Mary, Hood to Coast Relay, & Spaghetti

Before getting to the cheerful stuff, I’m compelled to report that we’ve lost another friend. Mary Newell-Dickinson depart this mortal domain on August 20th. She was only 68, and passed peacefully in her sleep. Her departure was a total surprise to everyone, especially her husband, Ross. It’s a tragedy, but we rest comfortably in the knowledge that she’s just gone ahead to help us find our way when it’s our time. So, whether or not you knew Mary, please remember her and send healing prayers to Ross.


Incidentally, Mary was a member of the OMTAAMB (One More Time Around Again Marching Band). Maybe you’ve heard of them.

Our friends Jeannie, and Susan are also in the band. I’ll talk about them on another day.

Yesterday Diane and I chipped in to help daughter Jennifer prepare food for the Hood to Coast walkers and runners. For those of you who are not familiar with the Hood to Coast, it’s a relay race from Mt. Hood to Seaside. It’s about a 200 mile trek for the runners. Walkers also relay but start from Portland. The object of this event is to make it to Seaside before all those who went before you drink all the beer.

Team members take turns and each member normally runs or walks three 5 KM segments. The runners/walkers start in the morning and continue throughout the night with the last participants arriving in Seaside Saturday morning. It’s one of the largest relay races in the world, and they always come through St. Helens. One of the main stops for food is the Columbia County Fair Grounds which just happens to be located on the outskirts of St. Helens. One of the traditions for providing food is for the St. Helens High School parents and Seniors to sponsor the main food service for the Senior’s Safe & Sober program. They make lots of money doing this, but they provide some pretty good food in return. High Carb stuff to keep participants moving.

Diane and my contribution was to make spaghetti for 200. We’ve never done that before so it was an exciting challenge. During our effort we made 8 gallons of sauce and boiled up 10 double packages of spaghetti noodles. The spaghetti noodles were cooked to perfection. I know that’s true because we know who Al Dente is. He lives just down the street.



Now, here’s where I must share what learned during this evolution … when stirring either sauce, or noodles, it’s beneficial to have tools with handles that are longer than the water or sauce is deep. Not observing this rule results in repeated, painful burns to fingers when attempting to get stuff from the bottom of the pan. I only burned myself twice before opting for a long-handled spoon to finish the job. In all we had two very large pots of sauce, and I cooked the noodles 3 packages at a time in the same pots after moving the sauce to holding tanks with heaters. The hardest part about doing the noodles was waiting for the water to boil. For some reason it took an incredibly long time. Once it got going, however, it worked just fine so I just kept using it over and over, adding water sparingly to keep from cooling it down too much.

The final vote of confidence for all that work was received from the runners who complimented Jennifer and Lydia on the great spaghetti. And, they sold every bit of it. We did good.

After turning over our spaghetti efforts to Daniel & Jeran, Diane and I made ourselves presentable so we could join some of our Winnebago friends, Cliff, Susie, Carolann, & Terry at the St. Helens Elks Lodge for dinner. These folks park at the Elks a couple of times a year which gives us more opportunities to visit with them. We treasure our time with these folks.

That’s Susie, Diane, Carolann, Terry, Me, and Cliff after the end of a pretty terrific meal served by one of the happiest waitresses I believe I’ve ever seen. As Terry said, “she should smile more.” She couldn’t do that, of course, because there wasn’t a moment when she wasn’t smiling.


The St. Helens Elks Lodge #1999 sits on a hill with a terrific view of the Columbia River. I don’t have a photo to prove it, but that’s OK. I’m sure everyone believes me. Right?

While Diane and I were playing with spaghetti, Jewel went to the Portland International Airport to meet her daughter, Jessica, and family when they arrived from Perth, Australia. That, my friends, is a very long trip.

Now it’s Saturday, 1530 hours in the afternoon. This morning I mowed the entire yard, as well as one of our neighbor’s yards, edged stuff, and hauled a trailer load of debris to the burn pile. I could do that because it was only in the 80’s. I’m allowed outside when it’s under 90. I don’t know why it matter becasue I sweat just as much either way. But, rules are rules, ya know?

That’s it for now. I have some ball games to watch.

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