My last night at OHSU was spent pretending to be interested in data entry and was followed by a couple of hours at a Pearl brewery with my co-workers (my amazingly gifted, loving co-workers).
The next morning the car was loaded (and I mean, loaded) and I was headed East on I 84 to La Grande, followed by an afternoon in the Vineyard Town, followed by a drive to Pullman. 
In true Lisa fashion, I was initially very focused on getting to La Grande and getting through the 4 hour drive.   Very focused.

I have a tendancy to speed.  I just usually don't enjoy the trip.


Somewhere outside of Hood River, I realized what I was doing.  It was the weekend after graduate school graduation.  I am unemployed.  I am not in school.  I have the support and love of some very important people in my life to be able to do that.  Not everybody has that support.  When I realized that, when I realized my privilege in that moment, I let go.

And I saw it was sunny outside.
And the Columbia River an outrageous blue.
And the green in the first part of the Gorge a sexy green.  You know what I mean?  A really seductive, earthy green.

That's when I realized that that was my after graduation road trip.  And although I normally hate driving, I decided to ... not.  To not hate it.  To enjoy 4 hours to myself.  I opened the sun roof.  I turned up the radio.  I sang.  (Singing regulates your breathing and produces endorphins.  Fyi.)

And then I started remembering.  Because that entire drive - from the Coast to the Idaho State Border, travelling East on I 84, is a collage of my life.  Outside Hood River, I found myself (metaphorically) headed West, following Shoes in the U-Haul, excited and scared to death about moving to Portland and starting graduate school.  I am grateful for Shoes and wondering if we'll make this relationship work.

Approaching Boardman, the song "1st of tha month" (thanks to an old boyfriend I wish I could have remained friends with) floods into my head and I am a sophomore and I am socially awkward and painfully shy and then I am a senior and at prom and then I am wondering how the class of 1996 is doing.

7 miles later, I am passing the house we lived in and remembering not so awesome things, so I keep driving.

In Pendleton, I am starting my first job as a summer apprentice at NOAA Weather Radio and I am struck with boredom because there is very little weather that happens in Pendleton in July.  I am staring out the window with the fire guy watching dust devils swirl.

And then I am headed up Meacham into La Grande and I am an undergraduate freshman and I am delivering pizzas for Dominos and then I am a sophomore and I am breaking up with the Bone Thugs N Harmony boyfriend and then we are getting back together and then we are breaking up.  I am graduating with two bachelors on a sunny afternoon and have started my first social work job {not realizing then that I was making a life decision that would forever change how I related to people}.

In La Grande, I am meeting Former Husband for the first time and we are starting our courtship and marriage.  I am taking kids to Mexico for missions trips. 

Later, when headed to the Vineyard Town to meet Shoes, the memories stop and I am in present time.  I am not returning to the scene of any crime any longer.  I am meeting a partner who has loved and shown love and provided and made me laugh until my sides hurt because his wittiness drowns you.

Now, I am here in Pullman, where I have created very few memories.
The graduation road trip is over.

It is sunny a lot here.  Cloudless skies over rolling green wheat fields.
I have been sleeping in. 
I have been smiling. 

This is a good place, I think.


  1. Anonymous on June 28, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Lord-a-mercy, girl, this is one beautiful piece of writin' right here! I love you. You're amazing. You made me smile, and cry. If that social work think doesn't work out...or even if it does...keep writing...your writing is powerful and moving and real and honest...

    I wish you so much joy I can't even describe how much.


  2. Elizabeth, Aaron, Rebekah on June 29, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    When you were remembering dominos did you remember the drug pizzas, because everytime I hear dominos that is what I think of. I'm so glad you had this road trip to retrospect your life and all the good/bad things that have come out of it. Mostly the good. I look forward to your look into the future with shoes.

  3. Lisa on July 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM

    Thanks, ladies. Cherrie, if the social worker thing gets old, I plan on becoming an astronaut. Except, I'm a little afraid of heights, so maybe I'll re-think that a tad ...

    Elizabeth, when that story hit press, it was one of the few times in my life my father contacted me. And you're right, my life - mostly good. No complaints. ;)

  4. Andrea on July 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    This is a beautiful look back and a hopeful look ahead! I love your line about not returning to the 'scene of the crime' ;)

    "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S.Lewis

    Blessings on your new adventure :)


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