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Mt St Helen Winter 1948 Low ResWELCOMING WINTER 2013

I have a fondness for Winter.  I especially love how the moon dips below my roof painting the bedroom in cold yellow light as the naked lilac whispers a shadowy dance across my pillow.        ~    Kris Tabor

I hope your Christmas was stellar and as spectacular as this wonderful 1948 image of Mt. St. Helens before she blew her top – now, is that a cloud or steam releasing! Does one ever really know with a volcano?

Past, Present and Future

After the Holidays I treasure any and all quieter moments with our younger family members. They often arrive with electronic gizmos I’ve never seen or thought of. After plenty of show-and-tell I finally ask for all the electronics to be carefully placed in their backpacks. I’m sure I say some groaner like, “My big dogs don’t want to be blamed for crushing something you kids leave on the floor.” Or, “Dogs don’t have an allowance to buy you a new one if it gets broken.”

Before long someone invariably gravitates to my grandmother’s wooden Chinese Checker Board for a mental workout. The simplicity of it draws in all ages and challenges will crop up all day long whenever we gather.

This year vintage family photo albums also topped the coffee table. I hadn’t realized how educational and stimulating this would prove to be . . .

Discussions ricochet between the wonderful old cars, women’s hats and fashions, what is a family tree and where did our people come from. Just like an episode of This Old House, it looked like the evening would close with inventing funny uses for unfamiliar background items in some of the photos.

Then this treasured 1948 image of Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake surfaced. Amusement turned to confusion as the kids tried to guess which Cascade mountain they were looking at. It had never occurred to me they only had a visual reference of Helen after she blew her top. That was enough to drive the conversation around several more corners . . . why do some people still argue that climate change is not real, what is going to happen to polar bears, what about island and shore inhabitants that have already been evacuated due to global warming and rising sea levels, finally to weather across our nation, and then the kids shivered when adults began discussing Oregon earthquakes we’ve lived through.

Electronic devices materialized out of backpacks – a quick online search really makes the hair stand on the back of your neck as we discovered the number of earthquakes Oregon and Washington have seen in the last two weeks alone. We all unscientifically agreed that whether felt or unfelt, 91 seemed like a lot of quakes in a two week period, including a small Millican Oregon tremor on Christmas Day. In fact, 13 of the first 50 entries were all centered near Millican! Where’s Millican?

It turns out Millican, Oregon is about 26 miles east of Bend and its history qualifies it as a ghost town. Stories on the internet told us George Millican founded the town in 1860 and eventually the population once swelled to 60, but it has also experienced long stretches without any inhabitants. After a zero population run for 12 years Millican was purchased again in 2010 and a caretaker was allegedly left in place. The kids found a few photos online and were ready for a road trip to the ghost town until they found a few similar stories of bloggers claiming to have been run out of this one-horse-town by a guy with no horse . . . and don’t forget those 13 quakes.

Clearly all those electronic devices are here to stay and I like how they connect us instantly to so many interests, places and people. The sooner family elders embrace the internet a