I’m writing this column on Thursday afternoon, June 14. My sister, Barbara Isborn (who I’ve always called “B.J.”) and I just returned from an overnight stay in Newport, Oregon to visit with our brother, Jim Burnett, Sr. He was vacationing there with his wife Jonni for three days between chemotherapy treatments. Some of you who were fans of the Groundwaters magazine, might remember him as “Jimminy Cricket.” He wrote the “Philosopher’s Corner” feature.
It was a gorgeous day on the Oregon Coast. The sun was out, the wind was light and the temperature was in the low 70s.
When we first arrived, B.J. and I visited with Jim and Jonni for a short while until Jim had to lie down for a nap, so we headed out to take a walk on a beautiful beach within walking distance of our motel where we could see the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse sitting on a distant bluff. The high-tide line on the beach was covered by millions of what we learned were a delicate type of jellyfish called “By-the-Wind Sailors.” They were an electric blue in color with transparent, rounded “sails” sticking up in the air. They live on the surface of the water and are taken wherever the wind blows them. High tide yesterday brought them to Newport.
We walked south to the jetty and then headed back, racking up about 2.5 miles or more (according to B.J.’s Fit-Bit).
The four of us then spent the evening over a 2-hour dinner at the Shilo Inn restaurant which overlooked the beach we had walked on.
It was a special time… one of sharing our memories as children, the good times and the not so good, but mostly the funny, and sometimes awful things we did as kids… like roasting apples over our Halloween jack-o-lanterns, and taste-testing our sweet collie, Ginger’s “Gro-Pup” ribbon-like dog food. We quizzed each other about details of our grandparents’ ranch that was located on Powell Road, between Lorane and Crow, that only Jim was old enough to remember well… and we expressed our sadness that there was no one left who could provide us the answers.
Jim’s cancer is Stage 4 and he has just finished his first round of chemo and will begin his second on Monday. The outlook for him, at 80 years of age, is not good, but he wore a calm serenity during our whole visit as the sun shone on us through those panoramic windows of the restaurant last night. As expected, he was still sleeping when we left the motel this morning. We had said our good-byes the night before. They planned to spend another night in Newport and then head home to Vancouver the next day and we hope to make another trip to see them soon.
I will long cherish the memories we made yesterday and know that whatever happens with his treatment, those memories will forever bind us together and define our love and respect for each other as siblings. Godspeed, Jimmy!
I’ll update everyone on the upcoming summer events planned for both Lorane and Crow in my next column. I want to dedicate this one to brothers and sisters everywhere, but especially to my own.
In the meantime, I hope that each of you has a wonderful summer planned.