Sunday, March 25, 2012

Old Paint

I grew up on the wet side - the 1950s in Portland, since then near or in Seattle, except for college and military excursions.

One strange thing about that is that is that "The West" as seen in movies, on television, in stories and song, or at least places that pretty much looked like that, is somewhere gotten to by driving East.

I seem to have a special affection & affinity for those lands, perhaps especially those that aren't quite the places of typical Westerns.

Oregon and Washington are both divided into East and West, with the dividing line being the Cascades, and sometimes taken specifically as the Cascade Crest. By that narrow line, I was born in Eastern Oregon, but Hood River is in the Columbia Gorge, a gap (monumental, shaped to extravagance by the Missoula Floods) in the Cascades, and within the transition zone between Wet Side and Dry Side. The Hood River Valley is a place of orchards - apples and pears - similar in many ways to the East approaches of Stevens Pass - Leavenworth & East: Peshastin, Dryden, toward Wenatchee and the Columbia River (again).

Montana lives richly in my personal mythology: my middle name coming from Brady, Montana, and my parents having moved to Hood River from Western Montana, where my sister was born. Though our older brother, and our father, and his mother, were all born in Seattle, and our mother in Portland, though she also grew up in Seattle.

I often sang "I ride an old paint" to my girls as they attempted to grow up under my adverse influence, and the hero of that song is "off to Montana" in a cowboy way. Yootoob has many versions ranging from Roy Rogers to I-don't-know, but I just listened to Linda Ronstadt (whom I have loved since she was a Stone Poney) and that will do for the words and tune, though it isn't quite the feel I aspired to, perhaps Rex Allen? Especially since I have been indulging in Singing Cowboys this last week or two.

My ramblings here today have no particular purpose or destination, except that I keep feeling my need to go East and get a little West, a little dryside. My sister & I are exploring the possibility of a daytrip. Soon maybe. With pictures to show for it.

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