Surprise! I'm back.
The person most surprised is me. I was resigned to spending this trip to southern Oregon sans computer.
But my brilliant brother saved the day. By uninstalling some drivers, I fooled my computer into finding my wireless card. At least, until the next Windows update.
I drove to southern Oregon with my mother on Saturday afternoon. Earlier in the week, I tried to make reservations in Myrtle Point -- the nearest town to Powers with a motel. Like Joseph and Mary, we found there was no room at the inn. Or anywhere else in town. It was fair weekend.
That was mixed news. It meant we would need to find a room about a half hour away in Coos Bay, but I would be able to relive one of The Annual Social Events of my youth -- the Coos County Fair.
The lady at the motel offered to put us on a wait list, but offered little hope. On the drive down, I called, and she was so impressed with my patience, she gave us a room that had been set aside.
So, we had a room. Mere blocks from the fairgrounds.
One of the advantages of traveling with your mother (well, at least, my mother) is you get a guided tour of your life -- free of charge. The fields where I wandered off as a two-year old, and the highway I walked down the middle of. The restaurant where my aunt worked -- and is now a laundromat. The site of our arsonist-targeted tire shop.
But that was the past. We had a live bit of history to attend. My mother and I are rodeo fans. And the Coos County Fair has long had one of the state's best rodeos.
When we arrived, we could hear the crowd roaring. But we also heard loud engines.
It turns out the rodeo was only on one night -- Friday night. Tonight was tractor pull night. Not really our cup of entertainment tea.
So, we wandered the fairway. Watched the kids on the rides. Smiled at the teenagers trying to be adults. Toured the art and photography exhibit.
It was OK. But, like everything, it never quite lives up to our memories.
What we both noticed, though, was the absence of parental-hovering over children. These kids -- of all ages -- were on their own. All having a good time. Not living in fear of some ill-defined threat to their existence.
It is the same attitude I see amongst Mexican children. They look out for one another -- with little fear of life.
And both groups are creating some nice memories of their own Social Events of the year.
Tomorrow -- my reunion adventures in Powers.