It’s hard to believe that five years have passed so quickly since Lori and I experienced what may have been the most exciting and exhausting week of our lives.
In the space of just seven days, we traveled to southern Oregon for the wedding of our youngest son, returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving with our good friends Sue and Eric Wilcox, and moved out of our home of 23 years and into the townhouse where we live now.
It felt like our emotions were batted around like a piñata. But I wouldn’t trade that roller coaster of a week for anything.
On Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, our son Jordan married his sweetheart, Jamie Lynn, in a country-themed ceremony that took place between two oak trees on the Lake Creek Historical Society grounds, about 20 miles northeast of Medford. Jordan had enlisted in the Army a year earlier. He flew back to Oregon from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, and right after their honeymoon in historic Jacksonville, the newlyweds hit the road to return to the base.
Lori and I drove home to Portland on Monday, the 23rd. The next day we found ourselves in a title insurance office signing documents to close the sale of the home where we’d raised our three kids in the Grant Park neighborhood. This was 2009, a year into the Great Recession, so we felt fortunate to find a buyer at a decent price. We had planned to downsize, but we never expected the home to sell after just two days on the market. And we never imagined the sale would close two days after the wedding.
Two days later, the holiday arrived. With nearly all our belongings already packed up, Sue and Eric invited us to join their families for a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Somehow, they managed to fit 27 people around the dinner table (er, tables).
On Friday, we sold a few furniture items and on Saturday we went ahead with the move. I remember being dead tired and emotionally overwhelmed at the sight of a completely full townhouse, with almost nowhere to move. I also remember Eric and Sue coming to the rescue when the buyers showed up promptly at 5 pm, wanting to move into the house we hadn’t quite yet vacated. Our friends came over with their pickup and helped us toss a mountain of clothing into the bed of the truck.
Their holiday hospitality was greatly appreciated, as was their offer of help on moving day. Fittingly, this weekend we had reason to recall their generosity — and thank them again — when the Wilcoxes came over for dinner and a board game Saturday night.
I think all four of us were just a little dazed to realize we’ve been here in our new home for five years. We’ve certainly settled into it, as well as the neighborhood in general. We love where we live — both the physical space and its location in an urban neighborhood two miles from the city center.
Perhaps best of all, our two oldest children, Nathan and Simone (and his girlfriend Sara and her wife Kyndall), live just a few miles away from us in Portland, while Jordan and Jamie reside 140 miles north in Spanaway, just outside of Tacoma, Washington.
Jordan completed his four-year enlistment in 2013 and has only a few months remaining on his commitment to the Washington Army National Guard. He’s going to school full-time at St. Martin’s University outside Olympia and Jamie is working as a licensed veterinary technician.
And a final note: Jordan and Jamie celebrated their fifth anniversary with a weekend stay in Leavenworth, a town of about 2,000 residents in north-central Washington that’s known for its Bavarian charm. Sweet.