This past weekend we took a welcome break from life on the road and spent quality time with Andrew’s family in Washington State. I actually think the break would have been more welcome say 45 days in rather than just a week, but when you’re driving around North America you can’t really be choosy.
Puyallup is a suburban town about 45 minutes south of Seattle. It is one of those names that has taken me over a year to pronounce properly, and I still don’t really understand how a “y” comes out sounding like a “w” but there you have it. Pew-all-up, or “puke it all up” as I was taught by the locals. One of the great things about small town America in the fall is county fairs, as we discovered on our first night in Bishop. Puyallup actually boasts the largest county fair west of the Mississippi, so I figured we couldn’t miss this.
The fair was indeed large: in size, in content, in fried fatty foods. We walked for miles, ate disgustingly delicious junk food (my indulgences included a turkey leg AND a cotton candy cone each the size of my head), and checked out some games, rides, and sales booths. They sell everything at this fair, including hot tubs, salsa makers, and sheepskin boots (read: UGG knockoffs). I’m a sucker for a shoe, so I wound up purchasing a pair of said knockoffs in the largest child size, thus ensuring I would get an even better deal. As I sit here in the Canadian Rockies typing this up I can honestly say these boots are the best $50 I have spent in recent memory.
One of the reasons we spent so much time in Puyallup was so we could be with Nancy, Andrew’s mom who is recovering from hip replacement surgery and radiation for cancer. Nancy is one of those perpetually optimistic people, who are like aliens to me. She is always in a good mood, always up for visitors, and always counting her blessings. She will literally sit there and tell you how much worse it could be, even as she can’t find a comfortable position to lie in. I would like to take this opportunity to give Nancy some well-deserved kudos. Nancy: you are amazing! It’s your attitude, your personality, your selflessness, and your loving heart that I admire and that I find so inspiring. I am so thankful to have you in my life.
The highlight of my weekend with the Ides was breakfast Saturday morning. I cooked crepes, or as we call them in my egocentric family: Dutch Pancakes. Dutch Pancakes are a family tradition that my grandfather started before I was born. After he passed away my father made them during visits, and now my sister and I carry the torch as well. I was so happy to be able to share one of my old family traditions with my new family. They even pretended to like them! We also partook in Ide family traditions, like playing cutthroat poker for hours at a time and collecting berries and plums from the yard. Grace, our 22-month-old niece, definitely preferred berry picking to poker, but she has plenty of time to learn to appreciate the finer things in life.
On our last day in Puyallup we said goodbye and drove up to a quaint border town called Lynden, where Andrew’s old friend Jeremy lives with his little family. This town is not only quaint; it’s entirely Dutch! They even have a shopping center called Delft Square. Unfortunately Delft Square was gutted by a fire that was started by some teenagers who were smoking weed in an attic. How very Dutch indeed! We had a delicious dinner with Jeremy and his lovely wife Linda, and took a stroll through town with Zephyr and their adorable baby Abigail. Afterwards we said goodbye, and crossed our way, (without incident, since Andrew made me drive and do the talking), into the wilds of Canada.