A Bluebird Day in Bickleton

A short strory about keeping traditions alive.

(a story about traditions)  Carol Clupny 5/19/2021

glass over the door
The carousel is housed in this building during the festival.

“Champ” was the horse of the year!

A Bluebird Day in Bickleton

(a story about traditions)  Carol Clupny 5/19/2021

Getting dressed for Sunday morning church as a little girl actually  started  Saturday night. It began with the adult in charge  (mom, dad, big sister Beth) struggling to get  my sockless sweaty feet out of my cowboy boots.  Mind you, these are the same boots I had put on my feet on Monday, and they had not been off since!  ( I am exaggerating a little here)

The tub bath  might have been fun if I wasn’t the youngest of 5 kids. (No we didn’t bathe in the same water, the house water heater was not  big). Sometimes I was first, sometimes last with the water temperature depending on where I appeared in the order.

I hated baths. The actual event for me was  like getting dropped into sheep dip, scrubbed from head to toe with the hardest brush sold by the Fuller Brush man and then experiencing the  most detested action of Saturday night, getting my hair washed.  My dutch boy cut brown hair returned to its towheaded color.  I cried during the hair scrubbing, as I did when the knots were combed out. 

But then came some nice smelling pajamas, a story from my dad and I would fall asleep. Mom and dad’s alarm woke me in time to get dressed for church, which included brushing the clean shiny hair on my head and getting on my shiny black patent leather shoes over the white socks on my feet.

I could go on about Sunday  traditions at my house, at the neighbors house and Charlies house when he was growing up with 7 kids!  But if I did you wouldn’t hear about Bickleton.

With our two sons grown up and moved away, Sundays in the empty nest Clupny household have turned into days of adventure.  The adventures up to this year have been mostly bicycle rides.  These Sunday athletic endeavors  ended on main street Hermiston for a waffle with strawberries and ice cream at Hale’s restaurant.

I have not felt up to riding bikes these past few weeks, so Charlie started offering up places for a drive.  The apathetic me was going to convince him I wanted to stay home and nap.  He started listing places he thought would excite me. A  gleeful tone in his voice when he said “Bickleton” indicated where HE wanted to go. I could not say no.  My care partner deserved to go where he wanted to go and Bickleton, WA was it.

Being Sunday I had already had my Saturday night bath, but I had workout clothes on including  black knee-high compression socks with red Billy goats imprinted on them.  I left those on because frankly they are a bugger to get on and off and traded out the work-out clothes for a loose fitting dress. I climbed into our new-to-us Ford f-150 pickup and we chatted most of the  90 miles to our destination.  There is something about sitting side by side on a car ride that is conducive to conversation. Pulling into the town we had the choice of the Bluebird Inn on the right and the Carousel museum on the left.  Stomachs won over intellectual curiosity and we parked in front of the Bluebird Inn. For being such  a tiny town in the center of nowhere I was surprised to see other tourists roaming the streets. Immediately I was self conscious of my attire and my mobility. The ladies walking by looked twice at my Billy goat  patterned compression socks showing from my knees down. They stopped their gaze at the black patent leather shoes I was wearing. Once inside the  surprised expression of another woman’s face as she  saw my shoes, the compression socks and now I walked supported by two old trekking poles.

We had  a delightful lunch in the old inn.  It was fun listening to the employees explain to tourists what Bickleton was all about…bluebirds.  Bluebirds chose Bickleton as their home away from home.  There were little white boxes with blue roof bird houses everywhere. 

There was something else unique about this town with a  population of 90. Every year the entire population works on the town festival.  They set up a Carousel for the event which also includes a rodeo.  Rodeo I understood, but carousel?

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the carousel museum examining the horses and learning that the carousel was purchased from Oaks Park in Portland about 1929.  It was the dream of the Europeans who settled this area that they have a little touch of  home away from the home country…like the bluebirds who settled in-here. This little town has a lot of history!  

Back to the birds…maps of the 4 routes designated as the best for bird viewing were available at the museum.  We toured the blue bird route #1.  Blue birds were everywhere.  Then we drove to the area where the yearly festival was held and  saw the building for the carousel, right near the rodeo grounds and a great picnic area. 

And the very best thing I experienced was the delight of my husband as he exclaimed over and over

I am so glad we came here. 

This is so cool.

What a great place to be! 

I started this post thinking it was going to be more about Sunday traditions.

And I end it here with a couple thoughts:  If I had let apathy win  and we had stayed home, apathy would attack again and again. Apathy is trying to build up the walls between me and the world. 

 My care partner, my life partner keeps up his attempts to get me out, get me moving.   It gives him joy to take me adventuring.

I need to sneak away from apathy when it comes knocking and comply with adventures offered.

That’s a good Sunday tradition.

Published by Carol Clupny, author The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman's Remarkable Journey with Parkinson's Disease

I am a middle aged woman with Parkinson's Disease. When I was first diagnosed I spent a lot of time researching the disease. Seeing a video of a man in the advanced stages of the disease attempting to get out of his chair and then "freezing" as he tried to walk across the room got me off my butt and moving. Great adventures on the Camino de Santiago and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson's across IOWA, as well as the day to day adventures of life have lead me to writing. My first novel, a memoir, was published early 2019. It is called, you got it THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD. Living with the degenerative neurological disease Parkinson's, ULTREIA is a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means "unfailing courage". In the old days, pilgrims would call "Ultreïa" to each other as encouragement "Go up, go further!" Nowadays we would say "You can do this thing". It takes courage to live with Parkinson's. May I face each day with unfailing courage. Ab Here is more about me; I was living an active lifestyle riding horses, hiking, climbing and snow skiing when at age fifty I was diagnosed with Parkinsons. Retiring from my career as a speech-language pathologist I decided to “take to the road” to battle the disease. My first steps, walking out her door to the mailbox, lead to trekking over 1000 miles of pilgrimage trails on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain. A dusty bike discovered in the garage resulted in four rides on the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with the Pedaling for Parkinsons Team. These adventures inspired me to write a memoir The Ribbon of Road Ahead: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease. I blogs about my everyday life as a middle-aged woman in the mid-stages of Parkinson’s disease. My honest, humorous, and casual narrative style brings the reader to an intimate understanding of my resilience and acceptance. My blog, sharing the name of my book ”The Ribbon of Road Ahead” can be found at www.ultreiablog.org After completing a Masters of Science in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University I received certification in School Leadership and Administration from Lewis and Clark College. I provided speech pathology services and later became a program director completing 32 years in the wide geographic expanse of eastern Oregon. Active in the Oregon Speech-Language and Hearing Association I received honors of the association and the presidential award for work on recruitment and retention of speech and hearing professionals. Il presented numerous papers and projects at local, state and regional professional conferences. I was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to two terms of the Oregon Board of Examiners of Speech Pathology and Audiology, the state’s licensing and consumer protection agency. Since my diagnosis in 2008, I has become active in the Parkinson’s community as an advocate, an Ambassador for the Davis Phinney Foundation and support group facilitator for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. I was appointed the regional patient representative for the Parkinson's Foundation’s Women with PD TALK study. In September of 2019 the Michael J Fox Foundation selected me to participate in the Parkinson’s Policy Forum in Washington DC. As an attendee at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016 in Portand, Oregon, I presnted a poster session examining the decision making process for patients considering deep brain stimulation. At the 2019 WPC in Kyoto, Japan I presented a poster on vision concerns of women with PD and lead small group discussions. Myr book The Ribbon of Road Ahead has provided many speaking opportunities for Carol. In 2019 and early 2020 she visited 24 support groups in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California to share her thoughts on living well with the disease. In addition, she has presented talks for The Center on Aging in San Francisco, Parkinson's Place in Las Vegas, Northwest Parkinson's Foundation in Richland WA and virtually through their HOPE online program. In late 2020 I rejuvenated her voice and narrated her book. It became available as an audio book in 2021. As part of this project I read stories over the airwaves on RadioParkies Australia with DJ Madonna and in Great Britain with DJ Johnny Parky. She and her husband Charlie have two adult sons. They live on a small hobby farm in eastern Oregon. Contact Information: Carol Clupny PO BOX 128, Hermiston, OR 97838 caclupny@gmail.com (541) 720-4256

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