A Letter From The Heart
The Lucky Leprechaun - A Letter from the Heart - November 2017
After several years of dragging my feet, I finally relented and purchased a travel trailer with my husband Scott earlier this spring. I was reluctant to give up the convenience of our beat-up Coachman Motor Home: The Lucky Leprechaun (dubbed so on the first rainy camping trip with my then “future” son-in-law Josh). The Leprechaun has been a big part of our lives since 2001. It was given to Scott by his good friend John, when he passed away from cancer.
Epic stories lie between the cheap warped paneling of the walls, leaking vents and every piece of fallen glitter on the outdated orange carpet. We enjoyed many pre-dawn trips to Newport or Netart’s Bay to dig for razor or horse neck clams. It served as home base for Stayton’s Relay For Life when Kendra and I served as Team and Luminaria Committee Chairs. For many years, we spent the Labor Day Holiday at the adorable little campground behind Marion Forks Fish Hatchery. Like most camping trips, it’s all about the fire pit, setting up camp and the camp food. Our camp outs aren’t much different. I inherited my Grandmother Vera’s love and recipe for homemade Clam Chowder. I prefer “One-Pot Wonders” for camping and started the pot to cook. I think Josh was about finished with his second bowl before he piped up and said he had yet to see a clam in his chowder. Everyone started looking for the clams in their soup too. OOPS! I forgot to bring clams for the chowder. So much for a well-stocked pantry in the Leprechaun. It’s also amazing how resourceful and creative one can be if you forget to pack Maple Syrup for Pancakes. FYI, a warmed mixture of peanut butter and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup makes a pretty tasty substitute.
FaerieWorlds. Costumes. Glitter. Celtic Music. Mythical Creatures. The World of Froud. The things my daughter can talk me into all because of the love of the movie The Labyrinth and the Star Wars saga. My first indoctrination to the festival was a parking attendant in a sequined mermaid costume with seahorse pasties wishing us “Faerie Blessings!” Immediately turned to Kendra and said, “if I see naked people you are so dead…”. We laughed it off and continued to go for the next 8 years, always promising to bring the Leprechaun and stay the whole weekend. In 2013 and 2014 we made good on the promise also bringing our friend Harmoney and my niece Samantha.
There were times we prayed the darn thing would start to get us home. At times, we prayed it would stay running. It had a habit of acting up (dying in intersections). I got good at keeping my foot on the brake and gas at the same time to make a left turn if I had to stop at a traffic light.
RVing is a learning experience. The first thing we learned was to make sure all the cupboards are closed and latched when traveling on the twisty road to Hebo. Kendra can attest to the bump on the head by a weighty camp lantern. I learned an itty-bitty RV fridge comes with a $1500.00 price tag. I learned to swing wide while taking a turn. But most of all I learned that even though I had to give up the Lucky Leprechaun, no matter where we go, we will continue to make memories as a family and I will continue to forget what to pack, even with my list in my hand.
Now, what do I name the new trailer? Maybe I will wait and see what transpires at FaerieWorlds next year… Leslie
Letter From The Heart - Pull Those Sheets
Last week, I was able to watch my two older granddaughters Quinn and Scarlett on a snow day. We cleaned and organized, stirred Jello, baked bread & chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles and tossed Cheesy Sausage Tortellini in the crock pot. They helped strip and remake the bed with fresh sheets. As we made the bed, I barked at them to pull those sheets extra tight and make sure they get all the wrinkles off the sheets, just as my Gran had barked at me. "Keep pulling, I said, it's not tight enough for my Gran yet, so it's not good enough for me! Gran will have your hide if you don't do a good job!" I got the giggles, remembering how much I hated getting every wrinkle out of the bed. I was going back in the dang bed tonight, what different did it make if there was a little wrinkle? I wouldn't sleep any different. But in Gran's house it was everything...dust bunny annihilation was scheduled for every Saturday morning, dinner cooked and the sink full of dishes were done before anyone (by anyone, I mean the girls) sat down to relax. My mom continued the ritual, trading Great Grandma Ethel's crocheted dusting cap for a red or blue bandana.
A time where advertisements showed the little woman baking cookies and met her husband at the door with his slippers and a martini after a hard day's work. My family was a little different; yes, lots of cookie baking was happening but not the martini part. My dad did shift work and a 8:00 am or midnight mixed drink was not part of the dynamic. My mom did however make breakfast every day and a lunch for a dad to pack. It usually included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The bread had to have REAL butter on both sides so the jelly wouldn't sog-up bread & cut on the diagonal, in a fold top baggie. Also included were the blue box (the cheap kind) chips and an apple or orange, whichever was in season. Of course, it all went in a black metal dome lunchbox with a Thermos of steaming coffee, doctored with Coffee-Mate and a ton of sugar. After Dad retired from the State Police, this lunchbox tradition continued at the Forest Service. One day, as the fire crew took a break for lunch, they guys noticed Dad's oranges peeled and sectioned. Yep! Mom even peeled his oranges so he wouldn't get his hands messy. As kids, my brothers and I teased Dad about this, saying that if he asked, Mom would peel his grapes as well.
As the '70's and '80's ticked by, women were encourage to work outside the home and be independent. Mom went to work at the local grocery store. She had less time at home but still but made sure Dad had his lunch when he wanted one. My mom did one more thing as dad left for work. It didn't matter if it was 5:00 am or the middle of the night, 80 degrees or minus 3, Mom always walked my Dad to his Patrol Car and kissed him good-bye.
Yesterday, I dusted, vacuumed and stripped beds again, sans bandana. Happy to hear Gran's voice in my head again, as I giggled orders at Scott to get the wrinkles out of the sheets or Gran would have his hide too! The tradition continues...Leslie