Pat & Paula & The Popcorn Business

Some 40 years ago Pat was “in the popcorn business,” selling popcorn up and down the west coast. One day he ran out of popcorn at a ballgame and caught an early - and uneventful - flight home to central California.

The original flight - the one he wasn’t on - crashed.

An airport employee who felt scorned by a flight attendant refusing his advances opened fire mid-flight. There were no survivors.

When Pat arrived home, he found his buddy, under the impression that Pat was dead, drunk at the local bar. Realizing what could have been, Pat joined in the drinking.

Meanwhile, Paula arrived at the bar to grab a cup of coffee. She worked the night shift at the phone company across the street.

Fully inebriated, Pat noticed Paula walk by and shouted. (He now admits that the reference to Mutt & Jeff was not an appropriate thing to shout at a woman he fancied.)

Paula walked right up to Pat and knocked him over. (In his state it only took a light push.) She put her foot on his chest and warned him: “a smart man would stay down.”

Pat was smitten.

It was a year before they spoke again, but Pat kept an eye on Paula. And, Paula started asking around about Pat. 

Eventually, Paula informed Pat that they were going to have breakfast after her shift. While they never actually ate, they sat and talked for hours.

Feeling done with California, they soon hit the road with their cat, T.C. Fuzzbucket, and settled in Oregon.

Pat hasn’t had a drink since the night Paula pushed him over.

Roseburg, OR. July 2018.

I’m Looking for Ted

There are 477 campsites in the ranger district where we work. (Just setting the scene.)

Last week we were in the info center when a man walked in. He’s limps towards us. 

I ask him how I can help.

In a very thick Russian accent he says, “I need some information that might be hard to come by.” 

(“Oh. This is getting real,” I think.)

“I’m looking for a man. He’s staying here.” (Remember, 477 campsites, most with multiple people in them.)

The Russian continues, “this man, he is old. He looks like a hippie. He has no teeth and long hair. He is Ted.”

(“No teeth? Long hair? Ted? Holy moly, I might know that guy,” I think.)

“Oh!” I exclaim. “Do you mean Grateful Ted?!”

YES! That is my friend. Where can I find Ted.”

I give the man directions. As he heads out the door I realize, and shout, “if Ted owes you money, please don’t tell him how you found him!”

Diamond Lake Visitor Center, Umpqua Ranger District, Oregon. June 2018

Learn more about Ted here:

Watson Falls

Southern Oregon is waterfall country - and some are a bit of a hike.

When we offer waterfall advice, we always recommend looking at the rating (easy, moderate, difficult) and trusting one’s ability. A one-mile difficult hike might seem doable - how hard can it be too scramble for a mile? - but a difficult rating is no joke.

Last week a gentleman came into the info center and admitted he didn’t heed our warning.

His stepfather’s name was Watson, so he decided to hike the fall in his memory. Well, about halfway up he figured Watson was up in heaven laughing at his scramble… and after that, he stuck to the easy trails!

Our goal is to visit as many waterfalls as possible - and Justin gracefully scrambled up hill for this photo from Watson Falls.

Watson Falls, North Umpqua, Oregon. June 2018.

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