Wedding Bells - A time of refreshment

Yesterday was a great day. I took off a day of work to travel to Portland, Oregon for one of my good friend’s wedding, Dave Plep.

The trip started with me driving down to Milwaukee on Thursday night and arriving at the League’s at about 10:30 PM. I got a bit of a latter start then I had initially planned, but got to spend the evening with Marion and the girls, so it was worth it. I spent some time just catching up on some small things with Brian and Courtney and hit the sack around 11:00. My flight the next morning was a 6:15, so I set the alarm (actually three of them – one on the palm pilot, one on the cell phone, and one on the ipod) for 3:30. All three alarms went off to start a very long, but rewarding day.

The flight out to Portland went well. I caught a lay over in Denver which broke up the flight nicely. I was able to get some reading done, some writing that I have been meaning to catch up on, and started listening to a series of old podcasts from Fr. Roderick on his coverage in Rome during Pope John Paul II’s death. These podcasts were great, it was like I was really there in St. Peter’s square during the final hours of the Pope’s death and I felt really connected to the greater Catholic family worldwide. Thanks Fr. Roderick for the great coverage.

I tried to catch some sleep on the flight over to Portland, but was not very successful, and got into Portland about 10:00 Pacific time. Plep picked me up from the airport, and it was great to see him again. I have been very excited about this trip because Portland is very near and dear to Plep, it is where he lives and grew up, and was always a topic of conversations while we were in school. Four or five of us from college are coming out to the wedding, and it good to be here on Plep’s turf and to see the place that he is so fond of.

We went out for lunch and did a little catching up in downtown. He then showed me around the city, and it was a lot of fun. Everything here in the Pacific Northwest is so much more alive compared to back home in Wisconsin. The grass is green, the flowers are out, the air is so fresh – I really felt alive. We went up to the Rose Garden which over looks the city to enjoy that. We cruised around the greater Portland area, and eventually caught up with Brian and Courtney who had gotten in on a later flight.

The hotel that I am staying in here is very unique. It is called McMenamin’s Grand lodge and is an old Masonic lodge that has been converted into a hotel. My room is a bunk room, which consists of a bunk bed, closet, and sink. The bathrooms are community bathrooms. There is something about the simplicity and community of the place that I really like.

There are several little rooms throughout the hotel were you can go for drinks. In fact I am typing this entry while in one of these little rooms, kind of hiding out from the rest of the world sipping on my morning coffee. There is a small little movie theater in the hotel, where guests can eat dinner and watch a movie. I watched a bit of the Chronicles of Narnia, and really enjoyed took part and enjoyed the communal nature of the hotel layout. There is a series of these hotels throughout the Portland area, and they also own a local brewery, so the beer on tap is very good. All this for $40 a night – what a deal.

This trip has been very peaceful and refreshing. I can’t help but to think that the fresh air that is coming in through the old windows of the room I am in is symbolic of the fresh air that this trip has provided to me. It has been a small retreat from the everyday, one that has refreshed me, and for that I am grateful. It is always great to meet up with old friends, and to have some time to reflect and rejuvenate. Thanks be to God.