Friday, December 26, 2008

Travel to Portland for true holiday spirit

When we last left our two caped crusaders they were gallivanting around Las Vegas taking in shows and enjoying the lights and excitement of the "Strip". December 12-14 we found the Christmas spirit in the small hamlet of Portland, Oregon.

Lucy and I flew up to the "rainy city" on Friday the 12th to meet up with some of our aunts, uncles, and cousins for a festive weekend. The weekend was filled with family visits from Portland to Tangent and capped with a Saturday evening holiday stage production directed by my Uncle Gray.

Friday afternoon we landed in Portland to a mix of rain and sleet. Skillful navigation and pure luck found us at the car rental desk a mere 40 minutes later where we picked up our sporty little Toyota Corolla.

The afternoon was packed with activities. To kick things off we made a bee-line for the Rouge Valley Ale House in NW Portland where we met up with our good friend Sandy Jones.

Lunch always takes longer when you are at an Ale House for some reason?

My mouth was watering the instant I walked in to the establishment and my head was dizzy with all of the immediate choices available to me!

Friday evening we met up with Lucy's cousin Jeanie Braun who graciously spent the next two days escorting us up and down the Willamette Valley from Tangent, where Lucy's Aunt Mary Pat lives on a beautiful grass seed farm, to the bustling streets of Portland where Uncle Gray's theater production was Saturday evening. We toured Jeanie's home/barn/business and met her energetic family. Friday night and Saturday night we stayed with Lucy's other cousin Katie Larsen, her husband Rob, and their two boys Ben and Will. During the weekend we also met up with Lucy's cousin Ruth Ann, her husband Marc, and two of their children.

To better understand Lucy's family structure you should spend approximately one hour on the main floor of Grand Central Train Station in New York City during rush hour. There are more people present than could ever be possibly counted and even though everyone is related they are all going in a million different directions at an infinite number of variable speeds. I believe this phenomenon is known as "controlled chaos"!

Saturday morning we drove Mary Pat down to her farm in near Tangent. Even though it was raining we had a wonderful tour of the farmhouse, gardens, and koi pond. Mary Pat fixed a delicious venison stew and we enjoyed a few hours around the fireplace in the great family room catching up with Martha Knapp, who is yet another cousin of Lucy's.

Saturday evening, seven of us in attended Portland's 14th annual production of The Christmas Revels. The theatrical production originated in England and is now performed annually in several different cities throughout North America during the Christmas season. My Uncle, who has been in theater since I was an "ankle biter," was the director of this year's production in Portland. We were treated to a wonderful evening of song, dance, and great laughs by my Uncle and his wonderful wife Sam. We met for dinner before the show and after the show we caught up with them at a downtown hotel for a few drinks.

The weekend went by quickly and the excitement was just beginning as Sunday morning we awoke to a massive snowstorm. We drove our sporty Corolla through the snow, hitting top speeds of 40 mph on I-205 back to the airport where we escaped on our Southwest jet back to Salt Lake City. Laughing as the wheels left the runway in Portland, we felt sorry for the residents below as the evening settled upon them and the snow turned to ice. Little did we know that back in Utah we had to shovel our own walks and driveway while sipping on Utah state mandated 3.2% alcohol beer. Thank you to everyone in Oregon who made our trip so memorable. We hope that the relentless winter weather will soon let up, and if you are ever in our neck of the woods please stop by and enjoy some of our "peculiar" beer with us.

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