My sister and mom came to visit this past weekend and it was of course nice to have all the girls together! I took them to all the hot spots in the area, including up the Tramway to the top of Mount Howard on a very frigid and rainy day and on a boat ride around Wallowa Lake. My sister refused to stay in a tipi here, but she did step inside and agreed that they are quite nice, just not for her.
Now, I know both of them enjoyed their visit thoroughly, but I felt bad for my mom for a few reasons:
1) For those who know my mom, you know she doesn’t do well with sitting quietly (except when in prayer). She is on the go, go, go. And for the past 8 months, she’s been a shared caregiver to her mother. I thought this would be a nice break for her. It was, but she struggles when there isn’t something for her to do. I tried to line up a few projects for her to keep her busy when we were working. But it was nothing in comparison to her visit to BD, our last place of hospitality employment. There, she washed 30+ blankets, folded 250 maps, and numbered and folded 200 parking envelopes to keep her busy when I was working.
2) No TV or radio here. The TV is hardly ever off in my parents’ house. If not the TV, the radio. We gave my mom our wind-up emergency radio to borrow and suffice for the lack of white noise.
3) We live in a small town and very few places take American Express. She must have asked at every single establishment we visited and every time, the answer was no. As a small business manager, I get it. The fees are outrageous. But my mom was disturbed and confused by this “inconvenience.” The things you take for granted when you live in a big city.
4) We live 45 minutes from the closest town, which means 45 minutes to the closest church. I couldn’t take her to church and although she wanted to call a taxi, I reminded her that we live in a small town with no franchise businesses, let alone a taxi service. Not only did she miss Sunday mass, but it was a Holy Day as well!
5) She was also saddened by the brutal history of the area and the Nez Pierce tribe and couldn’t get over it. My mom has a big heart.
My sister, on the other hand, embraced the quiet. She also got the biggest kick out of our road signs, like “Rocks,” “Congestion,” “Livestock,” and “Loose Gravel” and by the end of the trip, she was able to correctly pronounce “Wallowa.”