We departed the Imperial Capital the Friday before last for the trans-continental journey that would take us to important stops in the Pacific Northwest and to the very edges of the land and nation. We expected adventures rich in both ceremony and intriguing conversation. Dear reader, as you shall learn, there was no disappointment.
The air voyage across the empire was sufficiently uneventful so that we arrived at our inn at the City of Portland in good spirits. The Gustav E. Freiwald mansion, constructed in 1906, greeted us with its glorious high ceilings, period accoutrements, and old world charm. We were accommodated in the “Joseph Room” which would provide a suitable base of operations for the days to come, and is notable for its magnificent high bed requiring steps for entry and exit, its bay window with chaise lounge, and a fireplace to provide warmth for the northern and sometimes wet climate.
On the first morning, prior to breaking the fast at the communal table, we encountered an interesting couple in the second parlor who were celebrating a birthday with a stay at the mansion. Entirely without prompting, they generously offered details on their personal relations. As it turns out, the woman of middle age has five children only one of which remains at home with her and her husband. Now, the gentleman seated next to her was not her husband – but rather he was her boyfriend, who also lives with the woman and her husband. Apparently, the woman’s teamster spouse is aware of and approving of the arrangement. He has been the most generous of chaps, with trips to Paris and the like. They all plan on leaving the Pacific Northwest for a more suitable climate in Las Vegas where they can purchase a seven-bedroom home to fit everyone regardless of personal arrangement. Now, before you suspect that this unusual situation to be a condition of the morally liberal olde garde or the nouveau riche, let me inform you that the paramour’s intended profession is the repair of “one-armed bandits” and they both gave the impression to me as potential teamsters, as well.
At breakfast itself, which was expertly prepared on-site each and every morning and was particularly pleasing to C., we met three young women who were staying at the mansion in preparation for a wedding that would take place that afternoon in the side garden. They were in high spirits and particularly jolly in anticipation of the day’s events. We also had our first introduction to the new couple P. and K. who would be in residence at the mansion throughout our stay.
Afternoon saw the transition to preparations for the purpose behind the Portland leg ofthe trip. I met with the intended groom M. and his soon to be betrothed A. at a tavern to discuss the ancient ceremony that was to take place the following day and the current state of affairs in Portland. We later made our way to the temple and met with Father M. to walk through the procedures for the nuptial event. Further discussions that I had with Fr. M. took place on a variety of topics the repetition of which is not at this time convenient. In the evening we went with the groom and met up with D. and Portland treated us to its most delicious hamburger sandwich and finest ale. C. will verify this. Reminiscences abounded, new friendships made, and conversation on the meaning of life committed to companionship and the author of creation enlivened the gathering. Such good comradeship over an outstanding meal shall not soon be forgotten.
The Sabbath began with more interesting guests at the mansion, including additional information about P. and K. K. was from the State of California and P. hailing from the Rocky Mountains. There was a walk in a rose garden for C. and a celebration of the liturgy on the Sunday of the Paralytic. The Epistle[i] and Gospel[ii] readings were particularly poignant for the groom M., who has suffered greatly in recent months from a serious malady of the spine. It was wondered if he would be able to stand for the ceremony. With the help of Holy Week Unction, he has been improving. After the service, we enjoyed M.’s final meal as a bachelor, and toasted the occasion with 18-year Jameson Special Reserve. My duties as Crownbearer included ensuring that M. was at the temple and dressed for the ceremony at a specific time. Mission accomplished. The weather cooperated and the sun shone its glorious rays down on the union throughout. Both bride and groom were glowing, and the ancient ceremony was skillfully performed by Fr. M. to flawless detail. The groom persevered throughout the rite without a hint of the pain under which he was suffering. The reception afterwards was happy and lovely, with toasts and congratulations all around to celebrate the joyful day.
The next day we were set for departure from the mansion. At breakfast we learned much more about P. – the gentleman from the Rocky Mountains, and his companion K. – the woman from California. The conversations were lovely and we were pleased to make the acquaintance of these fine travelers through life. It was a curious fact that this was their first extended time together and K. was planning to leave her life in California to be with P. We were sad to leave our comfortable Joseph Room and took our leave and departed in the Portland rain for our scheduled rendezvous in Olympia.
The travel to Olympia was somewhat impeded by the Pacific Northwest weather, but we arrived in reasonable time due to skillful handling of the horseless carriage. We were greeted cheerfully in the fine café with windows that extended two stories overlooking a bay, by law school classmate A. and her husband J. Wonderful conversations of life and the world abounded as we enjoyed fine food and good company while observing the flights and landings of great blue herons and the goings on of Canada Goose families. Many of the world’s problems were solved – if only we were in charge. So intriguing and fascinating was our time that we ended up staying on for hours, departing much later than expected. This, however, is the way life is intended to be lived; is it not?
Bidding our friends adieu, it was then on to The Emerald City where we were expected so that we could reunite with O. & B. and their young son since their move from the capital to the Northwest. We enjoyed their company over that evening and the one following. The food was amazing and delightful. On the full day there, the merchants at Pike Place Market were patronized. Russian piroshky, French pastry and coffee, and fine chocolate were sampled from purveyors. I commend to you a visit the next time you are in the area to this market that opened in 1907. No fish were handled by C. or me. Later in the day a stroll through the beautiful Botanical Garden in Bellevue, which was originally made possible through the outstanding gift of Cal and Harriet Shorts, offered a remarkable array of horticultural life. By Wednesday, we were prepared to continue our trek further to the north, although we had to prepare to circumnavigate the Skagit River as the bridge was out.
As we made our way toward the northwestern islands, we diverted to farm country, quaint villages, and Native American reservations to breathe in the local color and landscape. Eventually, we made it the edge of continental America where a ferry awaited to take us to the islands. As we inched our way across the gangplank, we were greeted from the bow deck by Father A and his wife M. who were already on board. It was a joy to share the journey with them through the wind and waves as we headed to our intended destination; they would have a major part to play in the events to come. There was to be another nuptial ceremony during this adventure.
Once on the island, we greeted C. and J. who were at the ready with conveyance for Fr. A. and M. and doughnuts for all. They were whisked off to our village so that Fr. A. could begin his ceremonial preparations, while we went off to the vineyard to pay our respects to the soon-to-be bride and groom Dr.s S. and B. Having made the congratulatory greetings and imbibed in the tasting of the fruits of the land, we continued on toward our communal village and our awaiting accommodations. As we approached the village where the festivities would occur, we noticed a number of large, dark birds swooping over the road as we came around a bend. Vultures? No, bald eagles! Flying low and making passes at food that had been left out, there were approximately twenty of them circling, calling, and resting in trees. A more remarkable scene I could not recall except in “The Lord of the Rings.” Certainly, the place would be magical with a greeting such as this!
We had arrived at the very edge of the empire. The historic hotel at the harbor stood ready to welcome us with the charm and grace of prior centuries. Constructed in 1886, the quaint sloping floors and walls and communal baths reminded one of a time long past. As we checked in we were provided with the “Presidential Suite” for our stay. A room at the very end of the single hallway, we were pleased to find that it had its own bathing facilities, magnificent bedroom, parlor with chaise lounge, sitting chairs, writing desk and fireplace, along with immediate access to the veranda that spanned the length of the hotel. It was not until later that we were informed that the reason it was called the Presidential Suite was not as some sort of marketing gimmick, but because President Theodore Roosevelt stayed in the room in 1906. That being said, we would of course treat the room with the greatest of due respect.
An outstanding meal was offered to provide refreshment from the long journey. Seafood bisque, clam chowder (with bacon, of course), lamb, salmon, were done to perfection. Exploration of the harbor ensued along with the enjoyment of some pipe tobacco and drink on the veranda. Later, we gathered with all of the others along the shore for a barbeque of elk and s’mores in celebration of the bride and groom, along with light adult beverages. A harbor seal arrived to inspect our goings on. Of course, there was a late gathering in the parlor of the suite where we enjoyed the company of Fr. A. and M., and C. and J., with spirited conversation and spirits.
The next day, which was the day of the ceremony, we woke up late and decided to tour the island. We made our way to the English Camp where British forces were ensconced during the dispute over the island between our empire and the British one as a result of the “Pig War.” My assumption is that this must have been a conflict over the possession of bacon, for there are few other things worth fighting over. Eventually, the matter was settled by Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm I who split the difference by giving us the island, and the British the water off the island. The Camp was fascinating with some of the original buildings still standing, and there was a nearby nesting pair of bald eagles and various geese on the grounds. We departed to see more of the shoreline while looking for whales; no whales, but a lighthouse we did find. We were summoned to return as the day wore on; preparations were underway for the celebration and the groomsmen sought a suitable place to prepare. We placed the suite at their disposal, knowing them to be fine, upstanding gentlemen of distinction and education.
The comings and goings were celebratory and sincere. Many came by with good wishes for Dr. B., the groom. He was in particularly good spirits having just received as a gift from his bride an army sabre suitable for his service in the imperial forces. The Rough Rider, the prior occupant whose spirit remains in the place, would have been impressed. Time drew nigh and everyone was to make their way to the chapel. We took our seats in the pristine white church – Our Lady of Good Voyage – which has stood on the hillside since the 1800s. After the seatings and entry of the wedding party attendants and groom, Dr. S. made her beautiful entrance. So enraptured with the moment she was, she could not help but shed tears of joy upon seeing her groom. Only the coldest of hearts could not be moved at that moment. Fr. A. conducted the rite in true Anglican form and gave a touching and personal homily that was welcomed by all. The service conducted beautifully and simply, and without the saccharine “praise” music prevalent today, was dignified, sincere, and wonderful.
After the ceremony, we all retired for a celebratory dinner and dancing not far from the harbor and in full view of the setting sun. The professional staff having barred spirits more potent than beer and wine from the hall, the Presidential Suite, which was right next door, provided necessary comfort. Eventually, the evening began to draw to a close as people cheered and wood crackled and blazed in the fireplaces. The Suite once again opened its doors to friends both new and old, as guests filtered away from the hall to a place where celebration could be had with serious gusto and mirth. Glasses were raised to the Good Doctors for long life and happiness! With such glee did we celebrate that, eventually, we had to close the bar and ask our friends to depart, as there were other guests in the establishment. A good, good night, with dear people.
The morning found us having to say goodbye to our comrades, the village, Teddy’s suite, and the bride and groom. We did so in style, of course, with world-famous pancakes and doughnuts at the Café. We took leave of the newly-married Good Doctors, Fr. A. and M., C. and J. and made our way to the ferry to see us back to the mainland. We made our wayback with a lazy re-tracing of our steps, eventually finding our way to The Emerald City, with O. and B., to include a toast, before our return voyage to The Imperial Capital.
Please accept this Report and Observations from the Pacific Northwest.
Respectfully and humbly submitted, this Fourth day of June, in the Year if Our Lord Two Thousand and Thirteen,
By my hand,
Rdr. Timothy J. Keefer, Esq.