A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Message from Vic Casad: August 29, 2017
Notes from the Heartland
Last Monday, August 21, 2017, at 9:20 a.m. PDT, Mary Brooke and I were standing on the lawn of Trinity Lutheran Church about 3 miles east of Mount Angel, Oregon, 18 miles northeast of Salem. That is as far as we got; we spent two hours traveling 40 miles south from Portland that morning through heavy traffic.
There was a small group of folks setting up their watch station on the church grounds. We pulled into the parking lot and asked the closest person to us if the church might be open to use the facilities.
“Yes,” was the reply. “The pastor just came out and said the church was open for anyone who needed to use the restrooms.” So, we got out of our rental car, preparing to see the solar eclipse in its totality.
We had come to Seattle the Thursday before to attend the weekend festivities honoring Mary Brooke’s mother’s first cousin and her recent marriage at the age of 80. This invitation had come to us months before and we have been looking forward to this trip to Washington State for some time. We only realized later that we would be about four hours away from the track of the total eclipse.
We left Seattle for Portland around 1:30 p.m. PDT on Sunday, and it seemed like all of Washington State had chosen the exact same time to travel south to Oregon for the eclipse. What should have taken three hours, took us six. Fortunately, Mary Brooke had booked us a room at an Airbnb in Portland.
If you don’t know, Airbnb is an online service that makes it possible for hosts to rent out their spare bedroom to guests for short-term stays. It is usually cheaper than a hotel but, then again, you are staying in someone’s house. In Seattle, we lodged in the home of Marilyn and Cynthia, two avant-garde artists who let us stay in their studio basement. It was great and they were wonderful hosts.
In Portland, we stayed in Adam’s apartment. Adam was not there, he was staying an hour away with his mother. The instructions he gave us were that when we got to his street, which was just across the river from downtown, to find the old two-story reddish brown building. Go around to the side of the building and there is a white door. Next to the door is a bird bath. The key is under the bird bath.
We found the building. It looked like an old hotel or hospital from the early 1900s. We went around to the side, and there was the white door. Next to it was the top of an old cement birdbath laying on the ground. I lifted up the concrete disk, and there was the key. We spent the night in the basement of the Bates Motel. (The details are best described in person.)
We survived the night. We ate a breakfast of peach slices and hardboiled eggs and then headed for the interior of Oregon. We had a rendezvous with a total solar eclipse. So did several million other people. With the help of Siri and instinct, we bypassed the main roads and ended up at Trinity Lutheran Church with a fun group of strangers who we will never see again. But that morning we shared a common and unique experience. When the moon covered the sun, it was like all of nature stopped for a moment of silent prayer. We stared at the moon and the sun with our protective glasses in a sudden chill. Two and a half minutes later, a sunbeam burst back out, we told everyone goodbye, wished them well and took off to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to catch a 5:45 p.m. flight back to Dallas.
In the previous two days, we had traveled eight hours from Seattle to get to the eclipse sight. It was 10:30 a.m. We got to the airport at 4:15 p.m. Do the math. Mary Brooke was driving.
In His Service and Yours,