The days went by at a mind numbingly slow speed. All I could think about was recovering as fast as I can in order to hit the road again. I was taking a ton of ibuprofen to counteract the swelling occurring on both wrists and knee. I was religiously following the RICE procedure for all limbs (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). I was cleaning and redressing all my scrapes twice a day.
My host led quite an active lifestyle. She spent much of her time outside of her home, volunteering for a local boy scout troop, tending to an extensive backyard garden, taking part in the city community, and so on. Since she was out for most of the day, I was accompanied by an adorable kitten she rescued named Niwa Neko (Garden cat in Japanese) and her beautiful black lab named Annie. Neko for short, was named Niwa Neko because she was found in my host’s garden alone at just a few weeks old. Neko and Annie were my companions anytime I was bored and I managed to limp out of my room to the living room. There was an anxiety being with them. Neko because she was a curious kitten that pounced at anything that seemed strange, so my bandaged knee was a target. Annie because she was a dog full of energy and constant excitement. Here is an excessive number of pictures of me kicking it with the housemates.
I also spent a lot of time with my host’s younger brother, Doug. He was a jovial man who made visits several times during the week to check on me. Instead of calling me by my name, he exclusively called me by the name “Peg Leg” because of my regular limp. He shared much of the history of his small town as well as stories about his family. One story I distinctly remember was from when his dad was just barely a teenager about 90 years ago. His younger brother and he rode bicycles down to the Californian border from the northwestern corner of Oregon with five dollars to spend between the two of them. It’s amazing how capable a person can be, however big or small, if given the chance. Doug drove me around the neighboring towns and beautiful vistas in his classic Chevy Suburban.