I was thinking …

By Boyd Allen

Live in a beautiful place and people will visit. Usually, these visits are glorious times with people we love.

We took Joe and Margie to Stout Grove and watched their eyes rise into the redwoods. We camped on the Smith, rode the rapids on innertubes and drank beer in the moonlight.

I am a nice person. Really.

Ask any of our friends who have visited.

Some family comes unwanted though, so I have compiled an alternate list of great Brookings-Harbor activities.

For example, Tuesdays at Fred Meyer.

Locals know to avoid Freddie’s on Tuesday.

On my first and last Tuesday trip for groceries, I drove in innocently unaware.

A heavily dented truck sans windshield driven by an exploded Q-tip drifted across four lanes on a diagonal. She nearly killed me, a man on a scooter and a couple’s dachshund.

I slammed on the brakes and screamed out my open window until I saw her hair was tied up Pennywise-style. She was moving fast, glasses reflecting the sun in huge ovals and her head cocked toward the exit.

Cigarette smoke wafted heavily from her windows.

Standing behind my parked car, I noticed she was the rule and not the exception. Everyone was driving in a spider-web pattern only they could see.

I shopped on, but I was shaken.

So Aunt Midge gets to do Tuesday’s shopping when she visits.

And yes, Midge, I know the family would have been more proud if I had become a doctor.

When Anna came, we hiked the Oregon Coast Trail, kayaked down the Chetco and landed at Nook Bar where our friends had parked their campers and prepared a meal of steaks and beer. We sat next to the fire until well after dark under stars set in a picture-book sky.

But poor Uncle Fred will never know this heaven of sun-warmed river bars, pure water and redwood stretches up the Chetco.

Fred complained endlessly when I bought a boat in Florida at a time he thought we should be saving.

So for Fred, I suggest halibut fishing because Fred’s never been on anything rougher than a Pennsylvania bass pond.

After a day of chumming for the other anglers, Fred made it back hungry and tired.

And yes, Fred, we do have local seafood.

But I thought you should go to my favorite.

So I drove us all over the nauseating hills to Medford.

Red Lobster!

We used to live in Florida, so we are still seen as the beach couple.

The Ohio crew would drive down to Florida once a year, and we would fill the fridge with craft beer and stock the bar.

Margaritas!

Top shelf tequila and local beers!

Then, I’d cook a menagerie of tropical dishes and we were off to the beach or onto the boat for fishing or partying on the sandbar.

When we visited Ohio, they took us all the way to their deck. Cousin Sam made us burgers. And Pabst!

I like burgers and Pabst, at home, when we’re trying to save money. But really? The theme for the whole visit could have been ground beef.

So when the beach lovers came out from Ohio this summer with their koozies, Hawaiian shirts and boardshorts, we loaned them our snorkeling gear and flippers and off they went.

On the map, I pointed out the beautiful reef about 100 meters off of Harris Beach.

“It’s a walk-in,” I tell them. “The water is cold at first, but keep going, it warms up over the reef.”

Like I said, I’m a nice guy — I called the Coast Guard.

When they got back to our place wrapped in army blankets and nearly frozen, we were already on the deck, sippin” a Pabst and flippin’ burgers.

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com .

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