How I Spent My Winter Vacation

Excellent Thai food in The Pearl District of Portland, OR.

We bought umbrellas. We enjoyed the rain. Mist glazed our cheeks. She wore gloves. I didn’t. We walked. There’s purpose to my wife’s gait; the caregiver. I mosey without focus; the patient. I strive to keep pace. I do, barely. Her will pulls me forward.

Along the Willamette, on Waterfront Park, we marvel at the bridges. We listen to the clatter of traffic. Geese, gulls, and ducks traverse the flyway. One brisk winter day, the  river runs swift and clear. After a storm, it’s muddied and swifter still.


The Steel Bridge over the Willamette River in Portland, OR.

Downtown, cars splash water to the curbs. Their head lights glisten on damp pavement. We side step puddles. A mush of leaves clogs the gutters. Our hotel is in The Pearl. Lovejoy, Northrup, and Glisan: the poetry of street names. Restaurants,  apartments, homeless enclaves, the singular Powell’s, and everyone going somewhere, or not.


Street art in The Pearl District of Portland, OR.

We venture out to movies. We wander through the district. At times, I am in awe of the city’s ambience. How does all this work? But chemo cloaks me in tattered indifference. A thread of healing weaves its way into my future’s fabric. What will that look like? We return to the hotel. I’m full of medicine’s magic potions. Patience is the antidote. It’s a New Year.

16 thoughts on “How I Spent My Winter Vacation

    1. Finding enjoyment where every you can, that is something the two of you have always done so well. Continued progress and good health.


  1. John & Marilyn,
    What a vivid picture of The Pearl, John paints with his words. Makes me want to get on a flight for Oregon.
    May the thread of healing weave its way through out your body.
    Wishing you a happy & healthy 2023.


  2. “Patience is the antidote.” So, so true, John in so many ways. May the poetry in you and your wonderful wife’s loving lead keep you going into this new year with strength and love. Thanks for sharing Portland with us.


    1. Hi Ginger. Thanks for commenting. Making the most of the city’s arcane delights. Found a good place yesterday for fruit smoothies. 🧋 My appetite still balks at some dishes. But, it’s better.


  3. There is a poetic / musical cadence with your words in this post, John. A fitting tribute to Portland and your ‘winter vacation’ ~ good things come to those who are patient, and may medicine’s magic potions enlighten you further in this New Year.


    1. Thanks Dalo for finding some positives in my awkward prose. LOL. Chemo brain is a real affliction of treatment. I’m waiting it out with books and movies and city walks.


  4. Thanks for the evocative and lengthy holiday postcard – it took me away from the rainy bleakness of the Yorkshire moors without having to leave my desk. I had been wondering how the new treatment was going and hope I am seeing some positive hints in your text.


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