Saturday, June 27, 2009

Surprise!

We meant to leave earlier this morning but we (I) dragged my feet, took my time. We didn’t need to be in Tigard till 6 p.m. and thought it would be nice to spend the day together in Portland. Being completely ignorant of anything Portland related, I googled “best lunch” and found a place called Nicholas Restaurant. It sounded inexpensive and tasty so I was game. I didn’t read far enough into the article to find that it was an a) Lebonese and b) cash only establishment. We found this little hole in the wall overflowing with people and smelling delicious. Everything I saw on the plates of the customers eating outside looked amazing. We ended up needing to walk three blocks to the nearest ATM but it was worth it. The crowd was a mix of what looked like possibly real Lebonese folks and locals. A couple of ladies next to us helped us decide what to order and soon after a group of bikers was seated next to us. We listened to talk of ashrams and the merits of lentils and rice. Only in Portland.

So here we are. In spite of a very full belly I wanted to take a trip to VooDoo Donuts. We found it eventually but with a queque snaking out the door and no parking to be seen, I gave up without much of a fight. Someday I’ll get one of those voodoo doll donuts, stabbed in the jelly-filled heart with a pretzel; today just wasn’t my day. With more time to kill we headed to Washington Square Mall and here I sit, high above See’s Candy in a free Wi Fi area. Would Ellen like a box of See’s for her birthday? I think I would.

Which brings me, the long way, to why we’re here. Surprise! Ellen is 40! Actually that milestone was reached last Monday but I didn’t trust myself to write anything till today. I just knew I’d give something away. Her husband Alan planned a surprise party for her tonight and I knew the odds of the secret slipping through these lips, these fingers were pretty good.

On Thursday night when the phone rang “Lines” showed up on the screen. Oh no! How could I be sure not to say “I can’t wait to see you!” or “See you Saturday!”? We were sitting around the table and Dad mouthed, “NOT A WORD!” . . . somehow, somehow she was none the wiser by the time I hung up.

I met Ellen early on in high school and loved her immediately. She was funny but also totally no nonsense. You could always count on Ellen to give it to you straight. She was my first LDS friend and as the only representative of her faith among our large group of friends, she was a good one, always holding her own. She was a really great first example for me and an important foundation was built. Later when more LDS people would come into my life I would happily let them in and even, in time, would listen. We’ve never lost touch and I appreciate the effort she put in to stay close.

We’ve still got an hour left. After running into old friends at the zoo yesterday I can’t help but worry that this might be the place her sister’s taken her to keep her occupied till the party . . . this would not be a good time for Cosmic Facebook!
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