A Mount Tabor Saturday: A puppy explores, friends laugh at passersby and a man hurries to his pregnant wife
Mount Tabor seemed more or less normal, with laughter, idle talk, and squeaking children mingling with the wind on a leisurely Saturday afternoon.
And everyone had a little story to tell.
A man introduced his three month old puppy in the park. Another was in a hurry to get to his wife, who was eight months pregnant. Two law students who hadn’t seen each other in a year could barely stop laughing.
Here’s what these seemingly happy people look like and what they have to say.
Eliza Sullivan and Shelby Long
The two law students hadn’t seen each other for almost a year and had a lot of catching up to do. But Eliza Sullivan, 29, and Shelby Long, 27, had plenty of opportunities to make a giggle or two between more serious conversations.
They laughed and doubled over where a “batty-looking” dog was walking its very old owner, and then tried again – several times – to explain why it was funny. The possibility that an apple one of them threw might have hit someone downstairs had a similar effect, as did the sight of a little girl dragging her purse across the concrete.
“They don’t sound funny out of context,” Sullivan said.
“No, no, not at all,” said Long.
Suddenly embarrassed, they got serious to describe the deep conversation they had about friendships before this reporter approached. They had a good occasion to talk about friendship: the two met in the six months of their law school before the lockdown in March 2020, and Saturday was their first face-to-face meeting in almost a year.
“But we’ll keep in touch,” said Long.
“Yes,” said Sullivan. “We just love each other.”
Robert Higgins, 71, lived an interesting life. The Portland man spent 15 years in Southeast Asia, he said, “as little as possible.” He has been a Buddhist for about 40 years and is considering packing up and going back to India.
He walks slowly, with the light support of a wooden stick. He suffered a serious fall that recently left him with more than 100 stitches while hiking. He is distinguished by his sun hat and the turquoise around his neck that a Tibetan lama gave him.
Higgins paused on the road to Mount Tabor to answer a few questions, and Higgins eyes were unusually focused and alert – unusual for the modern urban world – as he dropped interesting facts about his past travels and alluded to the many other stories that he had in stock.
For now, while the east seems to be calling, Higgins is delighted with the joys Portland has to offer almost after the pandemic. For the first time since at least March 2020, he heard live classical music on Saturday and attended an outdoor brass performance near the base of Mount Tabor.
“It’s great,” he said with an almost confused smile, the memory of what he experienced apparently still very fresh. “Fantastic.”
Dylan Malyszka and Emily Malyszka
Of the three mammals on the fence across from Mount Tabor Reservoir, the three-month-old puppy seemed to be having the best time.
While its owner checked his cell phone and his owner’s sister leaned against the fence, Lenny, a blue heeler, sniffed and reached for the grass that was twice his size. It was the first time the puppy has been to Mount Tabor, said Dylan Malyszka, who moved to Portland just before the pandemic broke out.
“He just wants to eat everything now,” said Malyszka. “He seems to vibrate with it.”
Malyszka is also ready to “vibrate with it” and finally feels that after a year he can explore Portland more or less inside. Friends would ask what he thought of the city and he would have very little to say.
“Everyone says, ‘How’s Portland doing?’” Malyszka said. “And I say ‘I don’t know.'”
Soraya Ghaemi ran up the paved road between the trees that led to the top of Mount Tabor and had a thought that stopped her.
The 23-year-old Portlander remembered something important the night before – that her boyfriend’s nickname for her, “Kiki,” was a real word, not just something he’d made up.
So Ghaemi took out her phone and called her friend to convey the message that “kiki” in Hindi is associated with the word “squeaky” and is associated with small talk in the south.
“He just thought it was funny,” she said.
However, when asked about the pandemic, Ghaemi got serious. She said she looked at all developments from the perspective of race and equality. That’s why she doesn’t change her pandemic habits until everyone is vaccinated, she said.
“We are in the whitest city,” said Ghaemi. “We’re just in our bladder.”
Domingo Gimenez tossed a soccer ball with his girlfriend’s son in the grass across from Mount Tabor’s main parking lot on Saturday.
Gimenez’s friend and family grilled sausages while Gimenez, 33, talked about how he looks forward to more and more restrictions being lifted as he awkwardly posed for photos in front of trees.
At first Gimenez tried hard to think of something to look forward to, other than good weather. Then it occurred to him: swimming pools.
But as much as can be expected for him in the months ahead, Gimenez seemed happy with the moment.
“I’m chilling now,” said Gimenez.
Phillip Andrews has been in shock for about eight months and will remain so for the next 20 years, he said.
But not because the world was turned upside down last year. After years of trying to get pregnant, his wife gives birth in July, something the 45-year-old, soon-to-be-first-time father, lost hope.
“At a certain point you just don’t expect it anymore,” said Andrews. “Even if you bring in a lot of positive things.”
Therefore, he and his blue heeler-collie mix Nahko were in a hurry to get to his wife, who was already in the park.
“It was a whirlwind,” said Andrews.
– Fedor Zarchin
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