The three angels winged their way west in the form of his three oldest grandchildren, landing at their grandfather’s house, not only to rest but to celebrate his 90th birthday. No wonder he saw it as a visit from on high. Why wouldn’t he? They all had their own lives to lead, and the trip cost them in both time and money. But here they were:
Kora, three months pregnant, with a child and husband at home in Vermont, and a full-time job, selling her shotgun to finance the flight; Nora, working long hours as a deck-hand (with her brother) on her father’s boat, in Alaska’s waters, and pulling in the halibut, her share soon converted from fish to cash to get her down the coast; Marsh, working to improve the client base for his new company, Sitka Salmon Shares, left the Chicago market to fend for itself a few days, limiting the demonstration of his salmon baking skills to his own family this time. And a grand time they had! Kora arrived first, by bus, on Sunday afternoon. With a bolstering lunch at the Coop’s Third Street Cafe, she and grandpa headed to his olde Crows Inn. They dined that night with Jan Hunt at the LAConner Brewery, feasting on pizza and salad. By 8:00 PM or so, Kora was ready to to call it a day and curl up with the latest Archer Mayor novel at Jan’s house. Twelve hours later, it was buttermilk waffles and sausage with Kornelia and the innkeeper and more good conversation about her rustic life in Vermont. After an hour at the Midway Acupuncture Institute, they headed to the COA Mexican restaurant where they met Chelsea Andrews and young daughter, Aisling, over enchiladas and beans.
This encounter gave him a chance to explain how Chelsea and Aisling had become his west coast grandchild and great grandchild to match Kora and her young son, Jamie, on the east coast. Often he has reflected on just how wonderful that is. That night the two of them celebrated Marsh and Nora’s arrival with dinner at the Oyster and Thistle restaurant, the reunion great fun as you would expect it to be, deferring, if not doting, on the old man among them. The next day, Tuesday, his busiest day, he was up early, baking muffins and opening up the senior center. By 8:30 AM, however, Kora and Nora had joined him for his Zumba class. Astonishing to see how quickly they picked up the steps and the beat, moving smoothly through the moves. Dancing behind them, he had this strong sense of family, he being there, in them, in their bodies, they being part of his bloodline, an invisible but enduring genetic connection (when he went to his next Zumba class he paid the instructor for their participation. She said she wasn’t going to charge a fee because they had brought such beauty and energy with them). Watching Kora and Nora later in the wall-to-ceiling mirror, working from their mats in yoga class as he worked from a chair, brought the same appreciative response, the older set remembering an earlier time when their bodies, too, were limber and strong. The third event of the day was lunch with Marsh, appropriately enough, at the Third Street Cafe, checking out the Coop’s healthy fare amid pleasant conversation, he, constantly amazed by his grandchildren’s loving, inclusive ways, the three of them here to see him, just him, honoring him with their energetic presence. No grandfather anywhere could be happier than he was, simply sitting in that ordinary booth, held there by an ever-growing gratitude for family and the power that moves it to wholeness. That evening, even better, Marsh baking the salmon, Kornelia and Terry joining them, for a further tribute to family, this time the urquhart clan, with whom Kora is now teamed, viewing the many colorful pictures of her mountain top wedding last August in the Vermont hills, Marsh there, too, grilling many pounds of sockeye to feed the party, Joe and Kora, ever the attractive and welcoming hosts, celebrating into the night. All that quick, the wedding was over, and just as quick, the reunion, the three angels, packed and off to SeaTac after the Innkeeper’s hearty breakfast on Wednesday morn, three wonderful days for him, their energy and spirit continuing to linger in the aftermath of their presence, blessing the old house and all who reside in it.
“Amen”, he wants to say, quietly, “Amen”.
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