In Washington, I thought of her. On Sunday night, I dreamt of her. She leaned against my shoulder…
I rarely travel anywhere, but every time I do, I start thinking, "…Too bad she couldn’t have been here with me, to see this place."
Love dies like an injured bug. You keep thinking it’s dead, but then it twitches again or squirms… and then falls still again, as if really dead this time… only to twitch again. Love nor bugs expire quickly; but you know that slowly and surely, they’re fading away.
My cousins Tim (7th of Marsha’s 13) and Jared (11th) picked me up at my apartment on Friday. We drove to Castleford, Idaho, adjacent to the city of Twin Falls. It had been a long time since I’d seen Aunt Becky and John. She reminded me of Grandma…
The next morning, we picked up two U-Haul trucks and started to pack. Their friend John Morris came to help. We took our time and finished late in the day. Becky provided our meals.
Becky has seven llamas. On Sunday morning we got up and tried to force them up the narrow loading ramp into the small U-Haul truck. It was vain — Becky decided that it was because they were untrained. We abandoned the idea, and set out with the single truck and a car and truck of Becky’s. I and Jared (Ed) followed Becky in the car, and Tim followed us in the U-Haul truck. John, who’d felt ill, stayed home.
Our route began at Castleford. We went through Buhl, crossed the Snake River, went through Hagerman, crossed the Malad River, and stopped in Bliss for gas. From Bliss, I drove. We crossed the Snake River twice more, then passed through Glenns Ferry, Hammett, Mountain Home (one of my stops on the way home from Canada in 2006), Boise (another of my stops), and Nampa before reaching Ontario, which I think is just across the Oregon border. There we refueled and ate at a place called Love’s. Ed took over driving.
We crossed the Burnt River, and after that, I slept. A couple hours later we reached a rest stop, and I took the wheel again. We drove over the summit of the pass through the Blue Mountains (elevation: 4193 feet), then proceeded to Pendleton where we gassed again. Jared then drove us through Arlington, the port of "The Dalles", and a place called Hood River. It was getting dark. I passed out again for half an hour or more. We had been driving along the Columbia River. We finally arrived in Portland. We bought gas again and I took over driving. We drove to a Burger King and ate; it was in a part of town called Gresham, I think. From there, we headed north to Chehalis and then inland, following signs to Morton and then Yakima. At last we passed through Salkum and Silver Creek and reached a road called "Winston". We followed it for about six miles and came to the Hurley homestead. Michael, a law-enforcement and DEA man, owned expansive tracts there; his wife Carol-Jean was John’s niece. Becky slept indoors, and we three used their camping trailer.
It was there that I dreamt of her. (Her lean, in fact, had been a trusting encouragement for me to vacate the computer I was at so her friend could sit there beside her.)
It had been raining here and there on the drive up, and I woke on Monday to the same beautiful sound… For a short time I started to miss her intensely. I also thought how lucky I was to be there at that very place and time. The conflicting joy and sorrow seemed, if only for a few moments, to converge in my feelings into a flash of illumination, as if ions had aligned and lightening had strook — into an understanding of the beauty of my situation, of how regretting and not regretting had formed in me that tension that wakens the heart.
It was interesting to peer around outside and get a better look at that majestic, frightening place we’d journeyed to in darkness… It was all perfect that morning. It was rather warm next to the dry, windy chill of Idaho.
We brokefast and made our way back to Salkum, turning up a "Stowell" road and right on "Shanklin", then taking a loop called "Viewmont" or something (while closer to Salkum, the area was designated as belonging to nearby Onalaska). Becky had purchased a field and a manufactured home to be installed there later; now it was still occupied by a woman in a camper, Chris. We set about unloading the possessions into a shed there. The U-Haul truck became stuck in the mud, but we were able to push it out after depositing some gravel in front of the tires. We were done by early afternoon. We went for lunch at a place called "Spiffy’s", where a waitress overcharged me by double for a drink of juice. (Becky was still paying, anyway.)
We settled up some affairs, including dropping off the U-Haul truck and leaving the pick-up truck on the property, then retired to Michael’s place where we refreshed ourselves and slept. Early the next morning (Tuesday), we set out for home. We followed the same route on the way back; I didn’t get to drive at all this time, but I took lots of pictures. During the drive, Becky handed each of us a bank cheque for four hundred (she later gave Tim another hundred for gas). We reached Castleford in the evening, then said goodbyes and travelled to Pocatello in snowy conditions, where the boys’ sister Sally lives with her growing family. We spent the night with her and left for Salt Lake (and Springville, for them) the next morning, Wednesday.
That night, we had our maternal family Christmas party. On Thursday, Heidi called. Today (Friday the 25th) was very nice; we exchanged gifts and then visited our grandmother’s house.