Portland, Oregon
Winter, 2008

Greetings from Portland. Yes, skies are gray and a bit rainy, but we N’orwesters are a hearty lot and just hunker down and enjoy all the good things life and Oregon have to offer.

I continue to substitute teach in six high schools in the vicinity. While there are aspects of being a regular full-time English teacher that I miss, I enjoy the freedom of scheduling and lack of homework that subbing affords me. I get all the work I want, which is usually every (school) day.

Never short of ways to recreate, I stay plenty busy playing music, fly fishing when I can, cowboy action shooting, and enjoying Portland’s many brew pubs and eateries. More recently, this fall I got back into playing tennis (let’s hear it for indoor courts!). Growing up, I played quite a bit, often with parents, who were ardent tennis players both when they lived in Marin County and then up in Napa. Karen and I used to play in Santa Monica. It feels great to play again, and I'm pleased to find that my game has remained fairly intact. There’s something very satisfying about whacking that ball over the net -- THOK!. Playing tennis is a heck of a lot more fun than working out at the gym, though I try to do that every so often as well.

After four summers working at the Home Ranch in Colorado, I did not do so this last summer. Rather I stayed around Portland, save for attending three different music camps in Washington, California, and Oregon. While I missed the riding, fishing, and music that the dude ranch job afforded me, it was time to explore other activities. Karen and I enjoy “doing” summer in Portland. There’s so much to do around here. Eating her wonderful cooking ranks right up there, believe me.

Music-wise, I continue to jam with my gypsy jazz friends. It’s a fun style to play and we have a great time. From time to time, I busk on the streets of Multnomah Village with my guitar playing friend, Phil Lavine. Fun to have people walk up to watch and listen and appreciate a style they may have never heard before.

Speaking of performing, my good friend and fine musician, Flauren Ricketts, and I continue to strut our stage stuff via our duo, The Cafe Cowboys. We play a wide array of styles and love to let it hang out whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Ever the Beatlemaniac, I also enjoy sitting down with my friend Mark Terrien and running through our Beatle repertoire. We may just have to hit an open mike one of these days. Look out! I just wish that my long-time friend, Norman Meister, lived up here so he could join us. Norm and I have known each other since the 9th grade and have never stopped singing together.

This last year, Steve Cooper, another great and long-time friend, continued our annual fishing rendezvous. This year we met in eastern Sierra, our old stomping grounds from the Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit days. We fished many of the same waters where first wet a fly line some twenty-five (can it be?) years ago: Barney Lake, Rock Creek, and Hot Creek. I still say the eastern Sierra ranks among the most beautiful country in the world.

I managed to make it down to LA to spend Thanksgiving with my sister Ann and her family. It's always good to see her and husband Andy. Son Stephen showed up, but other son Scott was busy playing hockey with his St. Olaf’s College team. My nephew Jon drove down from San Jose with his two boys, Keenan and Ryan, and daughter Kelsey took time out from her hectic schedule to flew in from DC. It was good to have a family get- together. We missed brother Steve and his wife, Pat, who weren’t able to make it down from Bend. By the way, if you ever want to anything about Billy the Kid, ask my brother!

While in LA, I braved the freeways and managed to squeeze in visits with old friends, Steve Cooper, Miles Knudsen, Jeff Fiskin, Scott Wannberg, and Mike Preece. It was great to see them again. I just wish I had had the time to see all my LA friends. Next time!

On a sad note, my good friend Larry Brown passed away the end of November. Larry was a legend in the guitar repair world, and in my LA days I spent many hours hanging out at this shop, talking guitars, fly fishing (Larry was also a master at this), and enjoying single malt Scotch. When I was down for Thanksgiving, I spent the morning visiting with Larry just a few days before his heart attack. He seemed fine, though I know he had some ailments, and we had a great visit. I'm grateful for that last memory. Though a very private person, Larry touched many people’s lives in many ways. He was one of the good ones and is sorely missed.

In addition to everything else, I look forward to doing some skiing this winter. Unfortunately, Karen’s recent foot surgeries will keep her off the slopes this season. We look forward to more slope time next season. She is an excellent skier and I love to watch her coming down the hill. So it’s up to my aforementioned Beatle playing friend, Mark, and I to make it up to Mt. Hood a time or two.

As the years pass, I am ever more strongly reminded how important family and friends are to us all. Treasure them. Keep in touch.

Adios for now,

Greg

January 1, 2008

NOTE: As of January 20, 2008, my new address is: 9054 SW 38th Ave., Portland, OR 97219. Same phone and email.



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