Spent a wonderful weekend in the Rose City, and was again impressed with all it has to offer, culture and political action, enough restaurants to work up an appetite deciding where to eat, neighborhood parks, charming homes, and interesting weather, this weekend sunshine, rain and even a bit of snow.
Friday night I had dinner at the Mai Thai restaurant with friend Eric Miller, son Dylan Hartsell and his buddy Max Estes. Dylan’s call on where to eat and he was right, the food was superb. Then we drove to PSU and joined by Dylan’s gf Lily Bright, we attended the Lords of Nature screening hosted by the Student Animal Liberation Coalition (SALC). If you haven’t seen it, Lords of Nature is a beautifully done and informative movie that details how wolves have benefited the Yellowstone environment since their reintroduced there in 1995. The video also discusses conflicts between wolves and ranchers, including some success stories in Idaho and Minnesota in which the two entities coexist.
The panel talk after the film consisted of Wally Sykes from Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild, and Karen Coulter of the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. They said a bit about their role in assisting the Oregon wolf population then answers questions from the large crowd, a diverse group of students, locals, as well as out of towners like me. A few seemed new to the world of wolves, one asked what the difference was between a wolf and coyote. And one member of the audience, a man, asked Wally not to refer to the crowd as “guys.” Wow, I thought Ashland was politically correct. Overall, I got a feeling that there was a strong commitment in the crowd to work toward protection of wolves and other predators in need of support.
A highlight of this event for me was meeting some members of the Animal Defense League (they also belong to SALC) who were involved in the recent disruption of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) meeting in Salem. http://pdxanimaldefenseleague.org/activists-take-over-oca-meeting-and-call-attention-to-anti-wolf-legislation/posted-in-campaigns I was able to tell them how much I respected their efforts in getting into that meeting, withstanding the negativity of the Stetson wearing, bucking-horse belt buckle rancher crowd, and expressing the truth about the wanton destruction of predators and the environment that ranching is responsible for.
We needed to hang loose after that so we ended up at The Baghdad on Hawthorne. What a great place. People lined up to watch Harold and Maude in the Baghdad theatre, a 40 year old venue. Their large restaurant lined Hawthorne Street. We made our way to the bar. Packed with pool tables, the ceiling looked higher than the Sistine Chapel and the walls were covered with enormous, ancient looking murals. It’s been a long time since I’ve played pool with anyone, including my son. I remember shooting pool with his dad in Iowa, and later at a sports bar in Payson, Arizona where Hannah, Megan, Dylan and I would order spicy chicken wings, watch the Diamondbacks play on TV, and spend an eternity hitting all the balls in.
It seems there are two main stages within motherhood and kidhood relationships. First of all, as a mom you teach them, take care of them, provide for them, and then, they grow up and do for themselves. It’s wonderful at both ends, but in between these stages are some of the most difficult times imaginable. It felt great to be there with Dylan, shooting pool, having a drink, showing me that we’ve made leaps and bounds to get through that rough transition. And he laughed later, telling me he never thought his mom would be the loudest one in the bar. I couldn’t help it. I had tried to hit those damn balls in the pockets without success so many times that when I finally got one in, I forgot myself, jumped up and down and yelled. It was a memorable night for sure.