Hard to believe that it is almost mid July. This year is going by way to fast.
I was golfing with Jay the other day at the Old Back Nine. Jan Ward has put out signs claiming that in 2023, he will let the land revert back to it's normal state. I told my buddy Frank that the other day and said, "Maybe we can 'ugly golf' it. He and I had started a sort of golf in the abandoned front nine years ago and played it for years even starting a league that we called 'ugly golf'.
Frank laughed and said, "Do you know how old we will be?". "Probably around 70." was my reply. We both looked at each other and shook our heads. "It doesn't seem right, does it?", I stated.
Getting back to the game a bit. I loved my time with Jay there, as usual. I really love and admire that young man. He is tender, kind hearted, along with being very athletic and strong. He tried putting on an old pair of my golf shoes and ended up with blisters on the back of his feet when they were too small.
On one hole, after sinking a putt, he raised the ball in the air and showed it to four sides. "What are you doing?", I asked. "I am in the PGA, Papa. Come on, use your imagination. Can't you hear the crowd?".
The 4th of July was a red letter day for us. Judy and I both drove in the parade that morning. Jay and I had purchased a ton of candy and we spread it out in two large bowls. It was gone before we went 1/3 way through the huge crowd. Next year, we will get twice as much and save the next bowl for the last half. I felt sorry for the kids on the latter part as they probably didn't get much candy while the first part had tons.
Judy and I got back to the diner and started getting ready for the evening. Around 3, I took a short cat nap in my office. The vets arrived around 4 and we set up the serving area while some other friends showed up early to hang out before the event. Before I knew it, Jimmy had rang the dinner bell and we were full force into the BBQ.
The band showed up on time and by shortly after 6, the place was rocking. I noticed that this year, some of the people who live behind us had put their chairs up close to hear that band. This is what I have hoped for for years and so I was quite happy to see this. I want to be a complete part of this community.
We pretty much ran out of food sometime after 7 or so and I supervised the break down while all the while checking on various friends and making sure that they were enjoying themselves. Many of them said that, once again, Jimmy had put on a tremendous spread. All seemed quite happy.
Around 9 or so, I realized that it would be best to shut down the diner as no one really wanted any cooked food anymore and the long line for milk shakes was just frustrating the now beat up wait staff. I had Trin put up a closed sign and began making preparations for it. I found the two dishwashers lounging out back so I sent one of them up to clean up front and told the other to get in the dish pit and get things finished up there so we could all see the fireworks when they came.
The vets did their job well and no one inside the parking lot lit off any fireworks. This made the environment quite peaceful for everyone just lounging and waiting for the butte to catch on fire. As 10 came and the fireworks began, I found myself walking amongst the various groups that had collected in the lot. The vets, my Model A friends, various church friends and other seniors who had came in to our safe environment. It was like one huge extended family and I admit that it made my heart sing a bit. It was truly one of those 'happy' moments.
The next night was not so happy as I received the call telling me that I was to go back up to Portland for two more surgeries. They are both on my lower back and while they are very early stage, I understand that there are various levels of each stage. My doctor said that they were not sure so she wanted to get them off quickly. This will happen on Tuesday.
I arrived one morning to find a group of local businessmen who had invited me to join them for their early morning breakfast. This morning, the group was small and so each were invited to talk about how they had come to be where they were. I was last and gave my nickel tour of the story of Jake's. I was told later that it greatly affected one of the men in the group. Later on in the week, I was talking with another local businessman and he asked me how I came to own the diner so I shared the same story with him. He asked me if he could share it with some of his friends and I said, "Sure". Frank thinks I should write a book about it. Maybe even have our old friend and well known editor, Larry Libby get involved. I am seriously thinking of it if it can truly inspire someone. And I suppose the story should be written if anything for my future family members.
It's funny, if I go back just 10 short years. Jake was still alive. The parkway was just about to be opened on the south end of town. Jake's was a very popular truck stop known all across the country.
Thinking about that brought an old friends name to my mind. Pete Rigney who wrote for major trucking magazines. Pete and I had become good friends and he had even wrote a couple of articles about us in his magazines. I went online to search for him as I had not heard from him since he called me a few years back. I had harassed him a bit about not having a house for his wife, Shirl. He called me to tell me he was in her new house and she was down at Walmart getting things for it. I found Pete's obituary and realized that he died four years ago. I think I need to try and contact Shirl if she is still around.
An old friend and big advocate for local vets showed up yesterday. Mike Donohue had left a while back when he could not find work here in Bend. It was good to see his smiling face and learn that he was able to come 'home'.
I realize that this post is loaded with ramblings. Maybe I should try and dedicate myself to type shorter posts more often but that would take time.....