The morning had been spent with a lovely family that I was staying with just outside of Raymond, Washington. When I waved goodbye, it was not just to those people, but to that landscape. Biking through mudflats lined with small towns with restaurants advertising the oysters that made the area famous, I felt that something foreign was near at hand. I had to think a bit, gather my thoughts, sort out what was happening. I found the perfect place to do so. In a non-distinct town, on a bench, that if you looked over your shoulder while sitting on it, you’d be met with the blinkless stare of chocolate cows munching on all things green across the river.
Not just any bench, a dedicated bench to the beloved town historian. If I had met him, I think my first question would have been “what town?” After I got over the sting of the deserved slap I would incur, I would have shook his hand in honest respect for being so dedicated to keeping this random part of nowhere’s history alive, written down and accessible. Maybe that’s why he was so beloved and had this bench put where it was. The bench presented a view of the unique character of this place, distinct from everywhere else, something that Ol’ Gilbert respected and knew was worth preserving. I sat and smiled at the tradition, the cows, the honest to God identity of this special piece of yummy cake.