Wearing Red

 

April 2003

My Stories

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V

Granner

Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla

Amsterdam

Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl

Paris

Provence

Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners

Mexico

Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say

Legacy

Middle School Relay

Grad Party

Yellowstone

Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches

Visitors

Old Faithful Inn

Snowbound

Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings

Chelsea's

Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back

If you ever leave a message with our 6th grade boy, don't assume we'll get it. It simply doesn't happen. So I wasn't surprised when our neighbor, and Taylor's basketball coach, Geoff Wyatt, called me about awards night on Tuesday. He wanted to make certain we knew about it (no), since Taylor was getting MVP. But don't tell him, he said. I recruited our entire family, plus Grandma, for the celebration at a nearby pizza parlor.

Geoff coaches a CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) team for St. Joseph's School, where his son Andre', attends. The combination of Taylor and Andre's lifetime bestfriendship, plus Taylor's height, got Taylor on this team the past three years. They have a sorry record, but Taylor had a ball.

Every half hour at the pizza parlor, a different CYO coach dispensed their awards. On paper, I'm sure this sounded good, but the reality was chaos: a packed room, kids screaming, coaches trying to be heard above the roar with their presentations.

At last, it was time for Taylor's team. Geoffs started yelling out grand tales of each teammate and their talent on and off the court. I learned Geoff is not only an outstanding coach and all around good guy, he is a terrific liar.

Just before Geoff got to Taylor, I mentioned to Grandma that Andre' was going to Blanchet School next year. Suddenly a random guy peppered me with questions about Blanchet, of which I knew almost nothing. I answered shortly, avoiding eye contact. This didn't deter him and I nearly missed Taylor's moment in the sun. And I wasn't even wearing a red sweatshirt.

A few summers ago at Sunriver, we discovered that every time Jim wore his red sweatshirt on the bike trails, people stopped him for directions and advice. He turned into Sunriver info-guy. We make reference to the red sweatshirt phenomena still. Furthermore, we've determined that a non-threatening appearance often has the same effect: you become answer-man. You don't have to wear red, but it helps.

Yesterday was all about another MVP basketball player I adored: AC Green. Once I saw his name listed as keynote speaker for the Oregon Right to Life conference, I had to go. Normally, Annie and I attend the conference out of town, largely as an excuse to stay at a fancy hotel, often skipping courses for shopping at neighboring malls. This year the conference was at Keizer's Wittenberg Inn, so no hotel for us, and worse, no mall. But AC was coming, so I signed us up.

Miss Oregon 2002 kicked off the morning, wearing a Trim beige suit to cover up her Barbie Doll figure. Later I realized such a body would have distracted from her serious message, which I found, like her suit, bland. Annie and I gave her another shot in the break-out session for teens, where Miss Oregon shed her jacket and her inhibitions. I liked her much better.

One wheelchair-bound teen shared a story how she gave a pro-life speech at middle school last year and her classmates booed. It bothered her sufficiently to drive her to home-school this year. Miss Oregon was compassionate and loving and a whole lot more than any Barbie.

Normally I eat pretty early, so my stomach gnawed by the late luncheon. Annie and I nabbed seats near the front with some nice looking people. Unfortunately, we spotted a "Speaker's Table" sign and had to move. The only remaining spots stood in a lonely corner with some, umm, interesting people who didn't seem to appreciate my sense of humor. Plus people in the back get served last. Everyone else in the room had eaten by the time the winner of the teen oratory contest started speaking. With talk of infanticide, bathroom births and garbage bags, my chicken with lemon sauce finally arrived. I couldn't eat it.

I whispered to Annie that I was going to sneak out (one of the advantages to sitting in the back, I realized) and she should follow me out shortly. I didn't care too much what my table-mates thought; we hadn't exactly bonded.

Annie and I drove across the street to Big Town Hero, got some real food (Snickerdoodles and Diet Cokes) and assembled two lists: Disturbing Things and Good Things. Disturbing Things had stuff like the color of the Wittenberg Inn (pink) and how the homeschooled wheelchair girl got booed. Good Things had the conference speakers and hotel coffee cart.

The only shopping opportunity was WalGreens; we bought matching sunglasses and a long box of thin mints. Annie suggested we return home at this point, but there was still AC Green...

We hung out in the hotel lobby, watching war coverage, instead of attending the post lunch workshop. Not one, but TWO middle-aged men approached us and asked me questions, like what type of jet was that on the TV? Huh? Was I wearing a red sweatshirt? No! Leave me alone with my daughter and chocolate mints. And, eventually, AC, of course. I loved me some AC. He didn't disappoint, except for leaving before I could get a photo with him.

The day wasn't over. Jim and I still had the Children's Educational Theatre (CET) fundraiser. My friend, Sharon Zielinski, asked Jim to donate a piece of art for their auction. He chose a Victoria Night painting of the Swan Hotel where we'd stayed on our Heritage Tour three years ago.

These theatrical people don't just do auctions, they do performance/auctions. Local professionals—judges, doctors, lawyers, educators— took the stage in a colorful rash of creativity. In the lobby, I chatted with a school district official friend, a.k.a, Bozo the Clown.

At the silent auction tables, some guy sidled up, quizzing me about the sign-in forms on the table. As if I knew. Then some chilling words: "Weren't you at the CYO pizza dinner the other night? I asked you about Blanchet!" I blanched. Jim knew about my rash of red sweatshirt experiences and chuckled across the room at my discomfort. He failed to rescue me.

One of the entertainers was a local District Attorney, wearing a black lace top with black bra showing, Madonna-style. She and her husband sang a sweet Phantom of the Opera duet. Jim recognized them as a couple we'd recently met while out to dinner with a judge friend.

At intermission, the D.A. bid Jim's painting to one of the top money makers. Jim boldly re-introduced himself (quite out of character for him.) Fortunately, she remembered us. She also recognized the Swan Hotel in the painting as the place she and her husband spent their 10th anniversary. This D.A. in the black lace bra has Jim's painting on her living room wall today.

By Act Two, we grew tired, but I asked Jim if we could stay to watch my school district friend do his clown act. Big mistake. Bozo raised the house lights and searched the audience for a victim. As he neared, I sensed trouble. I wore purple, but my face flamed red. And that, dear friends, is how I ended up yesterday on stage, clown cymbals in hand, with a BANG!