Home: Continuing the Walk

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When Pearl decides to  wake up, we usually walk down Second Street for our morning walk. When we continue down past Grassroots, the independent bookstore (at which you can purchase blank journals graced with an original acrylic print of a Pearl painting I created for the cover), we see Blackledge Furniture, a 3 story furniture shop and local landmark. When I first adopted Pearl, we’d walk by and window shop; she made me laugh every time by leaping and bouncing for joy at all the ‘bedrooms’ on display. Pearl was fond of jumping on beds for a time.

Across from Blackledge is a motor bank drive through. On Saturdays I take advantage of the free parking–a secret Colin the jeweler let me in on after we’d known each other for a few months. Down the street from Blackledge is the quaint U.S. Postoffice. This is where I go to mail my letters and bills. Since I live and work within two blocks, I am lucky enough to be on the same mail carrier’s route for both jobs and my home. Joe. He remembers our names and expresses concerns about neighbors. It’s easy to see the sparkle in Joe’s eyes and he still has time for stories and jokes. When I first moved in to my Second Street apartment, I was shown where mail would be delivered, but when it came around to mailing my first bill, I wasn’t sure where to post it, so I asked Joe. “Well,” he said, some people use a clip to attach it to the mailboxes, but you could also walk it down to the post office.” I didn’t see the humor in this at the time, but I do now. I enjoy walking two blocks and seeing the historic Post Office in person.

Lately there have been large groups of folks sitting outside with various signs requesting money; some with dogs, some with skateboards. These people have various degrees of friendliness. Pearl has learned not to bark at dogs as she walks her in-town walks, but sometimes these people and their dogs challenge her (and me) and it makes it very hard to get past them on the sidewalk. This changes my feelings of going to the Post Office every time. Most times, I leave feeling anxious and frustrated at a world in which so many people don’t have what they need. I also leave feeling like saying to one of this sign-holding people: “Hey–I wish I could help, but I don’t even have enough money to pay my rent right now. And I’m working two jobs.” But then I remember that I have a place to sleep, a sweet-faced dog at my side, and two jobs.

When we continue down Second Street, we pass the construction of a new hotel and what is going to be a County museum eventually. This will change the South end of Second Street, which has been somewhat forgotten for a time. Most shopping is up two blocks, where my apartment is. I’m eager to see how it affects parking and the general personality of down town.

 

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I’ll be perfectly honest: it’s been hard to know what to write lately due to the anxiety of the election cycle, and the challenge of democracy that leaves half of our country’s population unhappy/shocked/scared and the other half feeling somehow vindicated.  Because of the results, the country I find myself living in is a different one than I realized.

img_9269I’ve decided that my new job is to focus on interacting (and writing) at a local level; I choose to write about my neighborhood and the people who live here–the family I’ve chosen for myself.

My apartment building sits nearly on the corner of Madison and Second Streets. I’m on the second floor. Every day our dog Pearl and I walk up and down the vintage steps that are spacious at the top (as they once were for the Knights of Pythias, friendship order) and arch around the old, non-functioning elevator at the bottom. When we walk out the front door, we see a restaurant directly across from us. They serve Pho, but it’s not on the menu.

To the left is a parking lot, eventually, but first there is a Korean Import Boutique and The Little Lunchbox, a hot dog shop that caters to the bar crowd (and everyone else that happens to be awake) by staying open until 4am on the weekends. To the right, and down the street are shops, restaurants and the post office. Across the street is my work place, a clothing boutique that specializes in all things handmade in the US, organic, comforting. There is a jewelry store next to this shop, which Pearl and I visit every day so that she can get a hearty dose of love and treats from the two gentlemen that run it. As another friend pointed out: “so much goes on at River Jewelry and none of it has to do with jewelry.” Reed (owner) spends his passion and time on preserving our Oregon trees and wild, natural areas. Colin (his son) is an intellectual–I believe he is secretly writing an important novel in his second floor apartment above the shop.

Farther down the street is an Independent bookstore that Pearl and I like to frequent. She loves it. People talk quietly there. They are currently selling blank journals I created; the cover is a print of an original painting I made featuring Pearl!