I visited a friend yesterday, driving to Central Oregon, through the mountians, following the path of the McKenzie River. The scenery is beautiful with just enough Birch Trees to add that touch of Autumn color. Until you hit the summit most of what you see are magnificant Douglas Firs. When small these are the traditional Christmas trees but they become the "giants of the forest" and are well over 100 feet tall. When you hit the summit you are in snow country and the scenery abrupty changes as do the trees. Pine grows here, everywhere, in huge open country, as far as you can see.
My friend lives in Sisters, Oregon, an old-west town with ordinances stating that any new construction must have this "old-west" facade. Ten years ago I helpd him build his house on the edge of the town. It is an old-west style and looked 100 years old the day we finished it. I was retired at the time but came out of retirement to help a friend. Two older guys building a house!
This is the last house I built and working with Jerry (his name too!) was a lot of fun. He is a few years older than I am but in excellent physical shape. He ran Marathon races in several States
and climbed all the mountains of Oregon and Washington. He had a Harley Davidson Motorcycle
and fancied himself a cowboy!
I hadn't visited him in years. We get busy and so into our own world, don't we? As I pulled into his driveway I immediately saw the sign in his window: "No Smoking, Oxygen in Use" My heart sank. Jerry has never had a cigarette in his life. Not one! He was not a coal miner and didn't have a dangerous job. He was an accountant! It was a wonderful visit. He has this one last mountain to climb. It is not curable. He is on a one hundred foot oxygen hose, tethered to the house we built.