Amboy I

As Old kindly pointed out below, I am currently shacked up in rural Washington, alone with my dog, a few random deer, the sound of coyotes taunting me at night, and, from what I suspect, bigfoot lurking in the forest behind the house. My parents, who retired here from Cali 3-4 years ago, are visiting my sister in Colorado, so I generously offered to housesit and watch the dog while they are gone.
To get an idea of how rural Amboy is, you'll have to realize that lawnmower racing is a recognized sport among the locals; as are tree-cutting contests and hunting (sadly, gypsy hunting hasn't yet caught on here). What's more, if you don't drive a ginormous pickup truck in these parts, you're immediately labeled an "outlander," and therefor must be from Portland. Aww, country life!
As foreign as it may seem, life is quite comfortable up here, and things are rarely dull. Sure, hanging out on your porch with a lazy, overwheight dog may seem boring, but you must look below the surface of such commonplace activities. First of all, this dog, Wimpy, is a decendent of the Meravingians, who, legend has it, are of the direct familial line of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdelen. Wimpy is a character among characters. By day, a porch-warming, sleeping machine (save for an occassional "auto hump" or "gravel angel"); by night, a rip-roaring, howling, coyote chasing, nasty dog-giving, beast of a dog. His king of the hill status probably stems from the power he's garnered as grandmaster of the local grange, but his fierce barking and ability to climb walls helps.
While Wimpy has reign of "the hill," he is not the only character in town (not sure you can actually call it a town). There is Len, often called the Mayor of Amboy, who owns the local market. He's been known to take younger women into his meat locker and show them his goods. Eww. Another name known around town is Hippy Joe. While his nickname and ZZ Top beard may suggest he's a byproduct of the San Francisco '60s, he's far from your stereotypical hippy. He lives at and maintains Nick's bar, making sure the local drunks and bikers stay in line. I actually don't know much about him, but his massive beard and mystical presence, as well as his infamy around town, makes him quite a character.

Another character quickly rising up the ranks is Mike. Yes, my dad. With an impressive beard of his own (only rivaled by hippy Joe), a finely weathered pair of overalls, and a mouth like a drunken sailor, you can see him hobbling around town most mornings. His preferred hangout spot is Tim's coffee shop a.k.a Amboy Espresso. With Pork usually by his side, he also can be found with other locals, Gary and Susan Blackhawk. He has become quite the social animal, usually making his rounds at local establishments and harrassing patrons and proprietors alike. If there is a model of how to grow old, you need look no further than him. While he isn't a model of healthy living or proper social etiquette, I can find no better example of a person growing old with grace and content. I look forward to my drives from Portland to hang and contemplate the state of "things" with him. Our Ali G impressions, attempts to build stuff, and tweaking of Wimpy make for quality hangs. In fact, I quite like my time with my mom and Mike in the country.
While time certainly slows down, we get by with laughs and try to create our own adventures (bigfoot and UFO hunting, for example). Since Amboy is only an hour from Portland, and I am here frequently, I'll try to add occassional installments of "life in the country" to the blog.

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