Socially Distant Mother’s Day

The Adventurer, Vernon Wade

Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.

Mt. Adams

The Contagion has made the consequences of my procrastination and disorganization so much worse. Last minute saves are just about impossible to pull off. I realized Mother’s Day was just around the corner, and I hadn’t a clue what to do for Mom.

I’ve been keeping my distance from the parent’s house because I have been working through this pestilence and I don’t want to expose the folks to whatever I may have been exposed to at the clinic. In normal years, I might load Mom in my sidecar, or swing by with the truck and take her for an outing in the woods to look at wildflowers. That didn’t seem prudent under the circumstances. But my wife came up with a brilliant suggestion: why didn’t the three brothers do a car caravan wildflower tour? Mother could ride with Andy, since they live in the same house and there would be no increase in exposure. Dave and I could follow in our cars and we could keep in touch by phone.


Mom was enthusiastic when I broached the subject, but the logistics proved complicated. My brother’s wives are also mothers, and it didn’t seem fair to leave them out. Dave thought the car caravan sounded cumbersome. And of course, we couldn’t leave Dad by his lonesome while we went out for the day. That wouldn’t be right.

We might walk funny, but the Wade’s are nothing if not adaptable. Dave and Kel decided to entertain the folks on Saturday instead of joining us. Amy drove our car and I navigated. Dad, Mom, and Susan all piled into their car with Andy behind the wheel. We were able to use our phones through the car speakers and kept a running chat going as we drove. We had walkie talkies as back up for when the cell service got sketchy. The sun shone brightly on an armada of fluffy clouds as we headed east, up The Gorge.

We got off the freeway in Mosier and continued along the river cliffs on old Highway 30 until we came to a likely looking spur that took us back onto the plateau. Andy was searching for some wetlands where the camas forms a sea of blue flowers in the spring, but things have dried up a little early this year. The lupine is out in force and the columbine is starting, but the balsam root is fading and most of the camas have already dropped their blossoms.
















We paused to take a closer look, wandering through the meadow taking pictures and tried to put names to the plants. When ran out of guesses, we got back into out cars and continued on to The Dalles before looping back over Seven Mile Hill to Mosier again. There we headed up the ridge on Huskey road, looking for a place to picnic in the woods.






We stopped at a hidden ruin of an old homestead. In the shade of the pine trees encroaching on a long forgotten back yard we set up our chairs in responsible, socially distanced intervals. We each had our own snacks and drinks to enjoy while we shared a long overdue visit. The temperature was perfect, the surroundings rustic, and the company enjoyable. It seemed almost normal.



Eventually it was time to pack up and go home. I think the mothers all had a good time, and the dads did, too. It was fun getting together with everyone, even if we did have to take separate vehicles, and sit six feet apart.


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