Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or The Daily Quest for Coffee

The Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound

The Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound from Rick and Kim’s deck

The last four weeks have been chock full of excitement. My most recent post, From Summer to Winter, covered the first half of my journey which included touring the Canadian Rockies via motorcoach. These past two weeks have been all about connecting with family and friends.

Being Papa Mike

Papa Mike and the boys in our Mexico T-shirts

Papa Mike and the boys in our Mexico T-shirts

Perhaps the greatest joy in raising children is the reward of becoming a grandpa. After settling in at the home of daughter #1, I visited my five year old grandson’s kindergarten class to tell a story at story time. I was introduced to the class as Papa Mike, a title bestowed on me by my grandson. All my years of experience as a storyteller paid off. The children loved the story of The Little Red Train that I shared. They even invited me back a couple days later to share another story, which I did.

It was also during this visit that I finally got to meet and hold the newest member of the family, my nine month old grandson. He warmed to me quickly, and I spent many happy hours on the floor playing with him and retrieving the toys he liked to throw.

(Great coffee is always available with the push of a button at my daughter’s home. That’s my girl!)

When Bloggers Meet

Mike and Dawn in Bellingham

Mike and Dawn in Bellingham

It was my good fortune to meet a fellow blogger in-person. I am a fan of Dawn’s blog, Tales from the Motherland, in which she gets to the heart of things with a writing style and a passion that inspires me. The blogosphere is a wonderful place to connect with fellow writers online. However, we seldom get the opportunity to meet face-to-face, so this particular sunny day in Bellingham was a special time. Dawn and I shared happy conversation over coffee, and two hours together passed in what seemed like mere moments.

(The coffee at Avellino’s in Bellingham is awesome!)

Hometown Friends

Rick and Kim's doggies are their constant companions.

Rick and Kim’s doggies are their constant companions.

My weekend in Seattle allowed me to connect with several people I had not seen in years. Rick and Kim were my gracious hosts. Rick and I always had fun times whether at work or away from the job. This connection was just like old times, and like me, Rick is a proud grandpa.

I spent my first evening in Seattle having dinner with my high school friend, Rosemary. We have maintained our friendship for 45 years. We talked about anything and everything as though we had visited only a few days before. There is much comfort and understanding in knowing someone your entire adult life.

I reconnected with old friends Pat and Bob.

I reconnected with my fine friends, Pat and Bob.

A Facebook connection put me in touch with a couple I had not seen for over 30 years. Bob and Pat were mountaineering students when I was a mountaineering course instructor. Their teenage children were camp counselors in children’s programs I organized. Our brief breakfast reunion brought back great memories of our younger years, and again hours passed like minutes as my departure via Amtrak to Portland loomed.

(Seattleites always have fresh coffee readily available. Well, duh – it’s Seattle!)

A Storyteller’s Game

Daughter #2 - social worker, poet, RPG gamer and all-around great kid.

Daughter #2 – social worker, poet, RPG gamer and all-around great kid.

During my Portland visit, daughter #2 included me in her game night in the RPG (Role Playing Game) Club with her ‘nerdy friends.’ These folks do appear a bit different with their anything-goes dress and hairstyles. They are also incredibly bright people with a love for creativity and improvisation.

My daughter and I joined three others in a game called Serpent’s Tooth. (If you missed the literary reference to Shakespeare’s King Lear, don’t feel bad – so did I.) I played a cynical friend of the galactic empire’s president-for-life. My daughter was a sentient robot. One young man played a career bureaucrat, and the other young man played a female admiral of Starfleet and heroine of the empire. After two hours of role playing, we wrested all power from the president, and since he was president-for-life by law, the robot shot and killed him to end the game because it was the only logical thing to do. Then we all went to the local brew pub for beers and laughter.

My dear friends from high school, Lily and Rosemary.

My dear friends from high school, Lily and Rosemary.

My daughter describes Portland as the city ‘where 20-somethings go to retire.’ There is so much to do in Portland that I can see why many young people do not necessarily want to work full time. Just visiting all the brew pubs around town could take months.

(Daughter #2 does not drink coffee. Every day I had to walk five blocks for a morning cup of convenience store coffee – ugh!)

On my final night in Portland, I enjoyed a delightful dinner with Lily, another long-time friend from high school. It has an exciting month on the road, and it was also a long time to be away from my wife who awaits my return to Mexico. Even though we Skyped and texted daily, I can say with a sigh of relief, “There’s no place like home.”

13 comments on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or The Daily Quest for Coffee

  1. Welcome back friend! I’ve missed your posts, and now miss you in person… next time, we’ll make it two coffees! What an amazing adventure you had, right here in your back yard! so much connecting as well as the cool travel you go to do. I’m sure F was happy to see you back though! Glad we were able to spend time together. 🙂

    • Yes – two coffees! Because one is never enough when friends get together. 🙂
      BTW – I will be in Ferndale on Father’s Day for a few days before we leave for Scotland.

      • Let me know what’s happening when you’re in town again and maybe we can make it happen again! I’ll be away for Father’s Day weekend, but around before and after. 🙂

  2. Hey Mike! A question – could you survive without coffee? Haha – I’m just joking with you. I love my coffee too. Celeste:)

    • Nice to know my coffee thing was not too subtle, although in truth, that was my wife’s influence. I actually went a couple of days without coffee on my month-long vacation. Just not two days in a row. 🙂
      Thank you as always for your comments.

  3. I am going to be retiring in two weeks and have always intended to live South of the Border in my next life. Well the time is at hand. I am enjoying your blog very much and have therefore awarded you the Most Inspiring Blogger Award. Check out my latest post here to learn more about your award.

  4. Michele Ricchiazzi says:

    Looks like you had a great time! Your grandkids are beautiful!!

  5. jhornmex says:

    Great that you could connect with so many family and friends and boost your sentimental storage for the next long-time away. Enjoy your last few weeks in Cuernavaca.

    • Thank you for all you have done to make us feel welcome in Cuernavaca. Oh – I finally went to the dentist. I should not have waited. I needed to schedule a root canal this week. 😦
      Other than that all is well.

  6. reocochran says:

    These are precious pictures! I am so glad that the children who love you the most, got to see their grandpa! You have read through Skype to them and they feel connected with your visits! Your wife is lovely and you both look so happy! I am always happy when I visit your posts! Thanks for the fun time!

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