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Mpls, MN, United States

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Abraham

So, last weekend!

David came out to Walla Walla Thursday night to join us for the Community College's production of Grease out at the Fort Walla Walla Amphitheater. It wasn't mind-blowing, but it was definitely fun, and I'm completely a sucker for outdoor theater in the summer.*

Friday morning I rode back to Hermiston with him, and that evening when he got off work I had one of the best burritos I've ever had, courtesy of the taco wagon by the bowling alley, and then we went out with his cousin.

Saturday morning, we did the Hermiston FunFest 10k run, which was mostly fun, but would have been improved by an earlier start (it was already getting hot at 8 a.m.) and actual water stops along the course (though goodness knows I was grateful for that box of bottles at mile 2!). It was the first race I'd run since Phoenix, and my first ever 10k.

Paul and Ter drove to Hermiston that afternoon to join us for a big family dinner. Given our rather full schedules this summer, it was the only time we could schedule it, even though David and I had to leave rather earlier than I would have liked so that we could make it to Salem by 7:00 to hear Abraham.

Yes, we drove from Hermiston to Salem--241 miles, each way!--because I love my Brother Rockstar. And as it happens, not surprisingly, it was completely worth it.

First of all, we got to drive through the Gorge, and even though it was our third trip this summer, it was no less beautiful. It was when we arrived, however, that we knew the entire drive had been worth it. The venue was KathKen Vineyards, a 50-acre vineyard nestled in the nicest little hollow just northwest of Salem. We were greeted at the gate by Kathy and Ken themselves, who were friendly and raved about how much they liked Joel and his music. As nice as that was, I wasn't completely smitten until we parked and I stepped out of the car. It was in that moment that I knew that the four hours in the car--and the four we'd have to drive back--were a small price to pay for the experience.

Ahead of us stretched a broad hillside with vines absorbing the last of the sun's rays. Behind were tall firs, covering a slightly steeper slope and surrounding the stage just visible through gaps in the trees. The air was blissfully crisp after the sweating we'd done that morning, and carried on it the tinge of one of my favorite smells in the entire world, sun-warmed conifer, along with campfire smoke. It was the smoke that had saturated us by the end of the evening, but the fire's welcome warmth in the clearing, as well as the friendliness of its tenders (even as ash floated into our drinks), made it a small price to pay.

The crowd was small, and the setting casual enough that David and I got to chat with Joel and the other band boys before they took the stage, and then again, at plastic tables pulled just to the edge of the vines, during their friends' set. The acoustics were surprisingly good for such an apparently absorbent terrain, and although the cool humidity ravaged the guitar strings, the performance was energetic and fun, a thoroughly enjoyable combination of new material and familiar songs.

After Abraham played, and while they were preparing the stage for the next act, David and I climbed the hill and were surprised to discover that from the height of the top of the slope, we could see to the horizon where hills washed out and glowing in the setting sun overlapped in semitransparent layers.

Overall, it was spectacular, one of the most fun shows I'd been to in a long time. A really delicious Riesling from KathKen's collection was the icing on the cake.

When the bands were packing their stuff up for the night, David and I said our goodbyes and drove to Portland, where we met up with more friends before crashing for the night at Beanna's. In the morning, we met up with them again for brunch, did a quick swing through a neighborhood farmers' market, and then headed downtown, where I scored a jacket I'm very excited about at REI and a few dissertation-type books at Powell's (narrowly avoiding a cultural studies/comparative lit-induced meltdown--eeps).

It's true that the weekend did involve quite a lot of driving, but thankfully David and I do tend to get along and (mostly) enjoy it. We're going back next weekend to hear Andrew Bird and the Decemberists--and then we're going back again the weekend thereafter, because after hearing me moan and debate about the upcoming Lacamas Lake Half Marathon, David went ahead and registered me for that race and himself for the 4-mile! I'm really excited about it, and think that if you're in the area you should definitely come (and run); seriously, doesn't this look fun? I'm working on Beanna, although, as she's been kind enough to let us crash with her while we've been in town, I'm not pushing my case too hard.

More pictures and a few videos (with apologies for the poor quality; they sound ever so much better live!) are here; as always, click to view larger images or to leave comments.


*Speaking of which, did you local people notice that they're doing The Taming of the Shrew there next month? I definitely want to go; who's with me?

2 comments:

mandy said...

*sigh*

:)

K L said...

Your life is a marathon, Ceri.