Celebrating Life

Earlier this week, I drove my wife to the romantic Weasku Inn between Rogue River and Grants Pass to celebrate our 43rd wedding anniversary. Previous getaways have included notable trips to Baker City, Wallowa Lake, Hood River, and, earlier this year, Neola, Iowa. Who needs Europe or Hawaii when we have so many nice (cheaper) places to visit close at hand?

Evelyn and I hiked some trails at the Oregon Caves National Monument (the cave is locked up until spring) before driving down to Crescent City, California, and visiting the Redwood National Park. We received some great advice from a young woman at the visitor center about taking the old stage coach route back toward Grants Pass. This unpaved road winds through the redwoods and includes a number of groves and trails worth visiting. These directions also took us by a derelict particleboard plant where I did inspections more than 30 years ago. It was sobering to see what had been a modern and productive plant reduced to a rusted pile of scrap metal. Old wood products plants always seem to burn down after they close.

I have come to believe that the best way to celebrate special occasions is to create memories, even if our adventures are relatively tame. Gifts can be nice, but what I really treasure is the time I’m able to spend with my wife and family. Our Thanksgiving celebration this year will be a little smaller than usual, as some of the family have health issues that limit traveling. Ours may be a movable feast that involves driving around the state to see important people. We have received too many reminders lately about how precious our time together is. When we face the greatest challenges, I think we have the greatest need to be together and share experiences.

Every day is probably a good day to take stock of our blessings, but the Thanksgiving holiday provides us with a special opportunity and lots of good things to eat. I’m sure that at least one of my sons will want to participate in the annual Turkey Bowl, where I have been the oldest participant the last few years. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same if I could walk normally in the week that follows it. I would like to extend my best wishes to all who read this column for a joyful Thanksgiving celebration. I plan to express some special appreciation to my wife, children, and grandchildren who routinely give me reasons to celebrate life.

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