Six years ago my daughters and I dropped a pretty paper bag over the side of the Wahkiakum County Ferry and into the Columbia River. The bag contained the ashes of my husband, their father.
For all our married life, my husband Edson hunted for his birthplace. All he knew to go on was a float house (a primitive houseboat) at Kerry, Ore. He asked anyone whom he met with North Oregon connections if they knew anything of Kerry. No one ever did.
I wanted to help him put this missing piece of his history to rest. I could only think Kerry didn’t exist anymore, and maybe an old map would show it. I never figured out how to access one.
Then came the dawn of the home computer! I searched “Kerry, Ore.” and found it! I printed the map and showed Edson. Kerry appeared to be about 30 miles east of Astoria, Ore.
We drove up Highway 30 and found a road sign for Kerry with “Dead End” attached. Nothing else.
Across the road was a marina. Big smiles. We looked the marina over trying to picture what life was like for a young woman living in such simple circumstances. Edson’s parents lived at the marina while his father worked in the woods.
A few years later Edson succumbed to cancer. Since he refused to give me any directions for his remains or burial, I thought it fitting to put him back where he started — at the marina.
One of my daughters lives in Astoria, the other in Vancouver. We left my Salmon Creek home to meet in the middle.
However, the manager of the marina said “Private property!” One daughter pointed out that a ferry crossed downstream. Would that suit?
So, we took the Wahkiakum Ferry and slipped Edson’s cremains into the Columbia River near his birthplace. I hope he would have appreciated the sentiment.
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