I went looking for the Jerry Garcia carving in the cutout by the lower greens, on the Halsey side, like the guy said. But it was foggy and damp, and what looked like Jerry on the other side of the green could just as well have been a tree. A small sign said Keep off the grass, and there were maintenance people milling about in little carts, like the guy who’d stopped and told me about the carving. He saw me taking pictures and asked, had I seen the Jerry carving? There was another car trying to get by, but he didn’t seem to notice and spent a good, solid minute giving directions. It was roughly 9 but felt a lot earlier than that, for a place people go to drink and indulge themselves in spas and soaking tubs (and golf). But because it’s got a hippy vibe, the place feels charmed—even the squirrels seem spirited by the way they look at you.
I worked my way to the top of the grounds, by the garden and glass-blowing shop, then ran into the same maintenance guy again. He asked if I found it and I said no, there was a sign saying Keep off the grass, which felt very non-Jerry to me. He laughed and said yeah, Jerry would want it to say Keep on the grass—but that wasn’t what I meant, I meant Jerry wouldn’t like a sign telling you what to do. There was another car trying to get by, so we just laughed and said goodbye.
All of us were pretty compromised from the night before. The first time we’d come to McMenamins in four years, a former poorhouse outside of Portland converted to a bed and breakfast, of sorts.
It’s one thing about overdoing it at McMenamins, you have a three and a half hour drive to look forward to the next day. And no mountains on days when it’s socked in, just cool-looking clouds at best.
So we talked, with Kelly in the front seat and Chris in the back, and Dawn going ahead separately in the other car. And we came back to the topic of where we live and our lifestyle, wondering if it’s the environment of over privilege that’s making it so hard to parent, or if it’s just cell phone addiction, or a combination of several factors.
The maintenance guy was recently retired and lived next door, so he took a job with McMenamins and dropped 20 pounds, he said. Seemed pretty happy. I wondered if we should just keep making as much money as we can now and retire early, or scale back and go somewhere quieter, which is what I really wanted to do. Everything was happening so fast, I wanted to slow it down.