It’s that kind of week: replenishing book inventory at a local store, annual exam, massage, hair appointment. In short, a personal and professional tune-up.
This health and happiness spree started last week with a work trip to Baker City, Oregon. Work and happiness? Yes, indeed, when that work is a 3-day, 10-show run as Matilda Sager Delaney at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. I am one lucky girl- –
Make that three lucky girls.
Lily, 9 and I are three lucky girls to have this gig two years in a row. With Matilda along, maybe that’s four lucky girls? Anyway, all of us experienced a huge tune-up in personal satisfaction, spoiled by engaged and enthusiastic audiences and the camaraderie of the park rangers. The rangers gave talks on Oregon Trail history and related matters between Matilda’s presentations. I learned a lot, watching and listening to them.
Everybody was so nice.
And the little kids were good.
I’ll never forget the six-year-old boy who gasped when Matilda told her story about the sheep falling into an icy river. After the performance he came up to me and, staring at me with huge eyes said, “I got really scared when you told about the sheepses. They’re my favorites.”
My stay in Baker City was a delight, too. The motel was affordable, seriously outdated in décor, and right on the edge of the historic district. Every morning I enjoyed a walk through town as I mapped out my day and stopped here and there for photos. There are lots of historic buildings in downtown Baker City and many interesting looking businesses, but what really caught my eye were the metal animal sculptures on Main Street. Particularly, a crocodile mounted on the side of a brick building!
The motel, right next to the Powder River (babbling and visible through the back window of my room), also had a restaurant. Breakfast was included in the room rate. I walked through the front door and fifty years back in time- -or maybe it was simply a matter of geography? Anyway, I was tickled to death to see animal heads mounted on one wall of the main dining area and fish on the other. It reminded me of a car trip to Yellowstone with my grandparents in 1966.
Hey, I remember that! Cousin Myrna was our chaperone. She was a lot older than us.
Eighteen, I think. Every night she set her hair with bristle rollers.
A steep price to pay for beauty.
Back at the nostalgia-evoking restaurant, I opted for a seat at the counter, complete with mounted fish view.
The two waitresses, who could have been cross-training for speed walking they moved so fast, were choreographed like a ballet. They wove and dodged in the narrow spaces behind and in front of the counter, coffee pot in one hand and order pad in the other, addressing patrons, singular, as Hon and patrons, plural, as Guys, regardless of gender. The menu featured home style cooking, good stick-to-your-ribs fare, perfect for seeing you through a day of motorcycling or farm work or Living History presentations. Plus, I was nourished by a huge emotional tune up: I smiled the entire time I was there.
Heck, I smiled the entire time I was anywhere during this trip! My tune-up may show on the outside, but it definitely started on the inside. The most important things I packed were curiosity and a willingness to enjoy what appeared before me.
The next time you’re packing for a trip, don’t forget those essentials!
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