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Friday, March 1, 2024
March 1, 2024

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Press Talk: It’s been awhile


The beauty of these roses on our morning walk in Esther Short Park is only outdone by their intoxicating smell.

I’m always grateful to the Fort Vancouver Rose Society for planting and maintaining this garden. If all else fails as we grind our way through each passing day, a short visit here brings certain success.

A few steps later, there’s a mid-30s type — worn blue jeans, plaid shirt, frantically waving a red bandana, belting out “Drift Away,” a 1970s song. You know it, right? “Give me the beat boys and free my soul/I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away …”

He danced down the Propstra Square steps, that bandana held high above his head in his right hand. As though he was signaling for help. But he was just enjoying himself. I almost joined him but he was in the zone. You simply don’t bother someone in the zone.

We kept walking and ran into Scooby, a 150-pound Great Dane. Scooby dwarfs the man walking him, who is slight of build. So when the man tells us the actual owner is smaller than he is, I smile. The image before me is quite the sight. But that …

Stuck in Florida

This is Vancouver. The place is remarkable in what I guess many would consider an unremarkable way. But unlike many others, my wife, Maley, and I are seeing it for the first time in a long time. We’re noticing what has changed and what has remained the same.

You see, it’s the first time we have been here in a year and eight months. Let me explain. When I retired four years ago as editor of The Columbian, we began wintering in Florida. We’d always come back and spend our summers here. But then COVID-19 hit and we ended up stuck in Florida last summer.

There is much to miss about Vancouver summers, especially the weather. This is as good as it gets anywhere.

So we were happy when the plane’s wheels touched down at PDX a few days ago.

The drive home

We bumped along Interstate 205 on our way to our Salmon Creek home in a very jarring way. Was the surface always this bad? I think not. Whomever might be able to put some pressure on those who make resurfacing decisions should step up their game.

We also notice the encampments of the homeless that appear to stretch for miles. This isn’t new but it’s growing. I get that our best and brightest are working on this exponentially growing problem, but we’re losing this battle. And, honestly, I don’t think we will ever win it.

Looking around

The rat-a-tat-tat of drills and hammers and saws is everywhere. We maneuvered our way through the endless construction and concluded this is a very good sight. Maybe some of this will help those who need housing. But will it make a significant dent in the problem?

We head back to our home. We enjoy living in Salmon Creek. Our neighbors have always been so kind, friendly and helpful. Garry — our neighbor a few doors down — has been keeping an eye on our place while we’ve been gone and has done too much for me to mention.

Bill and Sandy — more good neighbors — let our cable guy in earlier this week when our flight here was delayed. Thanks!

As we cruise up Northwest Bliss Road we see bikers and joggers and walkers, all enjoying themselves. And that’s what living here should be all about, right? Enjoying ourselves.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. We certainly don’t know how long we will continue these cross-country trips twice a year, shutting down one home and starting up another. But as we pull into our driveway, we sure are happy to be here.

Now if I can just get my hands on some good chinook salmon.