Seaside Sunday Service

Published: May 23rd 2017
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The plan was to take Shirley to attend a Sunday Mass at the small Catholic Church on Rockaway Beach where she’d been a regular parishioner when she’d lived on the coast and also where they had the funeral for Sharon’s Dad; and, then to proceed back into Tillamook and have breakfast at the Pancake House. We’d all eaten there before and enjoyed its homey small town atmosphere. There was the option of going to the first mass at 8:30 and follow that with breakfast; or, to eat first and then attend the second service. We got up early enough to go with the first option.

It was a bit of a drive to get out to the church, and already people were arriving at the church; still, we were able to get a primo parking space at the front of the church. Everyone was very cheerful and we were greeted with the question, “Did you bring this wonderful sunshine?” Sharon affirmed that we’d brought it with us from Vegas. With fifteen minutes remaining before the service was scheduled to commence, Father Larry who served this parish in his retirement couldn’t hide the joy he found in life behind his neatly groomed silver-grey beard proceeded through the church to personally welcome each of the twenty or so people who were already seated. Three times that number would eventually be seated for the first service. His sermon was on Jesus’ message of loving one’s neighbor, a message that he said from his Middle East studies is quite difficult for people of this region to hear. In this area, there tends to be a natural distrust of anyone outside of your own family, and certainly anyone outside your village. The impact therefore of the parable of the Samaritan was not easy for those who heard Jesus speak to hear. In his homily Father Larry brought contemporary relevance to these words, of the tendency not to believe the words of strangers, and to proclaim those outside your social or political affiliations as evil. He noted, “Today, you could easily substitute the word for Samaritan with that having significance in today’s current events, such as Immigrant… or Muslim, president, convicts,…” Did Father Larry just put Trump in the same group as convicted felons? Later in his remarks, when he expanded and clarified groups often ostracized in our society I realized that he had said “convicts” at all as this time he clearly enunciated “Congress”. His message was quite clear and warned those who bear false witness that this type of behavior is contrary to what is good for us, and what is good for our society.

We were all hungry when we got back to Tillamook and were looking forward to breakfast. We headed to the restaurant by memory, not exactly remembering the name, and thought that the 50’s Diner might be what we were looking for; but, after we popped inside we didn’t recognize the interior décor. And they only serve lunch. The waitress, who obviously was getting ready to open in an hour or two didn’t know of any breakfast places nearby. A quick check with Google Maps confirmed that what we were looking for was indeed, The Pancake House, and was only 500 feet away, and there was the ominous postscript “permanently closed”.

Our plan for the day was to drive over to Lincoln City, and to have lunch at Mo’s. Plan B involved getting breakfast along the way, and Sharon suggested we stop by the Carousel House to pick up her phone charging battery pack as her phone was under 10%. We decided to try the restaurant that was full yesterday. They were too full to seat three inside; but, at least today the weather was accommodating and there was already overflow into their patio outside. When a table for two cleared, the waitress did some creative rearranging to put two empty tables for two together for us (which involved moving two single diners seated at the same table in the middle of the room. Altogether, in the café, there were only four tables for two, and two round tables (one could seat 4 and the other up to 6). The food was quite good, but the service was slow, combined by a steady stream of customers coming in to get food to go; but, mostly to get a combination of lattes and expressos to go. It was 11:30 before we finally were finished, and I discovered that they only take cash. Good thing that I had some with me!

We stopped briefly at the Carousel House, and figured that we would kill some time in Lincoln City and have a late lunch at Mo’s, renowned for its seafood. We’d taken Shirley there the last time that we were in Oregon, and Sharon can get something (even if it turns out to be fish and chips). I filled up the car with gas, and we planned to spend some time at the Chinook Wind Casino. I was a bit skeptical as to why we, who live in Las Vegas, should be going to an Indian Reservation Casino where the slots will be much tighter than the ones where we live; but, Sharon insisted, “It’s for Mom… on Mother’s Day. After all, we took your mom to the casino on Mother’s Day and she won!” To be sure, she did win five dollars! Sharon and Shirley found a Willy Wonka machine, and I told them that I was going to go watch some blackjack. I don’t think I’d even been watching the blackjack for five minutes when Sharon was right by me with Shirley. Evidently Shirley’s $20 was gone before she could blink, and certainly before she’d gotten any Magic Golden Tickets. We all decided that we were way too full to even think about eating anytime soon, and we’d all be perfectly happy with sandwiches back at the Carousel House for lunch/dinner. So back we went.

The Jeep Renegade is a pretty nice car to drive, and the return trip seemed to pass much quicker than the trip out to Lincoln City. We went upstairs and relaxed with our oceanic panorama and a clear view of the Pacific City Rock (properly called Haystack Rock of Pacific City), a chubby monolith-like protrusion from the sea with a 45-degree slant on its top to the south. Yeah, it sort of does look like a haystack. It is perhaps one-quarter mile off-shore and rises over 300 feet out of the water. It is the fourth tallest monolith on earth that cannot be reached by land. It was already 3:00 PM and Shirley was content to find words in her puzzle book. Sharon kept asking if she wanted to continue our Mexican Trains; but, she seemed to prefer finding her words. We’d finally figured out how to get the TV turned on upstairs as well; but, the search for channels was no better closer to the satellite. How can people live in a place that doesn’t even have Fox on the TV? But I forgot, Oregon is not one of those “fly-over states” with their “basket of deplorables”. Sharon asked me to make Shirley’s dinner, a ham sandwich with the crust removed from the white bread, and with the outside rind of the ham removed. Now, I can understand removing the tougher rind from something like a Honey Baked Ham; but, the darker seasoned edge of ham from a deli-pack… that is a bit extreme. We did play a couple more rounds of Mexican after dinner; but, Shirley grew weary of the game and just wanted to sit and watch the sea and listen to the nonsensical babble on the TV. By 8 PM she was ready to retire for the evening.

She went down just before the sunset, which was finally worth seeing out over the Pacific, with hues of red and orange and pink and magenta. It is hard to put a finger on what is making all of us so tired; but, it seems like we’ve been stuck here on the beach for over a week already.


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