When I was six years old, we moved to Central Oregon. I know Disneyland claims to be "the happiest place on earth," but their marketing team has clearly never been to Sunriver. We lived there for about four years, maybe five. I have so many memories of being a kid there. What a place to grow up! Plenty of wilderness to explore, 33.5 miles of bike paths, and on and on. I remember standing on 5-foot high snow piles from the plows as we waited for the school bus in winter. I remember running through the woods in the summer. It was the kind of magical childhood you see in movies.
One place we used to go from time to time was the marina, a nice spot for a family of five to go fishing and swim a little. It seemed like a good subject for a poem:
Fishing in Sunriver
When I was little
We fished with those round, red-and-white bobbers.
Dad helped us reel in the trout and deal with them.
We’d go down to “the marina,”
A mysterious word that to me meant
“The Place of Fishing and Swimming.”
Duke – our Shetland Sheepdog –
Tried to herd me and my brothers
As if we were his woolly charges.
We tried to entice him to join us in the water,
But he just barked from shore.
He hated it when we swam.
Mom made picnic lunches, I think.
She’d force us to get out and eat.
It was just as well. We were probably turning blue
From the freezing water –
All that snow-melt and glacial run-off
That fed the river.
Nothing that a sun-warmed towel
And a tuna fish sandwich wouldn’t fix.
At least, that’s how I remember it.