Bedtime Recitations of a two year old / by Kenneth Benson

Ive no idea what this trip is going to mean to our daughter. I'm almost sure she will remember no part of it, she's just too young. Yet everyday at some point, usually bedtime, she recounts the trip so far. Sometimes it's a game we play while driving to keep her occupied, sometimes she just talks and talks about one particular part of the trip to me, to Devon or to her doll.

Laying in bed with her in Seattle as she wound down to sleep she began to recite the trip. Tonight she seems so much more like she is telling me a story in a very accurate chronological way. She starts with Mona.

“Mona’s house, tomatoes, splash park, Mona, I sleep at Mona’s house”. "Mona lives in Ashland," I say, “Yeah, Glenn bodia” she responds.

We spent the our first night away in Ashland, with Mona, for one last farewell before we see her and Glenn on the east coast in a few months (right Mona? When exactly is that?). Vega picked tomatoes in the garden, Glenn was in Cambodia. Thanks to whoever it was that decided public parks needed water features for kids. They have been a godsend. So we spent the early evening at the Ashland splash park, until lightning came too close. Glenn and Mona are a huge part of Vega’s life, she talks about them constantly. Guys, If we could make you god parents we would, but I’m pretty sure you need to be Catholic. Anyway the relationship is better than a ceremonial gesture, she chose you. The trip continued.

“Splash park, tattoo, my tattoo, tattoo Mike, ocean, I see ocean, sand, my ocean, Zach, my Zach, tent, camping, Melinda, Shaun, camping, hot dog, tent, ocean, fish, my bucket, swimming pool, I feed fish food”

Our first long drive was Ashland to Tillamook.  There was a stop over in Eugene at, where else, a splash park, then on to our motel on the coast in Netarts OR. Our room had a view of the Pacific across an estuary and Vega wanted only one thing, to climb the railing of the deck to get the best view possible, over and over again.  The next morning we went into Tillamook for what may be the last bit of work on our tattoos for a while. Mike Toth runs a shop in Tillamook and does some amazing work.  We finally got our Vega stars. We each have been working on a pieces for almost two years now, since Vega was born, that incorporated space with the focus on the Vega star.  On our third appointment we finally got the star.

Photo: Melinda

After our appointments we headed out to Cape Lookout State Park to meet my Melinda, Shaun and my nephew Zack. Vega and Zack hit it off and we walked out of the campground to the ocean. Favorite activities included, running full speed at the ocean, getting daddy to fill buckets of water for her to pour in a hole (swimming pool) of her own digging, and putting sand on pretty much anything. We roasted hot dogs over the fire and the waited for the sun and Vega to go down.

It was the first night in our tent, we love our tent.

The next morning on the way out of town we fed the fish at a hatchery just north of the campground.  Giant rainbow trout. With the baby sleepy we made our way to Portland. Thanks to Shaun for the Columbia employee store hook-up for some needed gear.

“I fall down, boom, ouie, my ouie, swimming pool, ocean Caleb, Drew’s house, I ride bikes, bridge, river, my swimming".

Drew put us up for a few nights in Portland. Both Vega and Kohbi were excited to see Caleb (Drew’s Dog). No Caleb, he was out of town. Portland's a great city and Drew lives Sellwood. We explored on foot and on bike.  We rode bikes into downtown via the Springwater Corridor and over the Steel Bridge. We took the dog to the river and let her swim, Vega swam too, and we drank sour beer.

Up until this point the trip was familiar, to us and to Vega. All places we had visited before. Saturday the 11th we set of for Seattle and as we crossed the Columbia I felt the change from a trip we had done many times to one that was new and with an end far distant. We settled in to West Seattle at Mary’s house, spent the afternoon relaxing, looking at the neighbors chickens and bunnies, had a great dinner with some friends and then walked into the main street of West Seattle to a street fair. Vega danced on stage, walked the dog, and generally wowed the crowed with her cuteness.

As we played in the bed after a full day she began her recitation ending with “Mary’s house, I look at Chickens? Bunnies, kids, car wash, pizza, walking, I walk toby, dancing, walking, I sleep Mary’s house”, and finally "Ocean"

And that is pretty much how it goes these evenings.  The story is getting longer, sometimes some things get left out, and sometimes we just pretend she’s a shark.