatting with Gilly at Ankeny Tap and Table. Making our own birthday pancakes at SlappyCakes. You know, the good times.
And it is exactly these small restaurants that are suffering during the shut down mandated by the corona virus. Keeping everyone safe and distant means the dining rooms have to close, and there just isn’t enough take-out business.
The only businesses close by that are doing well are H Mart and the smaller convenience stores like Plaid Pantry and Belmont Market, and pizza places like Baby Doll and Straight From New York Pizza, who are doing take out and even free delivery.
I am worried about a lot of things, lately. Staying healthy, and keeping Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson well. What this virus’s stay in our country will cost in jobs and retirement investments. Whether our Federal government, which doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on things, is going to make things better instead of worse.
But I am also worried about the survival of the small businesses that make our neighborhood special.