The Tulip Festival

Temps in the high 70s were ever-so-welcome this weekend, as were Jennifer, Jeff, and Melina (JJM) who arrived for a visit Friday evening. Saturday was relaxed. We planted our veggie garden (tomatoes, cucs, squash, green onions; beans and lettuce already in and growing). Jeff tried Ray's roller blades, and Jennifer made a quick trip to visit a friend with a new baby. About 3 p.m. we followed JJM north to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for our first visit to its annual tulip festival.

This was, apparently, not an original idea. Half the valley population filled the single road leading from I-5 to the festivities and traffic was stop and go from Woodburn to the farm.

It seemed ironic that we were all in cars spewing carbon into the air on our way to see—nature? But by this time we were too committed to turn back. And it was worth doing, at least once. The flowers were gorgeous, the fun and games kept Melina happy, and the people watching was amazing.

I'm no judge of crowds but there were many hundreds at least—maybe thousands—representing numerous nationalities, languages, and costumes. There were Thais and Koreans, Mexicans and East Indians, Russians and Anglos. There were Old Believers and Hindus, Mennonites and Catholics, Buddhists and Moslems, Jews and nonbelievers. We saw people in shorts and tee-shirts and colorful saris and plain long dresses and heavy headscarfs and dirty baseball caps.

And all these people had driven miles through the heat to achieve a common goal: to see flowers, to smell flowers, to photograph their children and themselves surrounded by flowers; and to luxuriate in the warmth of the sun and the simple pleasures of buying food from a stall or watching a kid on a pony ride.

America has always been a melting pot, but now the newcomers are not Europeans, but people with different features and darker skins. Anglos will soon be the new minority. I know it's hard for some to accept, but we like this international, colorful, vital mix. And clearly, on this day, there was far more to share than divide us.

Jeff and Melina contemplate "the inflatable experience."

Jeff, Melina and Ray ponder the intricacies of duck racing.

Melina enjoys the pony ride.

Mt. Hood guards the horizon.

Paths and tractor trails led visitors through acres and
acres of blooming bulbs.

The cow train was popular.

Picture time!