A Bluebird Day in Bickleton (A Story about Traditions)

Getting dressed for Sunday morning church as a little girl actually  started  Saturday night. It began with the adult in charge  (mom, dad, big sister Beth) struggling to get  my sockless sweaty feet out of my cowboy boots.  Mind you, these are the same boots I had put on my feet on Monday, and they had not been off since!  ( I am exaggerating a little here)


The tub bath  might have been fun if I wasn’t the youngest of 5 kids. (No we didn’t bathe in the same water, the house water heater was not  big). Sometimes I was first, sometimes last with the water temperature depending on where I appeared in the order.


I hated baths. The actual event for me was  like getting dropped into sheep dip, scrubbed from head to toe with the hardest brush sold by the Fuller Brush man and then experiencing the  most detested action of Saturday night, getting my hair washed.  My dutch boy cut brown hair returned to its towheaded color.  I cried during the hair scrubbing, as I did when the knots were combed out.


But then came some nice smelling pajamas, a story from my dad and I would fall asleep. Mom and dad’s alarm woke me in time to get dressed for church, which included brushing the clean shiny hair on my head and getting on my shiny black patent leather shoes over the white socks on my feet.


I could go on about Sunday  traditions at my house, at the neighbors house and Charlies house when he was growing up with 7 kids!  But if I did you wouldn’t hear about Bickleton.


With our two sons grown up and moved away, Sundays in the empty nest Clupny household have turned into days of adventure.  The adventures up to this year have been mostly bicycle rides.  These Sunday  athletic endeavors  ended on main street Hermiston for a waffle with strawberries and ice cream at Hale’s restaurant.


I have not felt up to riding bikes these past few weeks, so Charlie started offering up places for a drive.  The apathetic me was going to convince him I wanted to stay home and nap.  He started listing places he thought would excite me. A  gleeful tone in his voice when he said “Bickleton” indicated where HE wanted to go. I could not say no.  My care partner deserved to go where he wanted to go and Bickleton, WA was it.


Being Sunday I had already had my Saturday night bath, but I had workout clothes on including  black knee-high compression socks with red Billy goats imprinted on them.  I left those on because frankly they are a bugger to get on and off and traded out the work-out clothes for a loose fitting dress. I climbed into our new-to-us Ford f-150 pickup and we chatted most of the  90 miles to our destination.  There is something about sitting side by side on a car ride that is conducive to conversation. Pulling into the town we had the choice of the Bluebird Inn on the right and the Carousel museum on the left.  Stomachs won over intellectual curiosity and we parked in front of the Bluebird Inn. For being such  a tiny town in the center of nowhere I was surprised to see other tourists roaming the streets. Immediately I was self conscious of my attire and my mobility. The ladies walking by looked twice at my Billy goat  patterned compression socks showing from my knees down. They stopped their gaze at the black patent leather shoes I was wearing. Once inside the  surprised expression of another woman’s face as she  saw my shoes, the compression socks and now I walked supported by two old trekking poles.


We had  a delightful lunch in the old inn.  It was fun listening to the employees explain to tourists what Bickleton was all about…bluebirds.  Bluebirds chose Bickleton as their home away from home.  There were little white boxes with blue roof bird houses everywhere.


There was something else unique about this town with a  population of 90. Every year the entire population works on the town festival.  They set up a Carousel for the event which also includes a rodeo.  Rodeo I understood, but carousel?


We spent the rest of the afternoon in the carousel museum examining the horses and learning that the carousel was purchased from Oaks Park in Portland about 1929.  It was the dream of the Europeans who settled this area that they have a little touch of  home away from the home country…like the bluebirds who settled in-here. This little town has a lot of history!


Back to the birds…maps of the 4 routes designated as the best for bird viewing were available at the museum.  We toured the blue bird route #1.  Blue birds were everywhere.  Then we drove to the area where the yearly festival was held and  saw the building for the carousel, right near the rodeo grounds and a great picnic area.


And the very best thing I experienced was the delight of my husband as he exclaimed over and over.


I am so glad we came here.


This is so cool.


What a great place to be!


I started this post thinking it was going to be more about Sunday traditions.


And I end it here with a couple thoughts:  If I had let apathy win  and we had stayed home, apathy would attack again and again. Apathy is trying to build up the walls between me and the world.


My care partner, my life partner keeps up his attempts to get me out, get me moving.   It gives him joy to take me adventuring.


I need to sneak away from apathy when it comes knocking and comply with adventures offered.


That’s a good Sunday tradition.


Used by permission of the author.

Carol Clupny

When Carol Clupny was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 50, she took to the road, literally. Walking over 1000 ...more