Archive for February 2012

Patty’s Family

February 5, 2012

Patty’s Family

A good illustration of Patty’s family is a story about a trip that they made to Bend when Patty and David were small, maybe six and seven years old.  It’s a pretty good story.  First you have to know that Joe had a very bad temper.  I kind of think that was partly because of Opie.  She’d do irresponsible things like drive to Klamath Falls to buy potatoes on sale, a trip of about 150 miles.  She had a sister in Klamath Falls so the potatoes were just an excuse but still…  Anyway, this is about a trip that they made as a family to Bend, a small city of less than 5,000 at the time.  People who worked at Weyerhaeuser in Springfield spent a lot of their time in Central Oregon on the weekends, I don’t know why, they just did.  Opie and Joe and Patty and David all got in the car on a weekend, Sunday I guess it was, and drove to Bend.  When they got there Opie decided they had to go see a waterfall.  The waterfall was quite a drive and on a bad road and they hit a rock and put a hole in the oil-pan.  Of course Joe was mad about it,“…why the hell did we have to go see the stupid waterfall anyway?”  So, now they have to find a mechanic to fix the oil-pan on a Sunday in Bend and they don’t want to have to deal with a couple of kids while they’re doing it so they drop Patty and David off at the park that runs along the Deschutes River for the day.  As David is getting out of the car, he slams the door on Opie’s thumb and now they have to find a doctor before they can find a mechanic and now steam is coming out of Joe’s ears!

So, Patty and David are at the park all day with nothing to eat and no money and all they can do is walk around and look at the food vendors and ducks and people playing in or near the water.  I guess Opie and Joe must have found the doctor and a mechanic because that isn’t a major part of the story that Patty remembers but the point of the story is that this kind of stuff seems to always happen to their family.  Like once they took Patty’s friend, LaDonna, with them on a camping trip to Central Oregon, this must have been ten years later because Patty and LaDonna were in high school then.  Anyway, LaDonna needed to go pee and so she found a tree that she could sit on and do her business but when she bared that pristine white tush to the elements every mosquito in Central Oregon rushed in for the feast.  Well, LaDonna was in misery and severe distress with the mosquito bites and Joe, with steam coming out his ears, had to take her into town to find a doctor.  That’s what I mean about their family.  Stuff ALWAYS seemed to happen.

Patty’s memories of Joe were of his terrible temper and her memories of Opie are of her selflessness and nurturing.  I think a lot of what made Joe so mad was Opie always doing something selfless and nurturing that caused him extra money or work.  That wouldn’t be a good discussion to have with Patty because she’d think I was just being male and an apologist for Joe.  I spent a few months loading boxcars, a job that Joe did for a good part of his life, and I can sympathize with Joe for how hard he worked for so little money and his getting upset with Opie when she did something that he considered irresponsible.  At that time I think I was making about $2.50/hr and Joe was probably making more than me but not that much more.  Anyway, he may have had some justification for being short-tempered.   He would have been a better person if he hadn’t been short-tempered but he was what he was. I guess I can relate because I’ve had a short fuse too, although I don’t think took it out on my family.  Also, I had my own problems with Opie.  I realize that she was a wonderful mother and was generous to a fault but I always felt she was trying to get me to do something that she felt I should do and I just needed her direction to do the right thing.  I think that both Joe and I would have benefitted if this country wasn’t so ridiculously paranoid about marijuana.  We’d have been better people and Opie would have been happier too.

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