Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oregon - February 14, 1859

James and I took a driving tour of the northwest in the summer of 1993. We stayed a few days in the hippie-dip town of Eugene, Oregon. We were actually staying with James ex-girlfriend and her husband. I played Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers" on the cassette player of our car on the way there.

Susan Butruille and her mother Ruth Hendricks Greffenius celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Oregon trail in 1993 by following the trail and stopping at the historic markers along the way. Butruille also read diaries of women and girls who make the trek in the 1840s and 1850s. The journey in those days could take as long as six months, during which time women gave birth, tended children, cooked meals, did laundry, had their periods all the while maintaining a sense of the "cult of domesticity" prevalent in the day. This cult had most of them wearing long skirts instead of pants, and ironing tablecloths along the way! I was quite interested to learn that the long skirts actually served a practical purpose on the trail. Women took turns providing each other with privacy using the big skirts as shields. This book is not specifically about Oregon, but rather the Oregon trail, which comprises several states. But Oregon was the promised land. Of course many of them died along the way, or lost children. Some of the children died, other simply wandered away from the wagon and were never found. This work was more "read-able" than I would have suspected. It was not too dense, yet it was scholarly. It did leave me wanting to take the same trip Butrille did. We did visit the Oregon Trail Visitor Center operated by the National Park Service in 1993, the same year Butrille made her trip.

Wendy and Lucy is an independent film filmed on location in Portland, Oregon.Wendy Carroll is having a bad day. On her way to find work in Alaska, her car breaks down in Portland, Oregon; she is arrested for shoplifting; and her dog, Lucy, disappears. With the help of a kindly Walgreen's security guard she is eventually reunited with her dog, but there is no happy ending here. This movie was depressing as all get out. That's why we watch indie films though. If we want the same old "boy meets girl" dreck there are always plenty of other choices.

For a more optimistic view of visiting Portland without money I suggest this post from one of my favorite blogs "My Year Without Spending"

And here's a bit of Portland trivia from my Oregonian friend Korin:

Portland was named by the toss of a coin. If the coin had fallen the other way, Portland would have been called...Boston!

So, hazelnuts are the thing in Oregon. For dinner I prepared hazelnut-crusted salmon with a side dish of sugar snap peas with mint and a blueberry walnut salad. All of these recipes were easy to make and quite tasty. We topped off our meal with some hazelnut decaf coffee.

More Oregon Trivia - Oregon is the only state with two different pictures on opposite sides of its flag.

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