Opinion & Editorial

Travels east delightful; advanced aging a challenge

It has been over a month since I sent in my last column to The Chronicle. Shortly after, Jim and I spent 12 days touring and cruising New England and Eastern Canada visiting areas we have only read about. 

We flew from Eugene to Boston to join a tour group of 40 people from all over the country. We left Boston on a comfortable coach in a bit of overcast caused by clouds and smoke from the wildfires in Canada. It wasn’t bad, though, and we eagerly looked forward to our newest adventure. 

In New Hampshire, on our way to Canada, we boarded the Cannon Mountain Tramway and rode it to the 4,080-foot White Mountain summit in the Franconia Notch State Park. 

The next day, we tasted newly processed maple syrup over a bowl of sno-cone ice on a farm in Vermont.

Our stop that night was a very special one at the vast Basin Harbor Club and Resort in Vergennes, Vt., which overlooked Lake Champlain. There was no TV or fancy accommodations, but we were surrounded by beautiful scenery in a vintage resort that included a full-size golf course, an airstrip, walking trails, tennis courts, croquet and corn hole on the lawns and separate cabins for each of us. We were even taken to our cabins and dinner via golf cart.

The next morning, we spent several hours experiencing the wonderful Shelburne Heritage Park, where we caught a shuttle to various areas of the park to unique museums, living history displays and shops.

While Jim enjoyed the shade under huge oak trees and people-watched, I rode the carousel, visited the circus museum that featured over 50 antique Gustav Dentzel carousel animals, and saw some original Monet, Rembrandt and Degas art in a restored mansion.

Once we reached Montreal, Canada, we boarded a Holland America cruise ship and spent a week cruising up the St. Lawrence River into the Northern Atlantic Ocean. 

Because of Jim’s mobility issues, however, we spent most of our time on the ship. We decided that Quebec City, our first stop, would be a bit too strenuous for us to explore, but I did select a couple of very interesting and enjoyable shore excursions further on. The one on Prince Edward Island province took us on a bus tour around the island. The highlight was a visit to the family home and farm where Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of “Anne of Green Gables” books spent much of her childhood and her stories and books of Anne were based on her memories of that farm. 

The farm home did, indeed, have green gables and a lot of the original furnishings that Lucy described in her books.

The next day, we took a seven-hour trip to Cape Breton, on the east end of Nova Scotia, where we toured the historic Fortress of Louisbourg, built and occupied by the French in the 1700s and later by the British. It is in the process of being restored as a National Historic Site. We experienced the living history of soldiers in blue French uniforms and red British uniforms guarding the ramparts with long rifles and muskets. 

We also toured the beautiful area around Sydney, Nova Scotia, where lobsters are harvested each year. When we were there, lobster season was winding down to the end. Lobster pots dotted the ocean and bays surrounding our ship as the captain carefully wended our way through the many symbols of their precious industry.

When we disembarked from the ship the last time in Boston, we were shuttled to Logan Airport where we flew back to Eugene and a wonderful homecoming of family who had gathered at our place where they had completed some much-needed projects for us.

* * *

Now that we are home, I am trying to settle us into a way of life that will allow Jim and me to focus on each other — trying to get the most out of where this next step of our journey through disability and advanced age is taking us. 

Seeing and doing new things, such as the vacation we just returned from, have always been precious to us. 

But, despite the wonderful things we were able to see and experience on this last trip, parts of it were also difficult. We are learning that as long as we are in groups with structured itineraries and other people to socialize with, we do really well. But, left to our own devices, as we were on the ship … not so much.

Home is our comfort-zone more than ever. Familiar routines and quiet times with our menagerie of four cats and two dogs and day trips and visits with family are very important to us. Health concerns and limited energy reserves have slowed us down considerably. 

For me, unfortunately, multi-tasking and concentration are becoming more and more challenging. It is becoming especially difficult to focus on my writing … something that I’ve always loved to do. For this reason, before we left on vacation, I submitted my resignation as a weekly columnist to The Chronicle. 

I began my weekly assignments as the Lorane columnist with the Fern Ridge Review in Veneta in 2010 and in December 2012, I was asked to submit my “Sweet Lorane” column to The (then) Creswell Chronicle, as well. 

Sadly, when the publisher of what had become the “Fern Ridge-Tribune News,” Pamela Kerns Petersdorf, passed last year, that publication was closed down. 

But Noel Nash, the owner and publisher of The Chronicle, and executive editor Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller have continued to publish my columns when possible. Their support and encouragement have meant so much to me and I thank them for the many years they’ve allowed me to share my stories and news of Lorane with our readers. 

I’m hoping that I can still occasionally send something in for publication, but trying to come up with something each week has not been easy for quite some time. 

 * *  *

In the meantime, I am still going to attend Oregon Author events, local book fairs, and other events where I can not only sell some of my local and Oregon history books, but meet and visit with the many loyal readers who have told me that they have followed my columns for years. 

You can’t imagine how much those comments have meant to me. 

I have a few of those events coming up through the end of this year and I’d like to invite those of you who attend any of them to stop by my booth or table and say “hi!”

On Aug. 10, my colleague, Joe Blakely, and I have been invited by the Eugene Emeralds Semi-Pro baseball team to set up a book booth at PK Park next to Autzen Stadium during its game beginning at 6:35 p.m. The day will be spent honoring the “birthday” of Sasquatch. They have asked us to bring and sell our book, “Sasquatch!” that Joe and I edited and published for the family of its researcher and author, Ken Coon, who passed away before he was able to publish it himself. We will both also have our other books available for purchase, too.

On Aug. 26, I’ll have a place at the Oregon State Fair Author’s Table from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

On Oct. 7, I will be one of 24 local authors at the Festival of Authors being held at Whirled Pies, 8th and Charnelton streets in Eugene from 3-7p.m.

Again, I want to give my sincere thanks to Noel, Erin, and the staff of The Chronicle for allowing me to be part of their family for over 10 years, and to the readers and supporters of local writers and the printed word in our Lane County communities.

Until next time, God Bless and be happy!

Pat Edwards is an author and columnist. You can reach her at allthingslorane.com and via email at [email protected].



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