Mother and I didn’t truly go somewhere over the rainbow, but I did get to take her to the Emerald City and beyond.
Our trip to Seattle, Victoria and the Yakima Valley was perfect in every way. Mother enjoyed everything and blossomed before my eyes, turning from a grieving, lost lady into an older version of the feisty woman we’ve known and loved.
Mother and I at the waterfront in Seattle. She got to see just enough drizzle that morning to get the weather stereotype, but most of our trip was glorious sunshine and warmth.
I’m going to let the pictures and captions tell most of the story, so you’ll see lots of them. But let me add that though Mother didn’t receive any ruby slippers, we both were given beautiful ruby earrings – Mother’s birthstone! – by my friend Julia’s cousin Alyce and her husband, Clay, two of the finest people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Alyce has the fabulous Design Theory Jewelry, an online store that once was a store-store in Ballard, the very neighborhood in which our friends Dave and Nora Nehls live – a store that our friend Nora and I have visited, which is now the website from which I ordered earrings before I knew Alyce was Julia’s cousin.
Small-world coincidence? Fabulous luck? Semi-charmed life? Good things come to open hearts? I hope the latter, but I will say we are lucky in friends and family.
Mother with Dave and Nora Nehls, our darling friends who put us up for two nights and devoted their time to making my mommy’s every dream come true. This is a fabulous alley off Pike’s Place Market.
In that alley, which is also the site of ghost tours, you’ll find the gum wall, an impromptu art installation that grew out of what some would see as a nuisance, used chewing gum.
Which proves almost anything, no matter how gross, can become amazing, if not beautiful.
Dave Matthews Love, chewing gum style
We headed to Canada via the Victoria Clipper, leaving the drizzle behind. We disembarked and walked to our waterfront hotel, the Coast Victoria Harbourside, as the skies were clearing and awoke to this view the next morning.
Couldn’t ask for anything better. Looks like a Maxfield Parrish, huh?
We just happened to be there for the Victoria Classic Boat Festival, so this was also part of our view.
The boats just kept sailing in.
After an early afternoon at Butchart Gardens,
A beauty in the wildly beautiful
Mother and daughter in the arch – a kind woman insisted upon taking our picture.
Grammy discovers gelato in the Garden.
we hopped off the tour bus at The Empress for high tea. We couldn’t begin to finish the spread, but we took dessert back for a late night snack in our lovely room.
High tea for two – ever so civilized for two rowdyish southern girls.
The next morning the Clipper left about 10 minutes late, for which the captain apologized and offered $2 off champagne, which meant we had to have some – and put us next to a pod of frolicking orcas! People pay big money to see what we happened upon by happy coincidence.
Back in Seattle, Dave and Nora met us at the pier and off to Seattle Central by monorail we went. Mother enjoyed seeing the Space Needle, but the coolest things were the singing solar flowers.
Dave among the singing flowers. They glow at night and make you feel as if you’re in Oz – or a Dr. Seuss book.
The next day it was off to Selah, in the Yakima Valley, where John, Kitty, Dave and Nora grew up and where Kitty lives on a glorious piece of land on a hill. We visited a few wineries. Mother got to meet Lisette, Jeff and Emma (Kitty’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter #1) and Kitty and Norm’s friends Nancy and Ron and Pam and Wayne.
Mother outside Windy Point Winery in the Yakima Valley.
Most importantly, our mothers finally got to meet and visit twice. Doris may not remember it for long – she may not remember by now – but it was lovely and they truly enjoyed it in the moment.
Doris and Willette, mothers of Pop and Lolly, at long last.
Mother and Kitty on our last day there
And I got to meet our new nephew, Farmboy Westley, the precious labradoodle baby.
Young Westley is the apple of Kitty’s and Norm’s eyes. And that’s in the heart of Washington apple country, no small love.
So-long selfie to mark a magical time.
Now we’re back. Mother’s doctor’s appointment upon return showed her blood work to be considerably worse in some areas, not so good in others. But she’s still perky, upbeat and seems to have turned a corner. We’ve discussed Italy for her 80th in two years, if her health allows.
But no matter what, our trip showed her to be out of the woods emotionally. She had it in her all along. All she had to do was visit the Emerald City and kick up her heels.