Rum and tonic
I'm en route back to Portlandia from six fantastic days on the central Oregon coast. Lately I've been making it to the Beaver State beach only once a year, but this trip has been a doozy.
First and foremost: sun, lots of sun, all afternoon and evening nothing but, every day. Of course, it's summer on the coast, and that means north wind galore to go with the rays most of the time. But if you find a spot sheltered to the north (and there are plenty of them, manmade and natural), it's downright cue-the-Beach-Boys hot. I have reached the threshold of what you might call sunburn. Forgive me, Dr. Bob the Dermatologist, but it feels so good.
The first part of the trip was the second annual Pokerama, where the cronies and I take the occasional poker game on the road. We redid last year's stupendous run of food, wine, cigars (miraculously, I held it to one measly cigarillo), reckless low-stakes cards, gossip, lying, and manly stuff like that. Several aspects of the party were taken to new heights -- particularly the food and wine. I'm sitting there slugging down Cain Five and bluffing a low hand -- quite the life. The camaraderie was as good as it gets. One player was still working off jet lag from a trip to England, which was quite a ways to come just to be there (not to mention the marital capital spent).
I managed to come out $17.50 ahead over two nights, which is a win in my book. I also broke my recent personal best for consecutive hours of sleep, clocking 13 in a row Friday night/Saturday morning/Saturday afternoon. I had pulled a couple of near-all-nighters getting out of town, and things were so peaceful and cushy at the beach that... as Bob Borden likes to say, that was some sweet sleepin' in. Several of my colleagues were appalled; I was thoroughly refreshed.
The boys went home Sunday morning, and after tidying up a little and crashing on the deck for a while, I greeted at the door a most beautiful sight, my wife and daughters. We've spent three fantastic days (and then some) taking in the joys of our western shore. Lots of breakthroughs here: a family hike in some real woods; assembling our own aquarium on a couple of different beaches with various creatures that we've plucked from the ocean (we release them back as we head back to the house); a deer crossing our path on the way home from dinner; flying a Winnie the Pooh kite in the blustery beach winds; playing pinball (well, if I do say so) in the local pizza joint, impressing the kids; one exquisite moment after another. When your two-year-old is busy telling you the differences between high tide and low tide, you wonder if that's sea mist in your eye or what.
I know that attitude is everything, and that every day can be a day at the beach if you let it. But it sure helps to have the real thing blasting at you so big that you need your shades on. Nobody's luckier than I am, and try as I might to deny it sometimes, this week proves it, once again.