When I was a kid we used to pile into the car for swim lessons in Brookings. I remember Tarra Walker, my sister, and maybe the Crook boys in there with us. Perhaps Brett and Jennifer Hull. Anyway, there aren’t many days in the short Curry County summer where you can engage in swim lessons, because before you realize it, you’ve been overtaken by cold rainy days and it’s just not fun anymore.
“Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.”–Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse.
Thirty years later, I’m not quite certain what a sump does. Dolores Speare called my mother one day, and asked if I could dig it out. The sump pump had sunk. Really. That’s what she said. She told Mom it was filled with leaves, probably, and was beginning to stink, and she could hardly get any water into the house. It is ironic, being in a rain forest, and Frank’s and Dolores’s home being about 20 yards from Pistol River, that they couldn’t get water to their house. This was a continual battle for every family I knew, who lived out in the country. Water would go out, and we’d be fiddling around in the pouring rain, in the dark, with a flashlight and a screwdriver, cleaning out muck-filled hoses up on a crumbling mountainside.
I was thinking about it a couple months ago, and I wonder if my mom was scared of water. As kids, my sister and I would swim one or two times a summer, if we were lucky. Curry County is rather a water-borne place. Other kids swam upriver (the Rogue River was the only “upriver” that mattered), or at Lobster Creek, or on the very warmest days, in the surf of the Pacific Ocean.