Yeehaw! I made it to Tigard, just outside of Portland, Oregon, where my cousin Christopher Abbott lives. My entire road trip/quest bloomed because of conversations I have had with my cousin over the last year, particularly since October 2010 when I loosely promised to spend the 4th of July with him and extended family at their beach house in Manzanita/Neahkahnie. We planned to rally family from all points of the country to gather for a reunion celebration. It would be epic!
I showed up. Circumstances for everyone else shifted and melted and evaporated, hmmmm... sounds like my car's radiator and head gasket... interesting metaphor...
My Uncle Gheen Randolph Abbott is my dad's brother. That's him in the photo waving the flag and wearing the red, white and blue hat while hugging the Canadian beer. His reminiscence about family stories entertained me much of my time there at the beach house, no TV, no wifi. They've owned it for 43 years. My cousins busied themselves with repairs and upgrades to the big old house on a bluff overlooking a beautiful Oregon Pacific view. The weather was clear and spectacular. They accused me of bringing my California weather with me. They didn't complain, though. I explained that, since everything is all about ME, this was the weather I had ordered. I'm sure they were impressed. I know I was.
The Manzanita 4th of July parade was truly homespun and heartwarming. Homemade float riders tossed candy to the people lining the parade route. Unlike the multiple equestrian units of Ojai's parade, there was only one horse, and only one band, and they wore kilts and played bagpipes. The streets in town are narrow and tree-lined and hilly, as the town sits on bluff overlooking Neahkahnie Bay. There was lots of friendly interaction between parade participants and parade applauders, such as "Thank you!" to the veterans seated in beach chairs on a lowboy trailer towed by a dumptruck and "You're Welcome!" back with a wave, and a hard candy tossed tossed to your feet. My naughty cousin called out to another truck full of local high school cheerleaders who surrounded their buck-toothed mascot, "but that's just Chris quoting Leslie Nielson. Okay, Cousin!