If good friends are one of the great treasures of life, then Layne and I have been showered with riches in the last few days. After renting a gas-efficient Chevy Cruze last week and heading across the Cascade Mountains, we have had the good fortune of spending one night, including a mouth-watering home-cooked dinner, with our friends Sue and Christine in Crooked River Ranch, then breakfast with a beloved niece Cari and her two children, Jordan and Phylicia, followed by two uproarious nights with our long-time pals Penny & Joel at their beautiful ranch in Central Oregon. To top it off, we spent a wonderful evening on Sunday with other dear friends, Penny’s sister Ruth and her Sardinian sweetheart Antonio. Our cups runneth over, literally and figuratively!
Heading down out of the mountains towards Sisters, Oregon, last Wednesday we stopped off at the Museum at Warm Springs, a multi-media exhibit honoring, preserving and sharing the cultural and artistic heritage of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, including the Wasco, the Walla Walla (or Warm Springs) and the Paiute Indian tribes. The excellent dioramas and photographs, historical collections and archives, taped narratives by Warm Springs elders and poignant descriptions of the relentless devastating changes endured by these native peoples bring to life in a heart-wrenching chronicle the difficult and tragic period of Native American history that followed the intrusion of white settlers into the West.
|Warm Springs Tule mat summer home, 1800|
By the mid-1800’s, thousands of pioneers were crossing Oregon Indian lands, radically altering traditional ways of life for the Indians. In 1855, the U.S. government negotiated a series of treaties which established the Warm Springs Reservation, appropriating some ten million acres of land from the tribes while giving them the territory along the Deschutes River and granting them the rights to fish, hunt for game and other foods in their accustomed places. Federal policies were aimed at forcing the Indians to assimilate and to adopt what was essentially an alien culture, giving up their traditional languages and practices and adopting a foreign infrastructure of religion, schools, sawmills, agriculture and such. Only after Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934 were these three tribes able to enter a period of self-government as a consolidated unit on the Warm Springs reservation. If you are ever in the area, this museum is worth a visit.
|Layne, Jordan, Cari and Phylicia|
After coffee and quiche with Cari and the kids on Thursday, we arrived at Penny & Joel’s in time for the first of several fabulous - make that splendiferous!! - meals by that gourmand Penny. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of indulging in some white wine as we whiled away the afternoon visiting on the patio, then moved on to gin and tonic for the cocktail hour. By the time our incredible pork roast dinner with the fabulous cherry salsa was served, along with still more wine, we were all a little over the top. But a good time was had by all, as they say.
The next day, a little fuzzy from the previous evening’s festivities, we were off to a slow start but Penny’s spectacular broccoli and mushroom egg cupcakes were a good energizer. With our vigor restored, we headed into Bend for an afternoon wandering the shops, trying on hats, judging jewelry and art and enjoying a lazy lunch at Toomies Thai Cuisine. (Penny recommends #8, the spicy chicken dish with basil. I agree.) We ended up beside beautiful Drake Park and Mirror Lake, in the middle of town and close to the historic shopping district where several buildings remain intact from the town’s early-1900’s founding.
|View from Penny & Joel's ranch|
That night, following another sensational dinner of grilled flank steak, tomato and onion plus a wildly complex broccoli salad, Layne and I had the honor of initiating Penny and Joel’s new rustic fire pit, a foot-high metal ring featuring sculpted galloping horses. Through their silhouettes, the blaze is exposed in dramatic fiery profile. To properly anoint the new ring, of course, required a photographic record of the toast, for which Penny and Layne were happy to pose. “Be sure and get the red color of the wine,” Penny advised, as she helped direct the shot.
|Penny's grilled flank steak and veggies... Wow!|
It was sad to see the evening come to an end, knowing it was our last visit together for perhaps a year. Such a lovely holiday with such good friends.
And finally, after a rushed day of sorting through dozens of boxes and storage containers in our barn, Layne and I relaxed with Ruth and Antonio in Auburn over a tasty vegetarian Papa Murphy’s pizza. I must have been too tired to take photos but, trust me, we had a fine time!
Thanks to everyone who has hosted us on this trip, attended a party or just wished us well!