On the shortest day of the year I am driving my family on 101 S to a little town just below the Columbia River in Oregon. The rain is torrential. Sheets of it flow across the highway, a roadway already treacherously curved, steep, and riddled with log trucks and a small, gravelly shoulder.
The rain on my windshield is amazing. It isn’t like rain at all: even with the windshield wipers turned on as high as they can go, it still appears as if someone has turned a hose on full blast on my field of vision. I am in the driver’s seat, biting my lip and completely tense; my children and husband, seemingly oblivious to our plight, sing and munch on snacks. Nels shoves entire prunes in his beak and points at the bag of dried fruit, “Mugh!” (“more!”). This trip has been all about the discovery that a good vacation is a snacking vacation.
We stop at Seaside at a Safeway. In Cannon Beach, where we are headed, our grocery options are expensive and rather scarce. I pick up ingredients for tortellini and meatballs, and staples such as milk, hot cereal, and the inevitable bananas. The rain is still pelting us but the kids are in a great mood.
Into Cannon Beach and one street south of the downtown strip we take a right. The cottage has a new porch and a new roof. The combination for the key box is the same. I remember last year as we stood on this porch, negotiating our key. Someone was on a loudspeaker testing it out. Of all things, they were mooing. I was crazed from hunger (still nursing two babes) and thought I was hallucinating it. Still maybe do think that.