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Stir Up the Years

May 22, 2016

“It’s just flashes that we own
Little snapshots
Made from breath and from bone
And out on the darkling plain alone
They light up the sky”

– Jeffrey Foucault
from Northbound 35

Yesterday, I drove down from Southern Oregon after a short visit with relatives whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

After a lapse of more than thirty years, “catching up” in a couple of days isn’t so easy. Maybe people aren’t really supposed to “catch up” anyway. Sometimes, it may be better to simply get together. And that was just what I did – lived in the present with people from my past.

Sometimes I think the “get up and go” inside of me has got up and gone. Where I once thought nothing of packing up and heading out, these days, the long road trip is more mythical than familiar. More a memory than a plan. That may not always be the case.


Mom and I stopped in a small town a few miles off the freeway for lunch on the way up. We found an excellent spot – two parts Northern California hippie and one part Oakland/Portland hipster. Friendly people and excellent food. Five stars all around.



My cousin Pam knows a lot about early American history. She also has a deep understanding about the family tree. When I mentioned these two books that I am currently reading, she informed me about the Strickers, distant relatives of ours. George Stricker and his son John, were officers in the Maryland regiment during the 18th century. John is the subject in the painting at the top of this blog post (from Wikipedia).


  1. Taught Am Hi high school 33 years. Near the end it was not about history. These kids were so far behind it was more about teaching basic reading and writing.


    • That seems to be a common (not uncommon) story from the classrooms. Teaching is such an admirable way to spend a day even in the best of circumstances. Hats off to you for going through it when it was difficult too.


  2. A nice reminder that connections through the internet, email, and social media are fine, but an actual visit is even finer. A friend and I recently talked about getting “calling cards” because — well, because, who does that sort of thing anymore?

    And, I think you’re right about the catching up — just start where you are; it’s much easier that way. 🙂


  3. …lived in the present with people from my past.

    Well put and right on target, Bruce. Thanks for this glimpse of your weekend.


  4. kdk permalink

    A road trip with your mom — if you’re venturing into the unfamiliar territory of the past, it’s great to have a qualified interpreter riding shotgun. Love the description of your lunch spot. I think way more places should be 2-parts-NCA-hippie/1-part-O/P-hipster. Thanks for the share.


  5. My ‘get up and go’ is much slower these days, but I think it’s less age and more ‘where the hell did all these cars come from?’ This past weekend I drove the 9 hours from Boston to Maryland (with a stop in DE to see my mom). Lots of ‘catching up’ with my brother and his crew. But the drive back? Ohhh, boy. I ‘got up’ to speed with family, but I don’t want to ‘go’ anywhere now for a while. :-0
    Sweet photo of you and your mom.


    • Pamela – no doubt there are more people on my roads these days. Way too many. The California population has grown by fifteen million since I moved here. Just “where did all these cars come from?”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Every now and then I take the trouble to do something like this, and spend time with people I haven’t seen for awhile. The preparations are always filled (for me anyway) with thoughts of how can I justify letting so many things slide while I do something unproductive like sit on I-5 for hours and then just chat with people? But after, I am always so glad I followed through. I’ll bet it was good, even though it was short.


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