Now it can be told . . .
Actually, I was laughing about it yesterday. I love Mike, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this blog. Nevertheless, I was studiously avoiding saying anything about going to Portland because it was to be for a surprise retirement party for him.
It all worked out fine. Mike was surprised and everyone had a good time. I did allow that restriction get me somewhat twisted about writing posts over the last couple of weeks. I hope to catch up this week.
So, Rose’s brother Mike retired. Friday was his last day. He’s the same age as me so I hate him. No, not really, but nowadays I’m a bit jealous of people my age who are retired. I’ve started using the term ‘semi-retired’ to describe myself but it seems that it is more ‘semi’ than ‘retired’.
Well, that’s a post for another day. Rose and I left early Saturday. We had a 6:30 am flight so we were up and left the apartments at 4. Once in Portland, breakfast was a high priority. Rose suggested the biscuit place where we had eaten with Zach and his friend Chris B in 2014. Google eventually revealed that it was Pine State Biscuits so we went there.
The food was fine but being there brought back a flood of memories of Zach. He had come out to California in December then came up to Portland a few days after Christmas to visit Chris. He stayed with us and Mike’s family for a couple of days before going off with Chris. Actually, the breakfast at Pine State Biscuits was the transfer point.
It was my first time back in Portland since that visit so seemingly everything was fraught with memories of Zach. Sitting at those picnic style tables, I actually broke down for a minute. It was at the end of our meal and we shortly after that got up to leave. It wasn’t until I got to the car that I realized I had left my backpack in the restaurant net to the table. Kinda scattered, I was . . .
The back pack was still there and after retrieving it we headed out to visit Mike’s daughter Sarah. She lives on 5 acres just outside of Oregon City with her husband Mike C and their two lovely daughters. Also pigs, chickens, ducks and goats which we all went out to see. Sarah made us deviled eggs from her stock of literally dozens of fresh eggs. Mike and Sarah are not quite self sufficient but they’re close.
Soon other visitors arrived. Sarah’s aunts, Jean and Elaine, had driven down from Bellingham and came over. Then we heard that Mike H was coming. Rose and I hid in a bedroom until he got in the house, then stepped out to greet him. Somehow this was distinct from the surprise party. At this point I was just doing what I was told. Mike had done quite a bit of drinking the night before so he was hungover. He was glad to see us but not trying to hard to connect the dots. Mike and Rose’s brother Steve had come up the night before so I think the story was that there would be a family dinner that night.
After lunch, Rose and I left to check into our hotel and get some rest. The surprise party was at 7 and we were there on time. The bar was open and there was food – what could be better? There were about 40 people there when Mike was brought in by Steve on the pretext of the family dinner. He was gobsmacked so that was good. There were lots of Mike’s work friends there besides family.
The next morning, Rose and I breakfasted at the hotel then went to Mike’s club – he’s an avid golfer – for brunch. His other daughters Caitlyn and Keriann were there along with Caitlyn’s daughter Elliot. Also Sarah with Josephine and Devin so we had the kids corner. I was originally not intending to eat much but changed my mind. It was kind of a lunch. In fact, I didn’t have to eat again until we got to the airport.
Anyway, good food and good conversation. Afterwards we went back to Mike’s house where we mostly just sat around and watched the kids play in the front yard. Josephine set up an imaginary restaurant and went around taking orders from everyone then bringing them their gravel ‘food’. Just like Rosalie!
A good day but eventually it was 4 o’clock and we had to leave for the flight home. There was some problem at SFO so Alaska had to fly us to the San Jose airport then bus us to SFO. There were some silly moments but we got back to SFO about 9:30, about an hour and a half later than it would have been.
I was able to talk to some of the family members about Zach, which was good. I told the Bellingham people about Jeremy’s moving to Washington and promised I would try to get up to see them in July. My angst of the previous week was gone, which was best of all.