Hood River. Paul got an interview for a school over there on Friday. It looks like an excellent fit. Working with kids that are troubled. Small class sizes. Lots of focus on hands-on learning and experiences. Good rapport with kids is needed.

For those who don’t know the area, Hood River is the wind-surfing capital. The Columbia Gorge brings in windsurfers from all over the world. Just an hour away from Portland, it is also famous for its fruit orchards which people come to visit in the spring when everything is in bloom. Skiing is less than a half hour away. There are hiking, biking, and running trails. The place is an outdoor mecca.

The salary is not great, but enough in this environment to make a start. It is steady, more than Paul could make subbing, and we’re hoping it has a benefit package. It’s something he’ll ask about. It’s a program that is contracted through the school district but the program would be his employer. Also, it’s year-round. So … that makes his salary that much less because he can’t get a job over the summer to add to it. A regular public school job would pay a great deal more. Almost half as much.

Those are the pros and cons. Hood River has been described as a small Bend, minus the Californians.

Tomorrow, we travel to Southern Oregon to shake hands with potential employers. Friday is the interview.

Elsa visited the leaning tower of Pisa and Venice, the two places she’s longed to see since she was old enough to declare such desires. It’s amazing how dreams can come true. Since my parents arrived there, her attitude has changed from homesick to excitement. She also got to play on clay tennis courts — an experience that was fantastic, she said. Her feet never hurt. I see pictures of her smiling from famous landmarks and feel satisfied.

Today is my grandparents’ 65th wedding anniversary. To be strong, to have your mind in tact, and to be in love after all these years — that’s what we all hope for as couples. Paul’s and my 17 years together seem just a beginning.

Grandma described her wedding day. The man who was supposed to sing at the ceremony lived in Idaho and traveled to Spokane. He forgot about the time difference and was an hour late, so he missed it. Grandpa and Grandma sang instead. I expressed dismay at the mistake. She waved off the entire ordeal. She said,

At the time you think it’s a matter of life or death. But they are such little things in the end. They really don’t matter at all.

That same singer went on to become a popular inspirational singer. One time, he was flying home alone and crashed his airplane and was burned badly in the crash. His face, neck and arms were swollen beyond recognition. He made it to the highway but people whizzed by him, afraid to help. Finally, someone stopped.

In the hospital, the doctors said the inhalation of smoke would probably ruin his voice. But it didn’t. And all the while the doctors worked over him, he sang beautiful hymns that rang through the entire hospital.

My grandmother teared up at that point, remembering their good friend.

Time gives us perspective. From when we’re very young and an object is removed from our hands and we cry like the world has ended until our wedding day and something doesn’t work out and we cry like the world has ended or until an employer passes us by or a house gets taken away or … whatever. If I can picture myself at 85 and looking back on it, the situation stops looming large in my consciousness and takes its proper place as something to teach me a lesson or … to help create a memory.

I bet it’s harder to remember the things that run smoothly. It’s the hiccoughs we remember. The interruptions. The mistakes. The interferences. The quirky people. The eccentrics. The tragedies. And with enough time, it seems all those little annoyances or big sorrows turn beautiful and full of grace and wisdom.


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