By John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Well it was a little bit like that, except for the tall ship. There are a few pictures in this blog, but a larger album on Picasa covers most of it and includes a little silent movie. (My aging digital camera doesn’t do sound so just imagine howling wind if you watch it.) The month started out cold and dreary. I got in a lot of work updating Road Atlases that had not seen much attention for a couple of years. We all got in a little napping and reading. I finished reading 1491-New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus, (an outstanding book that will change the way you think of where you live, who you are and the landscape around you.) We also got a little cabin fever and decided to head to the coast.
Our dog, Gretchen, always wants to jump into the car with us and then wants to jump out 5 minutes later. We decided to see if we could get her used to longer trips knowing she would love chasing balls on the ocean beach. The first two hours of constant whining on the drive almost made us want to turn back. But finally after one more stop to get out and play ball at Big Wally’s near Coulee City she settled down and we did well even in excruciatingly slow traffic between Tacoma and Olympia on Interstate 5.
We arrived at my daughter April’s house in time for a sample tasting from the caterer who will serve at her and Tony Houston’s wedding in August. It was great food and no one had to cook! The next day April and Tony headed out to Cle Elum for the latest in a string of baby showers. Cheryl and I headed for Pacific Beach on the Washington Coast, known for romping on the huge beach and flying kites. It would have been a good day for kites if we were dressed in survival suits, or something similar, to stay warm. Gretchen loved it. You can check out the video on the album.
We ate at a former Navel Base turned into a resort and returned to our room where I went back to reading a novel written by an old friend, Burt Webb, called RareEarths. It is an intense conspiracy thriller with non-stop action for 518 pages. I barely finished it before we returned home. We did a little touring up to Taholah and down to Seabrook, a “new beach community” that features a “courtyard lifestyle”. It was like driving onto the set of the Truman Show. No industry, no junk, no old buildings. Just new spiffy buildings in a neo-victorian style. I’ll bet very few people live there full-time and even fewer made a living there. But it was cute, and lively and young. We went there to see it and eat dinner that night and then the next morning for breakfast.
On the way back, we had dinner with my sister Jeannette and her husband Bill Yake. Jeannette gave me a box of over 100 letters to store here written by my father to my mother while he was stationed in India and the South Pacific during WWII. She had also scanned them into a PDF format and I am cataloging them as part of a biography project on my father, Joseph A Barreca Sr. and our family. She also scanned a letter from my mother’s sister Naomi, who died before I was born. From this one letter you can tell, she was quite a character and would have been fun to know. The war letters contrast with the diary entries 63 years later that I just finished transcribing written by Dad as Mom’s health was slipping away. At the same time I am posting 100 oral histories transcribed by the Stevens County Historical Society from local people in the 1960’s and reading The Greatest Generation Speaks by Tom Brokaw. It’s hard to imagine in this age of bitter polarity in politics and religion the unified effort that everyone in the United States shared in to overcome the horrid dictatorships of the Axis Powers.
We returned home to our lonely cat, Gray-C and also discovered a deer in the garden, digging through the snow for quince, which I will gladly leave outside the fence for the deer next winter. Gray-C’s contribution to the month were two live mice, one live shrew and a dead gopher that she brought onto the bed at night. The shrew and one mouse got away but was caught in a regular mouse trap and returned to the bedroom still in the trap by our thoughtful cat so I could throw it out the door.
As you can see in the last picture in the album, the snow is melting rapidly. Nights are above freezing, the Oscars are over and we have seen Argo, Silver Lining Play Book and Zero Dark 30 in the past few weeks. Spring cleaning has started and may never end. Our favorite restaurant, Lovitt, placed third in a vote for the best burger in Stevens County. McDonald’s placed last! Most things are okay except that two Colville Middle School students brought a gun to school and Saundra’s, a prominent furniture store in the middle of Colville, burned under suspicious circumstances.
Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were…
(The Way We Were – Sung Streisand at the Oscars)