Dustin, Kate, Randy and I flew up to Oregon for a too-short drop in on the Cook Clan. (Christopher and Liz wanted to go too, but Liz is pregnant and has been having morning sickness for weeks and then Michael and Little Chris got sick too, so they are going to take a raincheck and hopefully get up there soon.) We flew up on Thursday the third of December, in the afternoon. We landed in Portland, rented a car and then drove down to Randy’s Aunt and Uncles house, Richard and Shurra Rutkowski.  We spent the night and saw a lot of the kids who came over the next morning to eat breakfast and chat. It was so nice seeing that family. What a family.  6 kids, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. We found ourselves embraced in their love and wishing that we had lived closer all these years. What fun!!!

Oregon was experiencing a cold front…but it was crisp and beautiful as we drove over to the Coast and then down to Mom and Dads. The waves were huge. This was Kate’s first time to Oregon and she liked it a lot…but we agree, we are definitely California anchored.  We need warmth with our SUNSHINE.

We stopped at Mo’s for their self proclaimed “World Famous” clam chowder….It was good, but we were not overly impressed because we have been spoiled by the Fish Company’s clam chowder….and we might start a feud, but we all agreed that bacon does not go in clam chowder. Are those fighting words?

Onward to the house where it was sure nice to wrap our arms around Mom and Dad and Teri and give them big hugs. They all looked great and the house was warm and toasty. Dad cooked us fresh fish and I made macaroni and cheese and then the games began. We played Mexican Train and laughed a lot. Then Randy and I went out to the BEAST where we slept…there was a little heater, but it projected heat about 2 inches and then was useless. It was COLD….

The next day we went for a ride up the River to Loon Lake. It was absolutely beautiful.  A nice little lake with a nice little lodge and a nice glass of wine.  Nice ride and then back home to BBQ some steaks and more games. Hand and Foot was the chosen game and even though Mom’s middle name is Ruth, she really  is RUTHLESS when it comes to cards. She has no mercy whatsoever. We had a great evening. Our sides were aching from laughing so hard….something to do with See’s Candy….nuts and chews.  Ask Kate what she calls them…hmmm.

Sunday we woke up and started getting ready to go to the Kingdom Hall. Dustin’s big request was that we cooked a Turkey Dinner before we left. So Dad had a turkey in a brine and he placed it in a roasting pan and set it on the wood burner in the living room before we left. When we got home about 3 hours later, our turkey was done. We spend the day playing games, laughing hard, giggling and then eating the best turkey I have ever had, and we had all the trimmings. It was delicious. Dad and Teri make quite a tag team in the kitchen….and may have invented a whole new way to make Turkey Dressing.  Yum.  We even had the pumpkin pie….much to the delight of Dustin and myself…our favorite.  We played late into the evening and then once more into the Beast  for a very cold night.

The trip was all too short and it pained me to kiss them good-bye. They all seem to be doing good. Dad is a little stiff and his legs were bothering him, but he was in great spirits and looked good to me. Looking good has never been a problem for DAD…how’s that for stoking an ego.

Since we got home, Teri has reported that it got even colder and the water pipes froze and burst. Through a series of mishaps and frustrations, she reports that she is now a good plumber and wants union wages. The water is back on and things are back to normal. 

Now all I need is a date, so that I know I will be seeing them again soon and then I won’t feel so bummed at having to leave.

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