AndyO Blog

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Olson Family Reunion begins

Bend, OR - Seventh Mountain Resort

Today was our day to drive to Bend, OR, to go to the Olson Family Reunion. This would be our third and final destination on this trip. I decided to pack the car while wearing my swimming suit. I wanted to be able to jump in the pool as soon as I was done, because I knew how hot I'd be. It was definitely a good plan, but the pool was more like a bath than I wanted it to be (thanks to my dad's amazing solar-powered heating system).

Cameron had some neighbor boys of my parents over swimming, so I helped them turn the pool into a "wave machine." After I showed them how to do a proper cannonball, I got dressed, we got in the car, and drove from the Tri-Cities to Bend, Oregon. This should be a 4-hour drive, but it ended up taking us over 6 hours. Drew screamed for about 2 hours, slept for 2 hours, and was grumpy the rest of the time.

Once we drove through Biggs, Oregon, the scenery changed from the Columbia River Gorge to rolling fields of wheat. Every 20 to 40 miles we'd pass through another small town where I'd see one church, one store, one hospital, etc. After living in a big city for so long, I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a town like that. I'm not saying it's better or worse, just different.

Later, after hours of crying by Drew, despite my efforts to hand him Goldfish Crackers and matchbox cars (both of which he threw at me), we drove through Madras, Oregon. I noticed one of the signs at the local burger place had the message, "Our thoughts are with the Tucker family." And then another sign: "Our prayers are with the hero Tucker and his family." Then, "Our American Hero: Pfc. Tucker." Almost every sign had a message for the Tucker family.

It dawned on me that Pfc. Tucker was one of the two 101st Airborne soldiers who were abducted and executed in Iraq. I found out later that 3,500 people attended the funeral, including the Governor of Oregon. It's one thing to see the images on TV from Iraq, but quite another to see the effect of this loss on a small town. This was someone's son, who only a year ago was working here. The pathos becomes very real.

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We finally arrived in Bend, OR, at my uncle's house for the five-day family reunion. We usually have these reunions every two years, and this is the fifth one. The last was at my parents' house in the Tri-Cities, which was also when my sister got married.

After I ate a Bratwurst and talked to my cousins, I headed off to the bathroom for a short visit. After flushing, the water started to rise up higher and higher. The panic hit me when I saw that there was no plunger available!

I ran out to the garage, back into the bathroom, and started plunging. And of course this plunging didn't work right away. I had to laugh at the embarrassment of it all. No one wants to walk into a bathroom as a guest and then have to ask for a plunger (even though I didn't have to ask). My cousin Matt walked toward the bathroom when I was done, and I warned him about the toilet. He wasn't concerned, which is probably the right attitude to have.
posted by AndyO @ 1:00 PM   2 comments links to this post