By Ashley Lodato
It has been a good spring for seeing old familiar faces and places. Susan Prichard was in McMinnville, Oregon, delivering a series of lectures about fire ecology at Linfield College. Her visit included a faculty dinner with the college’s environmental studies and biology professors, where she was told she was to be introduced to Linfield’s newest member of the faculty. When Susan glanced up, she was surprised and delighted to see that the professor was one of her best friends from college — Gregor Yanega — with whom she had lost touch.
Gregor, now a biology professor, was also good friends with Laura Gunnip at Evergreen, and Laura and Susan are hatching a plan to get up him to the Methow for a visit this summer.
Meanwhile, Dave and Marilyn Sabold took a three-week road trip through Washington, Oregon and California. They garnered some good karma before they even hit Highway 97, by picking up a young hitchhiker, who turned out to be Bud Pringle’s grandson. They made it to Bend that evening and enjoyed time with friends, departing for California after two days, but not before giving their friends’ backyard apple trees a significant pruning.
The Monterrey Bay area treated the Sabolds well, with walks on the beach, a hike through redwoods on Santa Cruz Conservancy property, and a day at the amazing Monterrey Bay Aquarium. (Had I known they were headed that way I would have told them to connect with my old college pal and crew boat-mate who is the senior aquarist at Monterrey Bay!) Dave remarked that the aquarium is “an outstanding human achievement for as long as cheap electric power remains available.”
Two weeks into the trip, the Sabolds headed into the hills to the sentimental destination of their road trip — the Yosemite Valley, where they were married in 1966. Rain and hail greeted them in the valley, but the wet weather passed quickly and perhaps provided a metaphor for the fleeting storms that sometimes darken a relationship before the skies clear and bring back sunshine and light.
After lunch at the Swinging Bridge, the Sabolds went to the Yosemite Valley Chapel, the site of their wedding 50 years ago. As they entered the chapel, there was a woman playing a hymn on the piano. It turns out that she and her husband had married in the chapel 25 years ago to the day. Thus there were two couples celebrating milestone anniversaries in that little chapel.
The couples took photos of each other, and Dave says “I recalled the tears coming down my face at our wedding photo op outside the chapel. A dust puff got into my new hard glass contact lenses. The tears this time did not come from dust.” Later, Marilyn and Dave walked behind the chapel to share olive bread and zinfandel.
The Sabolds spent the next few days visiting favorite Yosemite haunts: Yosemite Falls, Mirror Lake, and Vernal and Nevada Falls. On their last day in the park, they stopped at the visitor center and watched a ranger knapping obsidian. Upon learning about the Sabolds’ 50th anniversary, he gave them the arrowhead as a gift.
After a leisurely drive back to the Methow Valley, the Sabolds were delighted to arrive home to a clean house, a profusion of flowers, and a full pond — more metaphors for a long and happy marriage.