Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day Town

Well, I'm driving.
Eleanor came with us because the cat sitter is out of town.  She is nonplussed and heavily drugged.  Eleanor does not like car rides and takes a form of kitty valium called acepromazine for when she goes any distance with us.  She is really stoned and that's or the best because she meows, climbs all over the car and generally works herself up into a frenzy.

Before I started giving her prescriptions for travel, my vet recommended "Rescue Remedy" and Benadryl.  Rescue Remedy is apparently a naturopathic placebo.  Only nobody told Eleanor what it's supposed to do before we gave it to her.  On one of our trips to Tulsa, she was cranky the whole way and tormented me, spreading hair all over my boyfriend's car.

When I tried Benadryl, she foamed at the mouth, acted like she had a sick tummy, and puked (twice) right into my hand.  At least she didn't hit the seats or anything.  She also pooped on my foot while she was puking into my hand.  But hey, at least she didn't hit the floorboard. It was a long day for everyone, and I ended up with a long shower and a couple of hours of soothing my poor kitty.  We tried cold turkey again, only with her carrier. She doesn't like her carrier.  She peed out the back side of it, this time hitting the back of the seat.  At least I was overly prepared with sprays and wipes and paper towels.

So I drug her.  And everyone is much happier.  She tends to hang out between the feet of whomever is on the passenger side of the car and stare into space while a heater blows a little warm air on her head.  It's very zen, especially for me.  I don't like to think of any animal or human being in pain.

Anyway, I'm driving.  The drugs haven't quite hit and Eleanor is pacing.  Grey is trying to wrangle her and be patient with me as I bark orders having to do with my cat.  He does not need me to tell him what to do with a cat. Especially this cat- he lives with her and knows her just as well as I do.  But it makes me feel better.

We are headed to Dayton.

Dayton, Washington. Home of my Centennial family.  Chrisopher Marll moved there from Pennsylvania right before statehood and settled in Dayton with his family.  I believe he was Grandfather to Nineva, who was my Grandpa's mother.  Nineva.  She went by Nina.  When I wear my hair up in a bun, my Grandma told me I look just like her.  That's one of the reasons my grandpa liked me so well.

And nobody goes by their original names, it would seem.  My Great-Grandma Nina used her nickname.  She had a sister named Vina- also a nickname.  My Great-Grandpa Albert was Abbot, Aunt Sis was Alberta, Bessie is Bettie, Teddy was really named Alice and Chaud was actually named Charles.  Family reunions are a bitch for this reason.  That and having a grandma who was an identical twin.  I thought I had two grandma's until I was 7.  It's no wonder I am named Mindie but go by Antoinette and that I married a man named Greg, who goes by Grey.

And now, it's time to introduce Grey to the family he married into.  Because it's not just a family; it's also a town and sometimes a geneological snarl.  I don't know where to start.  I'm related to just about everyone.  I consulted with Patti before we decided to come visit.  We decided to do what they do: stay in a local motel and visit from there.  That way, we have a place to retreat to, in order to have a bit of quiet and a place to rest up after the heavy information inputs.

We stayed at the place that allows pets. The reason the motel allows pets is so that hunters who come year round can bring their dogs.  Clean room- no pet hair.  Free wifi, hot water.  Not much else.  A quiet haven.  Hunters go to bed early. Come to think of it, everyone in town goes to bed early.

Time to meet the Fockers.

I always referred to my uncle Steve as Uncle T-B.  We couldn't say his name when we were little. He and my Aunt Karla bought my grandparent's place since their deaths and rennovated the house.  It's the first time I have seen the house in the two years since they moved in.  New siding, new windows, floors, heating system, bathroom (might I say WOW on that part) and a couple of new walls.  Pretty snazzy.  I am amazed at the touches they left in place.  The floor of the back porch that my grandpa built himself is the same.  The root cellar is still in the same place- also dug by hand by Grandpa.  Much of the furniture placement (new furniture) is the exact same, and the deck is updated by still in the same style.

T-B showed Grey videos of me when I was an awkward teenager, complete with long, blonde, permed hair and acid wash jeans.  And pimples.  The 1980s were a tough time.  He also showed Grey the vdieos of my time on the Columbia County Fair Court, wearing red off-the-shoulder dresses and big red picture hats.  Waving to a crowd of people with a big smile stuck on my face.  Riding in the back of a wagon at the country fair with spray-painted on jeans and white shirts.

Oy. Family.

One thing my family loves is apples.  One of the best places to get apples is in Ellensburg.  That's fortunate, eh? So we went to the best place to buy a couple of boxes: Thorp Apples and Antique Mall.  It's good food, reasonably priced.  Organic, local and oh, so yummy.  I picked up a couple of boxes for my aunt and uncle, and a couple of boxes for my sister Mickie and her family.  Mickie had her husband, Lester, stepson Logan and granddaughter Jenna Lynn (age 2) living at her house right now. Logan is 11 and very talkative.  He's a good kid.  While we were visiting Steve and Karla, we got to also visit with my cousin Chryssee, her husband James and their four year old daughter, Allie.

I spent a lot of time with this part of my family when I was younger.  A few weeks in the summers, lots of holidays and time where Ryan, Rob, Chryssee and I would be at Grandma and Grandpas at the same time.  Alsways fun.  I loved my cousins.  I went from being the youngest to being the oldest in just a few hours and I loved spending time with them.  So it's a treat to see any of my cousins.  Chryssee was born when I was 11, and somewhere floating around is a picture of me holding her when she is six months old.

We take apples for everyone.  Grey appeared somewhat skeptical at the prospect of me buying boxes of apples for my family.  We had taken one over to Patti's house the last time we were there and they ate them, straight up.  Didn't even pretend they were going to can them.  Bigger families on this side, so we brought more boxes.  It's not just my family; everyone here eats them like crazy.

We visit awhile longer and decide to go back to town to see the Christmas Kickoff fireworks.  The town really loves fireworks but can't shoot them off on the fourt of July because it's such a dry area.  So they do it the day after Thanksgiving.  Even though there are only about 2,500 people in town, thousands come to see the fireworks.  Grey and I find parking and work out way towads the courthouse.  It's the second oldest in the state.  My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandparents saw it built.  On the way I am stopped by Ramon Streby, who goes to our family church and a friend from high school named Denise Witt, who I have not seen in 20 years but she is so remarkably unchanged we recognize each other immediately.  She is married and has three lively boys.  I see lots of people I know.  Some know me too and we nod.  Grey doesn't say much and seems unsurprised when I suddenly hug Ramon and then introduce him.  He's affable.

After the fireworks, we go by the historical Winehard Hotel, run by my friend Shelly.  She is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  You need a gorgeous suite in a beautifully rennovated hotel?  Go THERE!  And then off to a restaurant to eat.  The first place we tried, we couldn't get anyone to take our order.  It was terribly busy.  I recognized my nephew's girlfriend but we haven't been introduced and I didn't want to freak her out while she was working.  The second place, Skye Book and Brew, had a pretty decent grilled cheese sandwich and a local Johnson Hollow IPA.  Perfect. And a good end to the night.

The night ended at 9.  In fact, everything sort of ends by 9 in Dayton.  It's a "roll up the streets when the sun goes down" sort of place.

Today was a shopping and a walk around Dayton sort of day.  More relatives- Grey met one of my third cousins and a former stepdad (who I just love), and we walked a mile out to Grandma and Grandpa's to visit a bit longer.  On the way, I gave more town history and pointed out some landmarks.  Lester, Mickie's husband, took us up the Touchet River Road, turned on Hatley Gulch Road and drove us to the old Marll (Grandpa's people) homestead, past a bunch of my Uncle Vernon's land that my Uncle Steve now farms and to Aunt Vina's cabin.  The homestead is where they used to grow vegetables and strawberries to make their living, and that very strawberry field is the place where my Grandma correctly diagnosed my Aunt Dorothy with appendicitis- and it saved her life.  Grandma lost her kid brother to a burst appendix when she was just a teenager, so she knew the signs. We saw deer and Pioneer Park, the land my Uncle Vernon donated to be a hunting/camping park.  The sign just says that people should be courteous.  Nobody has to clean the place up.  Down Skyline and through the fields in fallow we drove, around a couple of hairpin turns, and back into Dayton.  I am really impressed with Lester. He knows our family history at least as well as me.

But by the time we got back to town, it was dark and I was carsick as hell.  And I needed to pee.  Jenna Lynn fell asleep in the car and would be up all night.  Logan helped to narrate and all along the way, Mickie showed us all the places she and Jenna Lynn would glean apples and have picnics.  I guess since Mickie and Uncle Steve both do it, gleaning isn't just a weird thing about me. Mickie referres to the practice of picking wayward apples, apricots, berries and other fruits as "procuring".  And Yvette does it too, sometimes in tandem with Mick.

So there.

I'm exhausted.  It's 8 p.m.  We are in for the night.  Tomorrow, it's church at our little United  Bretheren Church and then saying our goodbyes and taking off for home.  Yvette isn't here this trip.  She was at Mom's house for Thanksgiving and is now in Olympia visiting her boyfriend.  She and Grey will meet. Someday.

I worry about Grey though.  How will he do on the geneology test?  Will he know the Marlls from the Jennings?  Will he know the nicknames? What about the UB church history?  Will he be able to find his way back to town when Lester drops him off on Skyline? Can he correctly identify the location of the hospital where I was born? I mean, now the hospital is on the other side of of town. Will he be able to tell the difference in taste between a Jonagold apple and a Honeycrisp?  What if he can't even name my Uncle Vernon's favorite apple (It's Golden Delicious)? There is over 100 years of history just on my mom's side of the family to memorize.  I feel a little sorry for him but hope he will be able to come home with me.  I'll post pictures in a separate blog in a few days.  Because you know I took a bunch.


  1. I'm pretty sure Grey's always been good at tests, but then again you did describe it as a "geneological snarl"...a great turn of phrase:)

    As a courthouse aficionado, I had to look up the second oldest in the state. Lovely.

    1. You really haven't lived until you have been dancing with a guy in a bar in Dayton and introduce each other to the same person, saying "This is my cousin, _______".

      Oh, and the oldest courthouse in the state is in Port Townsend. Lovely. I have taken Grey to both of them now. :)

  2. Sorry I missed you this weekend! Shellie at the Weinhard Hotel is your nephew Tiger's aunt, his dads sister. And Tigers name is Tyler. And Aunt Teddy is actually Clara Rose, and she detests it. Did you make it up to the Landing? That's been Grandpas property since he was 18. Remember us cleaning the lower branches off the trees in the circle? I'm so glad you got to go up the mountain this trip. I have to tell ya tho, we have Warren Orchards apples that rival any from Thorp, and you can see the Indian Head Shadow in full headdress to boot. Love you!