Anyway, over the years I would get to spend a weekend there with my Uncle, who was just two years older than me. We would sit on the unfinished floor, legs dangling from the support beams, smoking joints and listening to Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton and Led Zeppelin. The work was slow, but the cabin was eventually finished. It had a very strange layout. I think it was a sort five-sided affair with a deck going about halfway around it. My last time with her, she had advanced bone cancer. I asked her if she wanted to drive to the Vista House, high above the Columbia, overlooking Rooster Rock, where we had many nice memories. She had fallen asleep next to me as I drove, and after I had parked I went around, opened the passenger door, and helped her walk to the stone wall, and with the wind blowing fiercely, we admired the view in silence. On the drive to the coast we stopped at the hospital to pick up her meds. I remember it was taking forever for her to get her insurance card, but she was determined and wanted no help.
At the cabin I helped her up the stairs and to the bedroom. She had taken up painting before she got ill, and the walls were covered with them. I pointed out my favorite, an owl with beams shooting from its eyes. Just like Grammy, she said, “Oh that one is a trip”. The wig she wore at this point was inconsistent with the woman I remembered, and she took it off before going to sleep. I said to her, “Grammy, you shouldn't wear that thing, without it you look like Annie Lennox” She giggled, most likely knowing it was a compliment, but probably did not know who Annie Lennox was.
As I write this over ten million acres of forest has burned to the ground. The heavy rain last night has given respite from weeks of smoke so heavy at times I could not see down the block. The air is fresh again for a moment at least, but it did not save Grammy's beach house, which was engulfed in flame yesterday.