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25: Story

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

I hope that you are enjoying the last few days of Spring… Do you have anything solstitial planned? Are you anxious for summer to begin? What are your memories of Summertime? What comes to mind… how about, summer school? No? Cricket songs, bare-feet, drive-in-movies, watermelon smiles? Sleep-overs, swimming, camping trips?

Maybe you didn’t get to do many fun things when you were a kid so you do everything you can to make up for it now? Good for you! I’m eager to hear all about your summer as it unfolds.

Have you ever journaled? If you haven’t started already, and you think that you might like to try, perhaps June 21st could be a good time to start. How does it sound to enter a little something into a journal, or a collection of work, every day for one season? (It doesn’t have to be writing, it could be drawing or photos or recipes… anything you feel like collecting). Autumn begins on September 22nd, that means that your ‘uniquely-you-created’ 93-day summer journal (or collection of works) could have 93 daily entries starting on June 21st.

Does that sound like fun to you? If it does, yay! If not, yay, too. I’m not worried.

I’ll let you know next week what sort of collection of work I have chosen to do. If you feel like sharing what you’ve decided to do, contact me, I’d love to hear about it and I won’t broadcast your decision unless you ask me to do so.

Well, we are enjoying our stay at Hum Bug Mountain Campground just a few miles South of Port Orford, Oregon.

On Monday evening, a lady and her dog were walking along the road through camp. If you remember from last week, I mentioned that the road (which becomes a pathway) actually runs all the way to where Hum Bug Creek meets the ocean.

Anyway, this lady and her dog, Pumpkin, a Corgi, were waiting for the lady’s husband. He had taken his camera to the ocean to photograph some birds. Because Pumpkin seemed to want to greet us, Frank and I introduced ourselves, first, to the lady, and over our conversation, we learned that her husband not only did photography, but that he also refurbished flutes. Right about then, he joined the conversation and I asked him if he had worked on any alto or bass flutes recently. Yes, he had. He told me to contact him and we would set up a time for me to come and play a bass flute that he was thinking of selling; he warned that it was exceptionally ‘pink.’ A lightweight plastic bass flute with synthetic key pads.

Exceptionally pink?

Pumpkin and his people live in Port Orford, they were at the campground that evening just to take a nice walk. The man exchanged business cards with Frank and we promised to be in touch.

Well, there isn’t any cell reception at Hum Bug Campground. In order to check texts or emails, we walk out toward the ocean or up a trail on either of two nearby hills. I wanted to follow through with contacting Pumpkin’s people, so Frank and I hiked a hill and took some time to look at the photographer / flute refurbisher’s website. This man has captured some really beautiful images of wildlife and night sky. I emailed him through his website, and then Frank and I hiked back down the hill to camp.

I thought about the pink plastic bass flute. I have played a borrowed, silver, bass flute but had never played a plastic one. I imagined that it would be a lesser instrument. And, pink. How pink?

We didn’t hear back from the man.

The next evening around 7 pm, I was returning to camp from brushing my teeth (in the very clean and appreciated bathroom) and I saw, way up the road, a Corgi strolling along with his people. Frank saw them about the same time and we both walked up to greet, Pumpkin, especially.

After a bit of chatting about how the man didn’t get our email and we didn’t get his text, the man asked, “Why not just get in the car and come home with us and try out the bass flute, now? Why not?” So, I did.

Let me just say, the bass was, indeed, pink. The sound was incredible, it was so easy to play, the action, quick, and the tone was deep and round. Besides being lighter to hold, the plastic allows the flute to withstand temperatures that are usually a nightmare for a metal flute. It would make an excellent choice for a road trip. I set it down and smiled.

The lady put the kettle on for tea and took me for a stroll in her garden. She grew apple, fig, and pear trees, there was an Australian Tea Tree shrub, so many flowers and beautiful ground covers. I always enjoy gardens and the stories that each gardener can tell about each plant. There are so many little growing lives to care about. Rewarding and beautiful!

We went back in the house. The pink bass was still resting in its case where I’d left it. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the flute from the man but I really appreciate his generosity, it was so kind of him to let me try it out.

Then, just because I’d never before that evening played a plastic flute of any kind, he handed me his plastic C flute with B foot. It was a lovely champagne, golden color. I could not believe the tone when I ran a simple scale… the sound buzzed the tips of my fingers and I didn’t have to struggle with any notes at all, the high F# was butter smooth and the high A to E interval sang with ease. I thanked the man as I handed his flute back to him and picked the Bass up so that we could play a couple just-for-fun Jazz Duets.

Two things: one, I’m glad that I’ve been practicing, and two, I’m super grateful to have met Pumpkin and his people!

The man will be putting the pink bass on E-Bay when he decides to sell it. So, if you are in the market for such an instrument, that one’s a winner!

The next day, I spent several more hours at the library. This is something that I’ve been doing as we make our way along the road. It is (usually) a good quiet place to work and write.

The Port Orford Library is my favorite library so far on this journey. And the reason I like it so much is because of ‘Story,’ the Library cat. Story seems to enjoy our company, sits by Frank and then by me, then somewhere between us. I would vote to have a willing cat or dog in every library.

We haven’t been hiking or visiting the beach very much this week. We’ve taken walks when we’ve needed to check our texts or emails. Otherwise, for the most part, we’ve been in town at the library or back at camp where we can work on things that don’t require internet.

And, back at camp, we have been super fortunate to have the hosts and neighbors we’ve had here at Hum Bug.

Mary and Steve have been wonderful camp hosts. We are grateful for all of the information that they’ve shared (about being camp hosts) and it is helpful to have their encouragement as we continue to think outside the box.

Earlier in the week, a couple of next-door musicians let me sit in on one of their practices.

It was really fun to play along with a couple of their original songs. They told me about several opportunities for musicians in Port Orford. One of their main reasons for visiting this area was to play at Mr. Ed’s Espresso, Juice, and Underground Pub, well known for open-mic nights and for being very supportive of musicians in town.

Yesterday morning, we said our farewells to some other next-door neighbors, a very nice couple and their dog, Sage. They are on the road, traveling to see places. Both of Sage’s people are scientists. A wildlife biologist and a biology teacher, both loving wildlife and plants as much as we do. They shared their campfire with us one evening and brought over some delicious “home-baked” sourdough cranberry walnut English-muffins. Amazing, cast-iron skillet wonders! We enjoyed all of the fun and interesting conversations that we were gifted to have with Sage and her family. Wishing them well, we hope to keep in touch.

Last evening, our new next-door neighbor, a professional trumpet player, was practicing an original contemporary music score for an upcoming concert. His partner, a professional violinist, was washing the dinner dishes. There was a metronome clicking away. His music was starts and stops and syncopation. Though I have no doubt that he was playing what was written, it was a series of inconsistent, stutter-y, illogical sounds that were annoying the little boy in the campsite to the other side of us.

I heard him say, “If that noise doesn’t stop, I’m going to throw something!”

Meanwhile, I enjoyed the banter that the trumpet player was having with his metronome.

Earlier that afternoon, I invited the violinist to play flute/violin duets with me. She declined. Perhaps I was more in need of a shower than I’d realized.

Frank photographed sunset on the beach with gulls and pelicans last evening. Since I fell down going up the hill a couple of days ago, I stayed behind and rested the knee that wishes it lived on the body of someone more graceful.

Here are some pictures Frank has taken in the last couple days that he feels are descriptive of the Southern Oregon Coast. Thank you, again, Frank, for sharing!

We are so grateful for your good thoughts and caring prayers while we journey, focused on making the most of every day.

Please contact me to let me know how things are going for you in your world. And thank you for being here to read, Tracks by the Post! Share the link with friends if you wish!

Gently Be,

Leslie (and Frank)                                                          

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