We had some errands to do yesterday, so Auntie Bridgett and I went for a nice long walk. And since all the places we needed to go were down on Hawthorne, we saw how that street is changing during the lockdown.
We saw that Chez Machin, a lovely French bistro type place, has changed its name to Frog and Snail. I am hoping it is just a name change and the owners are the same. They are nice folks, and too many people are losing their livelihoods because of the shutdown. We will have a taste of their frogs and snails when the city opens up more.
We still found a lot of businesses closed, but the art and messaging is beautiful and hopeful. I took pictures as a way of holding tight onto goodness and love.
I have been so dismayed these last few days at the level of anger and violence that has swept over Portland and the rest of the country that I sometimes just want to curl up and sleep until all the hatred has passed.
But love, beauty and just plain human goodness are making themselves heard, too. And that gives me comfort.
After dropping off dry cleaning and mailing packages, we stopped at Hawthorne Liquor. Auntie Bridgett is on a mission to find a certain kind of yummy cognac that we had on an Air France flight, years ago. We have yet to find it anywhere in the city. But I did have time to wonder at this improbable bottle of pear brandy!
On the way home we stopped at Whole Bowl for lunch, which we ate while sitting on the chairs outside the temporarily closed Common Grounds coffee shop. We stopped at Chase bank to return someone’s lost credit card, and enjoyed some more street art.
By the time we got home, we had walked nearly three miles! I felt pretty accomplished, after these long months of too much sofa-sitting. Maybe we can put ourselves out of this hole, after all.
Saturday morning we were WOKEN UP by a wonderfully loud and flashy thunder-and-lightning storm. We had seen the clouds wafting in Friday evening as we sat on our balcony, and knew it was only a matter of time.
I love thunder storms. The power and energy give me a sense of perspective, an understanding of my tininess in the face of universal forces. I can picture myself as one of the mice huddling under bushes or birds snuggling in their nests.
And speaking of tiny creatures, it is Spring, which means baby animals have been on my radar.
My friends Amy and Angela have gotten kittens, named Terri and Princess Zelda, respectively, who are keeping them company during the shut down.
At Lone Fir, I followed one young squirrel in his exploration of the sunny headstones, and another, more ‘substantial’ fellow perching on a monument.
And then there are the ducks! Laurelhurst Park’s little Firwood Lake is home to a few dozen ducks, and this week, most of them are guarding little flotillas of fluffy ducklings. It is an eleven out of ten on the cuteness scale.
This little guy got tired of swimming and followed Momma up onto shore for a rest.
And that is your dose of tiny animals for the day!
Saturday was beautiful and sunny, so between art and errands, Auntie Bridgett and I walked over to visit the Dead People at Lone Fir. This old cemetery is lovely in any weather, but on a sunny spring day it seems to deliver the package of emotions I need; beauty, mourning, eternity, new beginnings and final endings. It was wonderful.
And I found a new friend. This eight foot tall monument was erected to James Gray Flowerdew (great name, right?) who had died on July 22, 1872. The Masonic emblem is on the tombstone, so we know he was a Mason in good standing. He was also only 37, which seemed really young to have this sort of marker.
I was really curious about this fellow, and got on the Internet to find out more about him. Mr. Flowerdew was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1835, where he and his family owned property. I know he lived there at least until 1867, because he is listed in a court case where he and other members of his family were awarded an inheritance due them.
He came to Portland sometime between 1867 and 1870, and on January 2, 1871, he formed a new company, Hewitt, Flowerdew and Co., with businessman Henry Hewitt. According to an ad in a June 1871 Oregonian, they had offices at the corner of First and Ash Streets downtown and bought and sold shipments of Liverpool Salt, Scotch Pig Iron, Dundee textiles, tin plates, and sheet iron.
The company got a valuable new client that June, the Imperial Fire Insurance Company of London. The ad announcing this business move was placed by Henry Corbett and Donald Macleay, powerful movers and shakers in Portland industry. Mr. Macleay was also from Scotland, so maybe having this in common with him helped young Mr. Flowerdew.
On August 16, 1871, Mr. Flowerdew was appointed as Vice Council to Great Britain, being congratulated in the official documents of the State of Oregon by Governor L. F. Grover. Life was good. His business was growing and he was becoming important politically. Then tragedy struck.
Sometime in June of 1872, he was thrown from his buggy in an accident, and died six weeks later of his injuries. He had been in the country less than four years. His brother and sisters back in Scotland put up this magnificent marble monument to him.
So now I know a little bit more about Portland’s late, great population. Only about a million folks to go!
We have been in corona virus shut down for two months now, and we have gotten better at it. I no longer forget my mask (and have to go back for it), and I keep an eye up to avoid getting too close to folks. Most people in this part of Portland are wearing masks, but a troubling number, especially those old enough to know better, are not.
With Grandpa Nelson having the fevers, fatigue, and general crappy feeling that come with a touch of Covid-19, we are staying home even more. Auntie Bridgett and I get our outside time when we walk to the market for groceries. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are both taking care to keep their carts clean and folks well apart, limiting the number of people in the store.
Safeway is larger and less diligent, but has put in arrows to show “one way” aisles and big dots on the floor to remind folks to socially distance. Even our local Stumptown coffee has painted horse shoes on the sidewalk for safe sidewalk ordering.
Although we can now get toilet paper most days, some things are still in short supply. Ginger root, which comes from China, has been harder to find, and most of the garlic is now coming from good old Gilroy, down by Salinas. And there are some amusing new items showing up!
In the neighborhood, we are seeing the inevitable signs of spring. Giant poppies are charging out of the ground.
Irises up to my shoulder lean against each other like drunken friends.
Local artists are making bits to amuse folks. This fellow, who goes by the name “Toast Ghost”, paints images on metal and attaches them magnetically to metal parts of the landscape. We found this one stuck on the bolt of a telephone pole!
Well, that’s all the news from here for now. More tomorrow!
We got to walk through the neighborhood yesterday, on our way to Whole Foods for groceries. Our last two days of bright sunshine have encouraged all the flowers!
The bees are going nuts, too, though they were skittish and wouldn’t let me get close enough to take their pictures. However, this solid brick of azalea blooms was very patient.
Up on Ankeny Street in a poetry box, I found this very personal poem. If I had seen it on Mother’s Day, it would have felt cruel and bruising. But today I am stronger and can see it as beautiful.
Feelings are such delicate balances between joy and melancholy, sweet memories and frightful hauntings, it is a miracle we maintain as well as we do. I only really appreciate joy when I have pulled out of a dark hole and can sigh with relief at my freedom.