A trip of a Lifetime ((can this count as 2 Tips of the Week?)) part one

A trip of a Lifetime ((can this count as 2 Tips of the Week?)) part one

When you hear nothing from me for this long of a stretch, you can be sure it is not for a lack of things to say, haha.  Words have been bursting forth in my mind, but time to sit and compose has been nonexistent. I am now home ((in Oklahoma)), and have a few spare moments to reflect on what I imagine will, for the rest of my days, be referred to as the trip of a lifetime.

IMG_4409Orcas Island is a tiny little piece of heaven formed from the volcanic activity of long ago, covered in evergreens that stretch to the heavens, surrounded by the frigid waters of the Strait of Georgia which is nestled beside the northwest tip of the continental United States – just a hop, skip and jump ((or in my case an emergency flight and a short car ride)) from the Canadian border.


My love for this seemingly secret place occurred at first sight 2 years ago to the day of my return. As the ferry took us further away from the place that won my heart, I begged David to promise me we would return – soon and often. He said yes and we began scrimping and accumulating airline miles with the sole purpose of coming back.


After a long string of months, our miles were banked, tickets booked and I was thrilled to be counting down the moments to our return. Surprisingly, I found myself feeling sad as our trip inched closer. A week or so before we flew north ((and west)), I told mom, “As I get closer to the trip, I am feeling less excited and increasingly sad…the closer we are to leaving also means I am getting closer to the trip being over.”  Mom understood – gave me a little pep talk & reminded me this trip is one of many happy returns to come.


I tucked my head down and started the laborious process of packing ((which I hate and made hubby do most of that job)) & accumulating recipes, menus and a few specific ingredients to help me work out all of my foodie dreams.


In a flash, we, along with David’s 18-year-old cousins, were boarding our plane and as the miles clicked our excitement grew. Plans to visit the Public Market, find some tasty treats, maybe a spoon from my “spoon guy” & then on the road to Anacortes were floating through my mind.


We landed and began checking our wishes off of our list. The Public Market was everything I knew it would be ((with the exception of our spoon guy who wasn’t to be found this day))  – and my grilled halibut sandwich still makes my mouth water as I recall it. The drive to Anacortes was breathtakingly scenic – evergreens, snow-capped purple mountains in the distance and log-filled wetlands. Small, simple towns that, in my eyes, have remained as pure, simple & idyllic as they were in the 1940’s & 1950’s.


We were thrilled to find an amazing open market, pushing only local produce just a few miles down the way from Mt. Vernon. The heirloom tomatoes were gorgeous, the sweet corn — amazing, but the blueberries?? Until you have tasted blueberries, picked only hours earlier from the farms of Mt. Vernon – you really haven’t tasted a blueberry. I think I could live on blueberries alone – I would at least love to try!


Before I knew it, we were back on the ferry – headed to Orcas. The two long years between the previous ferry ride and this one faded into a wisp because in my heart, I never left. All was right with the world. My spirit leapt, I was back to the place my heart calls home.


We set foot on the island and headed straight to the grocery store. I still knew right where everything was, aisle by aisle, I gathered the goodies that would help make all of my recipe dreams come true. Tillamook dairy items, the perfect mushrooms, fresh herb bundles as big as my head and thick slabs of locally smoked salmon — oh and bacon, lots of bacon. 

IMG_4205We wound around the wooded roads as the sun set, we made a few wrong turns & one by one, the kiddos faded off into sleep. Finally, we were home, we unloaded our bags, tucked the herd into their beds and at last I was only a few hours away from waking up at my favorite place in all of the world – Orcas.


Morning came and hungry stomachs came along with. A quick SOS text to my BFF, crying out for the best pancake recipe ever, and I was on my way to whipping up what truly were the best pancakes I have ever eaten ((some people may not agree — Allen, but we are just one pancake cook-off away from knowing the truth)). Just to rub in the fact that we were indeed in the Pacific northwest, I topped them off with warm Mt. Vernon Blueberry Gravy. ((ugh my mouth is watering again!!))


I am leaving out one little detail of the morning, Shep’s mouth began watering and his tum hurt as soon as he woke. He thought he may throw up. My first instinct at hearing this development: denial. I remember thinking “This CAN.NOT happen”. As the morning progressed, it was evident, denial was not a place I could stay. Shep was sick, very sick and he needed my help and companionship.


I sent the herd, David & his cousins down to explore the tide pools and shoreline. I stayed with my boy, rubbing his back as he threw up, laying my hands on him in prayer as I pleaded with the Creator to stop the progression and spread of this wretched stomach bug.


Shep’s illness continued into the evening, the herd returned from their exploration of the seashore and I started dinner. David offered to take over the next day’s “sick-ward” shift. I couldn’t stand the idea of having fun without Shep but more than that – I had a strong urge to have my eyes on him. I couldn’t leave him. We moved him in to sleep with us that night.

IMG_4213About 2 in the morning, Shep woke us up. “Mom, I wanted to let you sleep, but my stomach hurts too bad. Do you have any medicine for me?” I told him ‘they’ don’t make throw up medicine and that I thought the throw up was turning into diarrhea. “Shepy, I know that hurts bad, but I don’t have any medicine to fix it.” I held him and prayed aloud and sang to him over the next three hours.

At one point, I grew concerned that it may be his appendix. I gently pressed his lower right quadrant  – he winced. I continued to move up and over, everywhere I pressed he winced. I ended by gently pressing his lower left quadrant, he winced. I breathed a sigh of relief – his pain was not isolated to the lower right quadrant — no appendicitis.

IMG_4185Three hours of sitting by him passed & I asked him if I could go back to sleep. He seemed to be ever so slightly more comfortable and he agreed, thinking he could fall asleep. I woke a few hours later to find out he had only slept about an hour and was still throwing up. David again offered to stay with Shep so I could go to the ocean. I tearfully agreed, Shep’s throwing up had decreased a bit.


But things didn’t seem right. Shep still felt horrible and I noticed, he now felt warm. I decided to call my pediatrician. After a detailed explanation of his symptoms, the nurse reminded me that canned peach syrup can sooth an upset tummy. I immediately sent David into town to grab some cans of peaches. 30 minutes later, David returned with one can of peaches. He had forgotten his wallet and had to beg the clerk to let him leave with the one can, promising to return and purchase the remaining groceries.


While he was gone on his second trip to the store, the nurse and I spoke again. My pediatrician had agreed to call in a script for phenagrin.  David ((who was now waiting at the pharmacy in hopes that the ped would comply)) immediately picked it up and headed home.


IMG_4367Shep felt almost immediate relief and within 30 minutes of his first dose & he felt the urge to pee. But he couldn’t. And with that – an alarm went off in my heart. ((to be continued))