It’s Friday! And for the first time in a long time I have nothing to do tomorrow. No work. No plans. Nothing.
With that said, I plan on recreating - in one way or another - the above photo.
This particular image was taken in Portland, Oregon, in June of 2011. Bill and I had just finished covering the USATF Championships in Eugene, it was the day after my 25th birthday, and we were visiting our friend, Patrick Pendergast, for a down day on the road. We had known Patrick for a couple years through work and shared interest in music, and he graciously opened his home and a couple beds to us for a visit.
Track and field in Oregon has always been one of my favorite sporting events. With that said, it’s also a few of the longest days on the road. On non-Olympic years (which 2011 was), the USATF crams a ten day event into four very long days. By the end of those four day stints I was always exhausted and more than a little ready to get home and rest.
Before the track championships I was excited to visit Portland. It had just hit my radar screen as a “cool” place to be. Voodoo Doughnuts had opened the year before, craft breweries were springing up all over the place, artisan coffee shops were on every corner and farm to table restaurants were all the rage.
But the best laid plans always seem less fun when you arrive - as I did to Portland - with a single and immediate desire to just go home. I badly wanted the comfort of my own bed and the warmth of my north Florida beaches.
Usually when I decide I'm done and want to go home, I find a way home. I have more than once driven through the night - through rain and snow - to get home a few hours earlier than planned. But Florida is a long way from Portland, and I knew that Patrick's offer of a house and hospitality was a really nice one. I didn't want to be in a bad mood, but I've never been good at disguising emotions.
I was in a less-than-fun mood when we arrived in Portland from Eugene. I was tired and irrationally mad at Bill and myself for not being better at predicting my future moods.
When we got to Patrick’s house, my mood began to lift. His house was warm and inviting; its walls full of interesting art and fun memories. I always enjoy when a place fits a person, and Patrick's house absolutely fit him.
Then, Patrick took us to lunch. Anyone who knows me well knows that there is one unfailing truth in dealing with me: if I’m unhappy, just feed me. Food makes everything better.
That was especially true that day. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but I remember there was food and it was exactly what I wanted/needed.
After lunch I was able to get out of my own way - and out of my own head - and truly enjoy the city and the people I was with. We walked the streets of Portland, ate doughnuts, drank coffee, looked at art and finished the visit with a couple of my favorite things - pizza and beer.
The simple things in life - good food, local beer and great company - saved the day.
In fact, I think I may enjoy those same simple things tonight.