Oregon Adventures Entry for October 31, 2007

With many of the events involved in launching a new book already in the past, this week I'm planning to take a deep breath and catch up on activities I've put off.

It's time to finish the book laying on my desk at the ready. The book is Clearing in the Wild by Jane Kirkpatrick. This is the first in a series of three historical novels involving a religiously tied group of people from Bethel, Missouri, making their way west. Their purpose is to form a new colony free from the constraints of the established confines of their neighbors and to avoid the possibility of being drawn into the looming civil war.

Jane's ability to recreate our world on paper shines through this book and her characters as they arrive in their new west coast home.

As I read of the young mother, Emma and her view of life in the coastal forest, there was one scene that caused me to laugh. Emma and her toddler son, Andy, spent considerable time outdoors. She was occupied with work and was pleased when he was content. Andy discovered the huge slugs common to our coastal forests. He was fascinated with them and she, accepting.

A much more generous reaction to the three or four inch long creatures (Banana Slugs) than I have now, or ever did. An emigrant from southern California, my first experience with the monstor slugs came about on our first family camping trip to an Oregon State Park along the Oregon coast.

I had packed our fresh produce into one of the early foam chests which I left sitting on the camp picnic table while the family crawled into our cozy tent for the night. When I opened the chest for breakfast fruit, I found slugs had moved in and were enjoying the feast. It wasn't a calm, quiet discovery. They were a shock and, in my view, exceedingly ugly. The chest and everything in it went to the trash disposal and we ate canned vegetables for the rest of that trip.

Of course, that wasn't my last experience with the creatures.

2007-10-31 14:45:39 GMT
Jo-Brew is now a columnist for the Creswell Chronicle.

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