Monday, March 28, 2011

Oregon - The People

No sooner are we settled into the Embassy Suites in Portland than I head over to the elevators to go downstairs to the Business Centre.  The elevator doors open and I have one of those moments when your brain sees something, then tells you it can't be what you are seeing - it doesn't "fit" and then you overide your brain because your eyes don't lie. Are you with me???  Out of the elevator steps the Parkes Family from Richmond, our girls were in elemnetary school together and they all dance at the same studio.  They had just taken the train down (which I am going to do this Summer especially after our return journey on Saturday - all that I said about car trips being fun - hooooey!!) and were in Portland for 4 days.  We saw them 6 times both at the Hotel and in the City - we seemed to be on the same loop of things to see and do.  Small world.

And then to meet the Cousins at the Coast.  We have stayed with the Burtons at their home 3 times I think and we all stayed in Seattle together last summer but this was to be our longest time together.  Leanne is Allan's first cousin and she is married to Guy Burton who I knew through a group of mutual friends back in highschool.  They have twin boys who are 10 and Jaimie who turns 8 today.

Happy Birthday Miss Jaimie!

They have lived in Grants Pass Oregon for 6 years.  Allan's extended family is not very close so we didn't make contact with the Burton's until 3 years ago when we were driving through Grants Pass en route to LA at Spring Break.  I don't remember why we suddenly decided to call them but as Leanne and I agreed this week we are glad we did!.

From minutes after meeting for the first time our kids hit it off and are good friends.  David and Nathan are the tightest being almost the same age and with very similar interests and abilities although they are both quite intense and need breaks from one another from time to time.  Luke is an avid Wii soccer dude and David is quite content to sit and play Wii with him.  Lindsay is, of course, much older than Jaimie and the boys but she plays the big sister role pretty well.  She pairs up with Jaimie often and they shared a room this week. 

For my kids its a novelty to be in a "sibling" group with options (actually for them to be with cousins , even second cousins is a novelty).... and David particularly loves all the friends to play with but it does wear him out - the boy slept past 8:30am our first day home!  Lindsay gets to mother a brood and does so with grace most of the time.  She pulled rank on the Dune Buggy ride so she could ride up front and fair enough.... she is sometimes caught in no-person's land between the kids and adults.  But really for a gang of kids who only see each other once or twice a year they do very well together. I am personally hoping the salamander fascination is over before the next visit.... slimey little critters....UGH.

It is its own kind of relaxation to be with people who know you.... your family, all the skeletons in the closest as well as the context you grew up in. No need to repeat your words or explain your accent..... people to reminisce with that remember the same names and places you do.  Not all family get along just because they are family..... in fact the opposite can be true.... but the Burton/Byres North combo seems to work. We like the same stuff (ok the same wine and food and beer) and many of the same activities.  Leanne and I scrapbooked together happily, the boys fished and boated and braaied, we shopped, we walked along the beach, we took photos, we chatted about kids and school......and we all got along.

When you move a world away from your family and the places of your childhood/youth you come to treasure these moments as gifts - a touchstone of familiarity, a connection to a place deep in your heart that you mostly keep buried because its too hard to explain to anyone. 

So Burton's I thank you for being family, for great times and great memories and here's hoping there are more to come!

Some Burton/Byres Moments..........

3 Musketeers

First Salamander caught


There were 3 in the bed and.....

Showing us how big the crabs they were going to catch would be.... still waiting

Hot chocolate after near death on the dunes

Luke's salamander
David and Nathan strolling on the beach

All Aboard

Scrapbooking party

Ain't nothing like family.....

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