Green River

On Friday, I took the dog to the vet to have her stitches out. Long story, that. The short version is that she ran over a shard of broken glass the week before and had to be sewn back together. To the tune of $350. Ouch. On so many levels, ouch. So by Friday morning, we both had a healthy dose of cabin fever. With the vet’s okay, we drove directly down to Brannan Park on the Green River for our first walk in about ten days.
This particular trail is ideal for a warm-up after a prolonged stay indoors. The trail follows the river through the park and beyond it for another half mile or so. And, because the trail simply dead-ends at that point, it’s a bit of a trail-to-nowhere, so not heavily used. I can let the dog off the leash without having to worry too much about encountering other people/animals. It’s short, it’s quiet, it’s scenic. What more could you want on a misty Friday morning?
Walking past the park, the first thing I noticed was a helicopter. It was hovering directly over the river, not moving at all. That was odd enough, but then I noticed another one further downriver, also standing sentry over the water. And then another beyond that. As we kept walking, we eventually noticed a full complement of sheriffs’ vehicles parked along the road across the river, lights flashing red. And then the rescue boats in the water, probing the bottom of the rain-engorged river with long poles.
As we turned about at the far end of the trail, there were so many people standing about on the trail that I gave up the idea of letting the dog walk off-leash. There was even a KING 5 camera crew interviewing neighbors who’d come out of their houses for a closer look. I asked one of them what was going on. A car, she told me, had lost control and ended up in the river. The driver got out, but there were still two boys in the car. How long had they been underwater. Oh, at least a couple of hours.
We came home and I turned on the news. If you’re local, you probably already know what happened, but for those of you at large, a 16-year-old girl was driving her 2-year-old cousin to day care for her aunt (who was recovering from knee surgery). Another 13-year-old cousin was along for the ride (why?). The day care wouldn’t take the baby because he was sick, so the kids were heading home when the driver lost control on the wet and windy road and found herself in the river. She was able to get free of the car, but she was swept away when she tried to get back to the boys. And then the car disappeared below the surface. Distraught, she flagged down a passing car and was taken to the hospital. Law enforcement eventually found the car about 100 yards downriver from where it entered the water. The river was so high and strong that they had no visibility and couldn’t even attach chains to the car to pull it out. The current was so strong the divers couldn’t even keep their regulators in place.
The family has been holding a vigil at the riverbank ever since. They vow not to leave until their boys are pulled out of the river. Today divers finally managed to get chains on the car (probably at great personal risk–but with several inches of rain due tomorrow, the pressure was on). The baby was still in his car seat, but no sign of the 13-year-old’s body. The family’s vigil continues.
About 100 yards from the accident site (the same place they originally located the car in the river), on the same road, sits the Mary Olson Farm. The farm remained in the same family for nearly 75 years (from its establishment in 1895). In its remote and sheltered valley, it has remained largely untouched by time. The farm house still has never had plumbing nor electricity. The city acquired this unique property several years ago and has been in the process of turning it into a historical/heritage site, an interpretative center illustrating the sort of family farm that was the backbone of our area’s settlement.
Since this school year began, I’ve been a volunteer facilitator of the school district field trips to the Mary Olson Farm. We began the year with first grade field trips, talking about our food and where it comes from. We’ve had the past week off and will now transition to sixth grade field trips which feature stream ecology and the life cycle of salmon (there are two salmon runs in Olson Creek each fall). The first of the sixth grade classes will be on site tomorrow. This means at some point the friends and classmates of the boy still missing in the river will ride a school bus directly through the vigil by the river–the tents and the grief and the media and all–to get to the farm. How do they possibly focus on ecology and fish after something like that?
I’ve been preoccupied with this situation all weekend. Mostly I think about the girl who was driving the car. I too got my driver’s license when I was 16. It seems like most people who got their licenses at that age have some tale of stupidity and bad judgment to tell about their first year of driving. In my case, I totaled a car and put the life of a good friend in danger. Still, I was lucky. This girl is going to have to live her entire life with the knowledge that two children lost their lives to her inexperience.
What an incredible, tragic waste.

Oh Well

Clearly, I’ve screwed up NaBloPoMo. Well. So much for that. But I have a good excuse. I have a sort of job. Get this. One of my old Paralegal instructors hired me to work from home for her as an independent contractor sort of paralegal–anywhere from 7 – 20 hours a week. Last week was my first week. I worked 16 hours, most of it sitting right here in my newly mucked out sewing room in the dark hours of night with my weird old-lady music cranked. Painless. Maybe even a bit of fun. And what’s especially flattering is that she sees all the paralegal students come and go and could have the “pick of the litter” (so to speak). That turned out to be me. Yeah, bitchen dude. I rock like that.

I figure I can contact the old attorney I used to work for to see if he can use me from home too on an as-needed basis. He’s a bankruptcy attorney, so I figure he’s probably drowning in business at this point. Now all I need to do is figure out how to deal with the self-employment taxes and I’ll be in business. Literally.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve brought home a paycheck.


Here is a group shot of the kids who ate dinner here and launched from our house for trick-0r-treating. Do they look a little old? Yeah, well, growing up is hard, especially when it involves giving up a sack load of free candy. At least they all dressed up. Nothing worse than a group of surly teens on the porch who can’t even be bothered to dress up.

I made them all eat vegetables before they left. Yeah. So there.


Okay, settle down. It’s not like I’m making a commitment here. Obviously I’ve been a bit–how you say?–flaky?–when it comes to posting here on Ye Olde Blog.

Okay, that statement there? That’s so obvious that it qualifies not just as a “Duh” statement, but a bona fide Golden Duh. Yeah. Insightful!

So, anyway. NaBloPoMo. I’m keeping my options open. So here’s a post. Bet you’re glad you stopped by today, hoo boy. Guess you should have had a V8.