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The Texas Side Of Things

published: July 27th 2018
by: Jim Banner
Personally, I’m not accustomed to taking vacations or time off.  As a matter of fact, I usually say to people returning from a vacation something like, “I’ve heard of people doing that!”  But now I can’t do that because last week I actually took a vacation and traveled northwest to the beautiful states of Oregon and Idaho for a fantastic trip.
First, let me say that this wasn’t exactly a stress-free trip for the simple fact that my traveling companions happened to be my son, Matt Banner, who is 24 and my good friend E.C. Larkin who is 74.  Now, you might be asking why this was stressful.  Being with the two of them reminded me of the days when I went to summer camp.  It was always the job of the adult supervisors to make sure that the campers behaved and went to bed when they were supposed to.  I had the difficult job of strongly suggesting each night that the two them to stop drinking beer and smoking cigars until midnight and go to bed.  They always ignored me until the next morning when then they would swear they wouldn’t do that again…ha!
Our trip began in Portland, Oregon where Matt now lives and E.C. and I were able to spend a couple of days there seeing the city.  I’ve been to Portland four times before and E.C. used to live in Oregon back in his younger days, but to say that the people are a little different than most of us in Texas is an understatement.  I’m amused when I see the bumper stickers that say, “Keep Austin Weird,” but trust me folks, you are at least 10 years behind Portland for weirdness!  Matt got on to me several times for staring at some people, but I thought if they were dressed the way they were, then that’s what they wanted me to do, notice them.  I saw piercings and tattoos in places I didn’t think were appropriate for the general public and it wasn’t just young people.  I saw parents and even grandparents that didn’t dress like what I’m used to seeing.  I don’t find anything sexy about a little old lady with a ring in her nose and a tattoo on her arm, wearing a tank top so that the world can see it.  I know I’m too old-fashion to understand but if you ask me, Portland is a great place to visit but it’s not what I’m used to seeing in Castell, Texas.
We left Portland and drove along the Columbia River basin and across Oregon until we made it to Hailey, Idaho where we were staying.  I had scheduled one rafting trip on the Payette River and another on the Salmon River.  The scenery was beautiful, and the temperatures were just as nice, ranging in the lower 60’s at night to the upper 80’s during the day.   So, I would call folks back in Texas and ask them how they were doing just to hear them grumble about the searing heat taking place last week but decided to stop doing that after one client threatened to quit advertising.
I’ve known E.C. since 1983, when I began working for him at Gulf Coast Publishing.  I know that you never really know everything about a person and you continue to find out more about their past all the time.  It wasn’t until we got ready to go on our first raft trip that E.C. mentioned that he had once been a sailor.  I guess that’s what he meant…the guide asked if anyone had any experience on the water and E.C. said he had been captain of the Swedish Bikini Team, so I’m assuming he was a sailor.
We had a memorable experience rafting those two days, to say the least, and like all good tourists we purchased all the photos from both trips just to prove we did go rafting.  More importantly, it was so nice to take a week off to relax with my son and good friend and spend time seeing a different area of our beautiful country.  I have always enjoyed traveling to the northwest part of the United States, seeing the big mountains and gorgeous rivers that are cold and clear and wondering what it must have been like when Lewis and Clarke explored that area.  I will always remember this trip and hopefully, next year we might plan another one somewhere else in that area, but we will have to wait and see.
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
THINK TEXAS!!!
SLS

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