Monday, June 8, 2015

As good as it gets

If I could pick a musical quote to open this post, it would be "Daniel" by The Bee Eaters. It's a sprightly C-Major blend of fiddle, cello, mandolin, and hammered dulcimer. It's bright, exuberant, chord-pickin' folk, and it's exactly what my weekend sounded like.

I spent it in the Corvallis area, at the home of my dear friends, the Hansens, Sephra and Lee. The Hansens used to live near Coos Bay, and we met at church. Every few weeks, they would invite me over to have dinner and hang out on the beach. I taught their daughter violin, and they took care of my car while I was in Norway.

There are a lot of parallels between the Hansen family and mine. Both Lee and my dad are engineers. The Hansens lived in Michigan for 6 years, just a 2-hour drive from where I grew up. Their kids are 5 years apart in age; my brother and I are 5 years apart. We share a love for Arnold Palmers, barbecues, and movie nights. We're the same in countless details - down to the fact that Sephra and my mom use the same laundry detergent, and both families have mastered the art of squealing into church at the last possible second.

You can maybe understand why visiting the Hansens feels a bit like going home. To me, their house is an oasis of all things familiar in the midst of this wacky, eclectic state. I step through the front door, and immediately, I'm transported back to my conservative suburban childhood, when the most important things in life were God, family, and school - in that exact order.

Sephra and Lee have never been anything but good to me. They feed me; they let me do laundry; they insist I'm always welcome, no matter how busy they are. They're the closest thing I have to family around here, and I love them for it. Let me tell you, friends, when the front door opens and a toddler squeals my name, when his sister tears like a bandit across the grassy field at Kinder Park to hug me, I can't help but wonder what I did right in life to deserve this. The Hansens are four genetically-related gemstones, and they are by far the best thing about my life in Oregon.

It's Sunday night in the Beaver State, and this weekend was just about as good as it gets.

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