This is the 4th of July and I am writing a blog for June. I’m not at a party or watching fireworks. That’s the way June was too. I started writing a May blog while in Seattle just before my father’s 95th birthday party. Sometimes quiet time is hard to come by. It’s the big projects that have to get done on time dominating the schedule. This month the big three projects were also cause for reflection on just what will be done by the time your life is over.
(1) At least 75 people came to my father’s birthday party. Mostly family but also old friends, his prayer group and his music group. My sister, Anita, struck a chord (pun intended) when she nicknamed him “Singing Joe”. He sang a lot of his favorite songs and the family band, The Inlaws and the Outlaws, played along as best we could. He had me read a poem I wrote for him in 1993, “An Ordinary Joe”. It has a lot of references to family events that I explained after I read it. I brought along several copies of the first edition of Dad’s Biography. It is 170 pages. I had been adding pictures all during May and into June. A lot happens during a lifetime. It’s never quite all wrapped up. He had a big effect on the law practice, on raising a family and in the church. I think his biography will have some effect on generations to come. Not everyone gets to pass on a book and a lot of the family’s lives are in there too.
(2) Another time-critical project was getting the first history points into an app called NE Washington Insider. The app is a combination between a map interface that lets you see where you are (and this is critical) even outside of cell tower coverage. The map shows places of interest, half business and half history – sometimes both. Each place has it’s own story and picture with a link for more information. Even if you are not interested that much in history, there is a game aspect to it that allows you to collect points for being near a place of interest, a little bit like Pokeman Go. You can redeem those points for discounts at certain local stores and other rewards. That may not sound like serious history, but I think the legacy is important, be at these places and feel how the story unfolds. There are so many spots that you would drive right by not knowing that you could make a whole movie about what happened there. In pitching this project to the Colville City Council I told them about Tatapoo Rock. It is otherwise not too spectacular but there is a 3 foot round hole in it drilled with rifle bullets by prospectors who struck it rich discovering the mine that is the reason for Nelson BC and didn’t have anything better to do. It is a long story but if we can get people to see that this rock is important, the story and the rock will be preserved.
(3) Preservation was very much the issue in the third big event of the month. The data drive on my main computer crashed. And it turned out that my automatic backup system had stopped working in 2016. In this case a good friend, Scott Hirsch of Secure Webs bailed me out. He revived the drive long enough to finish Dad’s Biography and suggested that I try a solid state drive. When that arrived, he managed to transfer my data over and now this computer is faster than ever – and the backup is working again. Whatever legacy I end up having, a lot of it is stored on that drive right now.
So the rest of the month was squeezed in between those big events. The weather is dry with only one real rainstorm in weeks and that one came with thunder and lightning. Fire season is here again. The Farmer’s Market happens Wednesday and Saturday, rain or shine. Despite the flurry and pressure of preparation, the demands of packing and unpacking and also this month some nagging issues with our VW van’s engine, being at the market is sometimes relaxing and usually the biggest social event of the week.
The big birthday party also prompted a visit from my oldest daughter, Bina, her husband Joe Brock and their kids Ovid and Nala. They were determined to have an adventure and they got one. Joe has been beefing up his Dodge Power Wagon with huge tires, and extra gear box that gives him 15 forward gears and other necessities like a winch and a lot of carry-on tools. All of those saw some action when after finding that the mushrooms we were hoping to find were in very short supply, I mentioned that the Owl Mountain Jeep Trail was nearby. The first hour was good. We climbed some gnarly hills and ended up on Grouse Mountain for lunch and a look at the view and the wild flowers. Then the trail started to close in on us. A limb poked through the sidewall of one of those huge tires. We had a spare. Trees blocked the way. Joe got his chain saw
running on white gas from the camp stove. But the trail was just too small for that huge wagon and two hours later, getting a good GPS fix from a cell tower in Canada, we realized that we would not make it through before dark and turned back.
We didn’t make it back with the truck. The safety glass window on the passenger site exploded all over me as a tree pressed the rearview mirror into it. Trees that pushed out of the way going in caught the tires going out. One punctured the sidewall of the tire we had just bolted on less than a mile from the trailhead where I parked my little Rav4 before we started up the jeep trail in the Power
Wagon. We rolled the tire with us down the hill packing whatever was needed for the night. The next day while Cheryl and I were at the Farmer’s Market, Joe Brock and family found a used tire, loaded it into our Rav4 and rolled it back up the mountain to rescue the Power Wagon. Everyone has their own version of a legacy.
A lot of other stuff happened in June, but enough is enough. We made it through the big events and the rest is water under the bridge.