Moving Mountains

I got up at 4 ‘o clock this morning to catch a 6 a.m. flight out of Portland. I wasn’t supposed to come back to Arkansas until next Thursday but my grandmother died this past Wednesday morning. The funeral is tomorrow, so we moved up my flight to today. I’m now looking forward to 2 solid weeks back in Arkansas for Christmas vacation. Not my ideal, but, you know, these things can’t be helped.

My flight out of Denver was delayed today for about an hour and a half (it was 5 below, and billowing snow), but I finally made it into Arkansas just in time to get to the family’s visitation at the funeral home. Tonight my whole family and my uncle’s family (wife and kid) convened over at my grandmother’s house to have dinner and start sifting through an entire house with almost 70 years’ worth of accumulation. There are literally thousands of pictures strewn about, in scrapbooks, stuffed in drawers, filling entire storage bins shoved under beds. The pictures go back for decades and decades, and we all had a lot of fun looking through all of them, sometimes having to try to guess who the picture was of. My oldest brother and I pulled out all the old magazines from under the built-in shelves in the living room and had the best time looking at them. There were a whole bunch of Newsweeks from the 60’s, with Truman Capote on the cover when In Cold Blood was released; one with George Wallace on the cover from when he won the election in Alabama in ’66, in what was supposed to have been the “year of the Negro;” and yet another from 1966 with a huge screaming headline that said “THE NEGRO PROBLEM: The Growing Menace in the South.” From 1966!! There were also lots of really funny headlines in Better Homes and Gardens and various other magazines about women’s roles in the home, and how they can help their husbands and such. It all made for very amusing, and sometimes shocking, reading. There were also tons of old, original Elvis and Beatles records, and even a bunch of unopened old classical records. It’s a bit of an overwhelming undertaking, but so far we’ve been having a lot of fun just going through stuff.

Anyway, they’re going to have an estate sale soon, so my mom said to just take anything I wanted, so I grabbed a few little things. I’ll probably get some more before the vacation is over. God knows how I’m going to get it all home, but that’s another matter.

Other than this, though, it’s been a pretty lazy week. Tom finally made it into town last Sunday, so we’ve been having a lazy week. We’ve been cooking a lot; taking long walks and spending lots of time in old bookstores on Hawthorne; eating ice cream; watching lots of movies and season 3 of Friday Night Lights (which is the best thing ever; building fires; and sleeping a lot. Tom’s brother was here for a couple days before he flew back to Chicago, and Tuesday, before he left, we finally rode the aerial tram that goes from the south waterfront 3,300 feet up to the Oregon Health Sciences University. From the top you can see the entire city, with stunning views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, both of which are about 55 miles from the city in their respective directions. It was a clear, lovely day. Below are two pictures. In real life, you can see Mt. Hood towering behind us, covered in snow, but it didn’t really come out in the picture, unfortunately. But you can see the high rises of the south waterfront.

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