Kaiser's Pavilion

by Bensiamin

Chapter 15

Two weeks later and it was the Friday before mid-terms when Matt called to tell them that everything had been finalized, that the pavilion components had all been fabricated, and that installation would take place the next week.

"Geez, Matt. That seems fast. Like it was only a few weeks ago that you showed us the drawings."

"Well, actually it was a month ago, but time flies when you're having fun, right?"

"Okay, but tell me what happened that I didn't know about."

"Well, after the hospital dude told Mrs. Koenig the pavilion was a go, we got a subcontract from the general contractor. Remember we had them review the plans? So, anyway since they're not paying for it, they just turned it over to us. We had a meeting about location and placement details and my boss got the project. Within a couple of days, he had the plans in the hands of the main steel fabricating company we use. The frame and roof structure are all steel and are powder coat painted which means they'll stand up to the weather. Then on top of that goes steel roofing with some cool glass panels for light."

"That sounds even better than the drawings looked."

"It'll be really cool. Hunter green frame and roof that'll set off the glass panels. Then there'll be some built in benches and stuff."

"Very cool."

"So next week, it'll only take two days to place the frame and mount the roof framing because the frame will be bolted down to the concrete pad in the courtyard. That means end of day on Tuesday the frame will be all up." Matt paused for effect and then added, "maybe we should all stop by on our way home from school."

"It's a light week with finals. I've got the afternoon free, and I bet Eric does too. What about you PSU guys?"

"I'll find out tomorrow and let you know. This isn't a complicated project, so there shouldn't be any schedule problems."

"Sounds like a plan. Roger and I are going to the club tomorrow night. Do you and Jessica want to meet us there?"

"Let me ask her. We haven't been in a while. Could be fun. I'll call you back about that."

By the time Matt called back saying they'd meet them at the club, Jerrod had called Eric and he and Kim were in as well. Nate wanted to join them, and it would the first time back for him since Spring break when Michael visited. Nate's mom had agreed to let Nate drive the Volvo so he could pick up Stewart and Logan, and Matt and Jessica wouldn't have to provide taxi service.

Nate, walking closely with Stewart and Logan, were the last to arrive, a little after eight o'clock. The earlier arrivals had pulled two tall tables together near the wall away front the dance floor, and waved the late arrivals over.

The three of them walked up looking like old friends. "Look at you guys," Roger commented enthusiastically. "You look like old buds."

Nate grinned at him. "We're one big happy family. I'd be even better if my boyfriend was here."

"How'd that work out?" Roger asked.

"He told me to come and do some dancing with these guys."

Stewart laughed. "I called him to be sure, and make sure he wasn't jealous or something, and he said he was more worried about Nate staying home alone and sulking."

"No way, I don't sulk," Nate replied.

"What ever," Stewart responded, "but he wanted you involved and it's pretty cool that it's teen night and we can all relax. And it looks like we're the only high school students hanging out with the college crowd."

Everyone bumped fists, and then Logan said, "Really, you guys, meeting you here when Roger came up to us that night has been a turning point. We're both in the LGB club at school, we've come out to a few other people and now our parents have met each other and that's cool."

"Really?" Jerrod's eyebrows went up.

"Yeah, but it wasn't all that comfortable all the time," Logan replied. "You should have been there when my parents invited Stewart and his parents over for dinner. And then his parents did the same thing." He rolled his eyes. "Talk about tense."

"Why tense? Were they quizzing you about your relationship?" Eric asked.

"Almost! It was more like just general discussion, and then got into healthy practices and how to avoid getting into trouble, and that was totally uncomfortable."

Stewart pulled Logan over in a hug and said, "But, they didn't give us the third degree on if or how we were having sex, or if we were using condoms. They let that go with telling us to be safe and healthy, and the result is they all approve of our relationship."

"You're a lucky pair," Matt said. "Now, I came here to dance, so I'm taking my girlfriend out there for a workout!"

Jessica smiled and rolled her eyes as he pulled her onto the dance floor by her hand. As they walked away, Stewart added, "We needed Nate and Michael to clue us in about enemas and getting clean. I guess you guys clued them in."

"Yep," Jerrod said, "and David and Jackson clued us in. Our first night together was at their house and they had lube, condoms and an enema bulb in the bedside table for us. So, you know, you pass it on and help the next generation." He grinned wickedly and added, "Let's dance."

The next day was Saturday, and when Jerrod and Roger walked into the kitchen for a late breakfast, David and Jackson were still reading the newspaper. As they sat down Jerrod said, "Are you excited?"

Jackson grinned like a kid at Christmas. "Yeah, you know it. Dad called an hour ago and said he got an early start and was in Centralia. That's an hour north of Vancouver, so he should be here in another hour or so."

Roger smiled at him. "You look so happy. Is it contagious?"

Jackson grinned back and said, "This has been a long time coming." He looked over at David and added, "Am I right?"

"You are, and you're entitled to be as excited as you want to be. This kind of familial reconnection is epic. It reminds me of when you first met your father."

Jackson looked back at Jerrod and Roger and said, "JC told me there'd be a surprise arriving with him."

"What does that mean? Is he bringing a lady friend?" Jerrod smiled wickedly.

"No, I don't think he's there yet." He set two cups of coffee down on the table as David plated breakfast. "He said he traded his Dodge sedan in for a pickup."

Jerrod looked surprised. "A pickup truck! That's rad. Why'd he do that?"

"He said you and me have SUV's and it seemed like there ought to be a pickup in the family."

"Ever the practical one," David added as he sat down. "He's probably thinking about making trips to the dump with trash or runs to the lumber store."

"Good point on the lumber yard," Jackson added. "Strapping plywood on the roof of the Durango was not a fun experience."

Jerrod and Roger started eating and the conversation turned to the week's events and Kaiser's recovery.

"He's looking pretty good to us," Jerrod said. He glanced over at Roger who added, "We've been really careful and so has he. He seems to know that when he's got the shoulder brace on, he has to be cool. He hasn't done a single bad move, so we're pretty hopeful. We take him back to the vet on Wednesday."

They were back in Jerrod's room when they heard Jackson call out from the living room, "JC's here." Then there was a pause and he added, "Oh my god! What is that he's got with him?" They heard the front door open and then slam shut, and headed down to find out what was going on.

When they stepped onto the front porch, they saw David and Jackson standing side by side talking to a grinning JC at the curb. They were next to a new Dodge Ram pickup truck that had a second set of seats and was obviously four-wheel drive. Connected to it was a U-Haul vehicle towing trailer and on it was sitting an old muscle car. They looked at each other and Roger said, "What is that?"

"I don't know," Jerrod replied, "but it looks very cool. Let's go find out."

When they walked up to the group on the curb, the conversation was animated and they naturally gave JC a hug as he was commenting, "So, like I was saying, I sold my house for a great price and had money left over after paying for the house down here and paying cash for the truck. Then I got a call from the wife of a guy I knew from work who had partially restored this. He was another helicopter pilot who died a few months ago of cancer. He knew I was a Mopar guy, and I'd gone over a couple of times to see the car, but after I took over flight operations and stopped flying, he and I didn't see much of each other. She called me after the funeral, and she said her husband wanted it to go to someone who'd appreciate it and take care of it and asked me if I wanted to buy it."


"Absolutely. I told her I was moving down here, that my son had a 1970 Challenger, I haven't had a car like this since I got back from Viet Nam, but then when I started flying full time, I didn't have the time. Anyway, I told her it would give us something in common and she said then that I had to buy it, and the rest is history."

"But what is it?" Roger looked at JC plaintively. "I don't know much about cars."

Jerrod nudged him and said, "You can see what it is by reading the logo in that bumble bee stripe that wraps about the back end."

"Ahh. So, it's a Super Bee." He looked at JC. "Is it like Jackson's Challenger?"

"Well, yes and no," JC said. "The Super Bee was based on the Dodge Coronet model. The Challenger was a different model, meaning different body and frame. The could share the same drive trains and especially engines, because they were all Dodge vehicles. But you can see it has a completely different body style from the Challenger. It's a body style that came between the mid-60's Coronet and Belvedere models that had a more squared off front and sharper angles on the rear roof line. This body style has more curves in the look of the front end and the rear windows. What do you think?"

"I think the color is totally chill," Jerrod said. "But what's with the scoops?"

"Well, the higher performance models has these air induction scoops. You can see this is a 383 Magnum. You could order the performance versions with a 426 or 440 engine, but this was the high-end version in the 383 engine." He paused and looked at his son. "It's kind of like Jackson's Challenger. It's a performance muscle car, but not with the crazy and over the top power plants."

Jackson asked him about the engine and specs, and they heard JC describe how the model used the 440 Magnum heads, camshaft and exhaust manifolds and was rated at 335 horsepower. He went on, "My friend had it for over fifteen years, and had the engine rebuilt because the prior owners had done a lot of highway racing. It's still the original paint which is weak, and the interior is showing it's age, but hey! I'm retired now and this'll give me a project."

He turned to Roger and Jerrod who were looking at the interior and said, "I'm glad you guys like the color. It's pretty cool in dark blue with the black Magnum scoops, isn't it? They both nodded and JC went on, "Now we've got enough vehicles that we can all go out for those Saturday cruises together."

Jerrod grinned and said, "Can we see the engine?"

"Yeah, but first you guys need to help me get it off the trailer. I rented it last night and loaded the Bee so I could get an early start this morning, and I've got to turn it in this afternoon, so I don't get charged for an extra day." He looked at Jackson and David, "Sorry for there being two vehicles tying up the street in front of your house for a few weeks."

"Not to worry," David said. "This seems like a worthwhile and fun undertaking."

Jackson added, "I'll pull my Durango out here and park it on the street with your pickup. David's BMW is in the garage with the Challenger. You park the Super Bee behind the Challenger, and that way David can get in and out no problem. Jerrod leaves before us in the morning, so there should be no problem, right?" He looked around with a grin on his face, and got nods of agreement from David and Jerrod.

He went on, "Maybe we should all go out for breakfast to Elmos Pancake House in Sandy in the morning. You know, we'll drive the Challenger and the Super Bee. It'll be a hoot, don't you think?"

"I think it sounds like a fabulous idea," Roger added, but don't forget we work at the hospital in the afternoon." They unstrapped the Bee from the trailer and JC climbed up, got inside and turned the key. It rumbled to life and Jerrod and Roger looked at each other and grinned. "Jackson, that sounds wicked. How do you think it'll compare to your Challenger?"

"I don't know, and it does sound mean. Right now, we've got to get it off the trailer with no damage. You two go a couple of car lengths in each direction in the street in case someone comes by that isn't paying attention. I'll guide Dad off from the rear."

The drive for breakfast the next day was a hoot. Jerrod and Roger rode in the Bee with JC on the way out, and switched with David on the drive home. "It's too bad you don't get to ride in your dad's Super Bee," Jerrod said teasingly.

Jackson just grinned at him. "What do you think I'm going to be doing while you're at the hospital?" Then he added, "If the weather's good next Saturday, I'm calling Will to get over here with his Nova and we'll all do a lube, oil and filter exercise and then go for another drive. What'a ya think?"

"Sounds like a killer plan to me!"

The next week was a whirlwind with mid-terms on top of Tuesday's visit to the hospital to inspect the pavilion construction, and then Wednesday to the vet with Kaiser. It seemed like their was barely time to take their exams!

The visit to the hospital didn't take long. Jerrod and Roger picked up Matt since he had a hospital parking sticker on the Cherokee, and when they got to the courtyard Matt found the Behlen construction supervisor and introduced himself and then Jerrod and Roger.

"Good to meet you boys. As you can see, everything's going according to plan. We got all the fabricated steel moved in with forklifts this morning since the main construction project isn't finished and we had clear access on the north end. Assembly of the frame is just about done, as in a dozen more bolts and we're done for the day. It's already bolted down to the concrete pad. Our deal was two days of disruption, and we'll have the roof frame on in the morning and then the roofing panels on in the afternoon, and then Bob's your uncle and we're out of here and heading to McMenamins for a brew." He grinned widely.

Matt said how much they appreciated he and his crew being on their game and on schedule. "Did you have any issues when you got here to start?"

"No, no issues. I checked in with the project manager for the general contractor, and he told me what the plan was. We had a laugh or two."


"Yeah, really. You know the deal, 'cause you work for Behlen in the summer. We're construction workers and we know our trade and do great work. It seems it was a lot of fun for the general contractor to have the hospital admin and facilities guys kind of tell them there had been a change in plans and try to make it sound like this was all their idea?"

"I bet!" Matt looked at Jerrod and Roger and grinned knowingly.

"You bet is right! Those exec types are so full of shit their eyes are brown. Me and the boys know what went down, so we're all about getting it done right and ahead of schedule just to show them. You and me work for the same guy, and he has high standards." He looked the three boys over and then added, "We pretty well know what went down, and what you guys pulled off to get this pavilion in here was damn impressive. My hat's off to you!" With that he tapped his hard hat and said, "Now, I've got to get back to work."

On the drive home they all joked about what it would have looked like watching the hospital execs eat crow, but Roger finally said, "It would have been fun, but the important thing is that we got what's maybe the best outcome because everyone pulled together and made it happen in spite of them. Now, let's hope Kaiser's vet appointment tomorrow goes as well."

"Right, and then there's mid-terms as well," Matt added almost casually, "but first things first, right?"

The vet appointment was something of a non-event in as much as Kaiser had been a good patient and Roger and Jerrod had been diligent in his care and preventing him from reinjuring himself. The vet spent time making clear that the healing had gone very well, but they had another six to eight weeks of slowly bringing Kaiser back up to normal activity levels to minimize the risks of reinjury. "The thing you've got to keep in mind is that until this is completely healed and he's back to normal, if he does reinjure, the odds are good that it'll be worse than the first injury. So, go slow and careful. Get to the beginning of summer with no bad events and he should be good to go."

And that's what happened. The second half of spring term seemed more challenging academically than the first half, and with the fundraiser out of the way it wasn't difficult to settle down and focus on academics. Jerrod still called his parents every Sunday, and the call after the fundraiser was a lengthy one about the planning, the event itself, and how well it had all gone. They were pretty pleased to learn he'd been on TV with Roger!

After his heart-to-heart conversations with Matt and David and Roger, he found himself being more open about what he was going through. Part of that was letting them know that he was getting close to having to decide on a major course of study, and though they responded neutrally, he still wasn't able to tell them all the details he was wrestling with. There was general discussion about plans for the summer, talk of maybe another sailing trip on the east coast, but nothing definite was decided.

The following Sunday, after they'd caught up on the past week, Jerrod's father asked, "How would you and Roger like to do something completely different this summer. Something that has to do with boats and the sea, but different?"

"Dad, that sounds like a leading question. Can you give me any more details?"

Jerrod's father chuckled and said, "Certainly. I've always wanted to see Alaska, and I've convinced your mother it would be fun and pleasurable as long as it didn't involve sled rides to Mount McKinley."

"Sled rides in the summer?"

"Well, son, you get my drift. Nothing too arduous. Lots of scenery but no back country stuff. So, I'm proposing a cruise out of Seattle. We'd book a seven-day cruise with four ports of call in Ketchikan and then Juneau, with a side trip to Skagway, the gold rush era town. Then the final port would be Victoria in British Columbia and back to Seattle. What do you think?"

"Wow! It sounds very cool and kind of ritzy and probably expensive. Are you sure you want us along with you on what kind of sounds like a second honeymoon cruise."

"I'm absolutely certain I want you along, and so does your mom. It would be an opportunity for us all to be together for a week. I know we speak often, but you live on the west coast. We had a great sailing trip last summer but that was you, me and Roger and your mom was left out. You boys would have your own stateroom so we wouldn't be on top of each other. How does that sound?"

"It sounds really interesting," Jerrod said. He paused and then added, "I'll have to talk to Roger, of course. Then to David and Jackson 'cause they'll have to take care of the dogs. Then to Andrea, the therapy dog program manager, to find out when we can take a week off. We're full time this summer, so it shouldn't be hard, but it'd have to be scheduled. How soon do you need to know?"

"Well, I have to make reservations, so the sooner the better."

"I'll call Roger now and talk to David and Jackson tonight. Then tomorrow I'll talk to Andrea and call you back, how's that?"

"Sounds splendid. I'm pleased you find the idea attractive."

"Like you said, Dad, it's different, it'll be fun, and we all get to spend time together."

After they hung up, Jerrod walked into the living room where David, Jackson and JC were talking about his move into the new house the next week. He sat down and listened, and in a couple of minutes JC said, "What's up? Are you volunteering to help me move in?"

"If I can make the time, sure… as long as I get to drive the Bee. Speaking of which, when do I get to drive the Bee? Jackson's let me drive the Challenger, you know."

"I do know, and trust me, driving the Bee is on the list. We'll work it out. Now, you came in here for a reason, and I doubt it had to do with helping me move."

Jerrod grinned, then looked at David and Jackson and relayed the conversation he'd just had with his dad. "What do you think?"

"You really want to know what I think?" David said?

Suddenly Jerrod was nervous. "Yeah, that's why I asked."

"I think it's incredibly gracious and magnanimous. They want to do something new and different, and they want to include you but also give you and Roger your own space. The part about all four of you spending time together is a really positive sign, don't you think?"

Jerrod smiled softly, "Yeah, I mean on a cruise you're with all these other people for meals, and on the deck and on the trips and stuff, so I'm thinking they know we'll be holding hands and stuff, so there's no denying their son has a boyfriend and is gay. That means they've accepted us and who we are and that we're part of their life and they're part of ours."

"That sums it up exactly. Go call Roger and let us know what he says."

"And you'd be okay with taking care of the dogs while we're gone?"

Jackson grinned at him and said, "We can work it out. Also, we now have a back up in the person of JC here." He nodded at his dad and went on, "by summer he should be all settled and will have time on his hands and some dog sitting will be right up his alley."

"I'm getting along just fine with these dogs," JC added, "so go call Roger and put the deal together."

Roger's reaction was much the same, and when they spoke to Andrea the next day, they learned that June and July would be difficult, but she could arrange any week in August. Jerrod called his dad to let him know and got a positive response from his dad that he had an entire month to work with.

JC's move in was pretty straight forward since he'd had a moving company pack and store his house furnishings in Seattle and then arranged for delivery and unpacking in Portland. Jackson took a couple of days from work to help with the details, like running to the hardware store for small items, hanging pictures and paintings and organizing the kitchen.

The night of the second move in day was to be JC's first night in his new house, and David had arranged to pick up take-out Thai from their favorite local restaurant and they ate in JC's kitchen.

Jerrod asked him how he was feeling, and he said, "Well, besides starting a new phase of my life, I feel like I've got a new lease on life in a way. I'm here with my son and his boyfriend. My sister's only an hour away. You two are like my grandsons and you're close by. And, perhaps most importantly, we have four Mopar vehicles between us and only one of those German vehicles." He grinned as he looked at David.

David wasn't disturbed in the least. "You've driven all of BMWs I've owned, and as I recall, you've been equally impressed with the performance and comfort of each one going all the way back to the 2002. Am I right?"

"You are. They're still not Mopar vehicles though, you know."

"Oh, I know. However, if I was to abandon BMW's then I would likely put my friendship with Dieter at risk. That would likely mean no more sweet deals, and worse yet, probably the end of a week at their beach house in the summer. You wouldn't want to inflict that kind of penalty on all of us, would you?" He paused and then added, "Especially since this summer will be the first time you join us for the week down at their beach house."

He grinned conspiratorially, and JC smiled back in submission. "You make good points. I'm already looking forward to that week at the beach. Even though there are great beaches in Washington, it was another one of those things I never really had time for."

"Don't feel bad. Jackson and I could probably afford a beach place if we wanted it, but we've got this place to take care of, and why would we want to pile on the responsibility of a second house with the maintenance and repairs. That's what makes Dieter's offer so appealing."

Jackson looked at his dad and said, "Since this is your first summer not working, have you thought about anything special you'd like to do?"

JC grinned. "Well, I figure I'll be plenty busy getting this place under control. Then there's the dog sitting I just got signed up for. The lady who helped with with the interior decorating does landscape design and she had a bunch of suggestions about re-doing some of the front yard and improving the garden in the back." He paused and then added, "But you know what I'd really like to do now that we're all so close together?"

"What's that?"

"Have a family reunion. I mean one that includes all of us and my sister and her family if they can make it, and Roger's parents, of course, and Gary and Lois and their kids. I haven't seen Gary for a few years. Does that sound like a good idea?"

"It does." Jackson looked at David and then Jerrod and Roger. "Does it sound fun to you guys?

Jerrod nodded and Roger said, "I've never been to a family reunion. All my family is in Switzerland, and I've rarely seen them, remember? It sounds cool to me."

David added, "Then I think we have an agreement. We'll have to get to work on the logistics, like where to have it, what kind of event, what kind of food, etc. That shouldn't be hard though." He pushed a plate of food into the center of the table and said, "Now, we all need to have some of this Pad Thai!"

The next night over dinner Jerrod looked at Jackson and said, "Are you missing your dad already?"

Jackson tried to look casual, but said, "Yeah, having him here the last three weeks was great. I mean we always got together once or twice a year, but it was usually for just a few days, or on a camping or fishing trip, but this was different. I know he's only ten minutes away, but it was really great having him be part of our household and having so much time with him."

"I'm guessing I'll be feeling something like that after the cruise this summer, if it all goes well. Other than last summer's sailing trip, I haven't spent any real time with my parents for almost two years."

"Well, absence does make the heart grow fonder, you know"

Jerrod smiled back and then said, "So, what are we thinking about for the family reunion?"

"Well, funny you should ask," Jackson replied. "I did some research on the internet at work today, and with dad's sister and her family down in McMinnville and all of us up here in Portland, I was thinking maybe some place cool in the middle."

He grinned at David and wiggled his eyebrows.

"You don't mean in Newberg, do you?" David sounded surprised and then said, "That would be stepping back in time."

"No, not Newberg. No way! But since we lived there there's been a ton of improvements at Champoeg State Park across the river. Do you remember we used to go there on day trips to ride our bikes or hike?"

David nodded and said, "I remember it was a very nice park, spread out along the Willamette, and we had great times there."

"Well, there's now two RV campground loops with a lot of spaces for campers and trailers. There's also six small cabins and six yurts."

"Yurts?" Jerrod looked blank

"Yeah, yurts. The were invented in Mongolia. Think round structures with a domed roof. Each one sleeps four, two in bunks and two in a fold out futon. They've each got a porch and table and chairs and maybe most importantly, they all have electricity. The cabins are already booked all summer, but there's a couple of weekends when three or four yurts are still available."

"So, we'd be camping but we don't have to be setting up tents and sleeping on the ground?"

Jackson looked back at David and said, "Yep, that's it. Some of us are old enough now that sleeping on the ground isn't that attractive. Newberg and St. Paul are close by so that means stores and gas. There's a winery nearby and even more over by Newberg. There's a 40-acre dog park, and lots of trails to hike or ride bikes."

"Sounds like you've already got your heart set on it," David said softly.

"Well, not for certain. Everyone has to agree, but it's an hour away for us, less for dad's sister. It's close for Gary and Lois and I'm betting they won't want to stay overnight. If Will and Sam want to come along with Roger's parents, then it seems to me it'd be fabulous if we can book four of the yurts for a weekend and everyone will have a base of operations."

He looked back and forth between Jerrod and David. Finally, David said, "Who have you talked to so far?"

"No one. I was researching it this afternoon."

"Well then, it seems to me you need to call JC and his sister. Jerrod needs to call Roger and his parents, and I'll call Will and Sam. We need to have basic agreement ASAP, or those yurts could be gone pretty darn quick."

They spent the next hour on the phone and had basic agreement from everyone for a weekend in July. Jackson said, "That means four yurts. I'm going to see if the park's on-line reservation system works tonight with our slow internet connection, and if I can do it from here. If not, I'll be on the phone with the park first thing in the morning."

The good news the next day was that he was able to book four yurts for the third weekend in July. Which somehow seemed to add more momentum to the pace at which the second half of spring quarter was proceeding. Thursday with Sean and his mom had broadened so that Sean wasn't almost exclusively focused on throwing the ball for a dog to retrieve, but had started walking with Kaiser and either Roger or Jerrod as they exercised him, was learning broader training commands and was participating in his rehab. It was almost as if now that he'd proven to himself and to others that he was an athlete in his own way, he could relate to the injury another athlete had experienced and wanted to be part of the recovery.

The new pavilion was a hit all around, from a design and functional point of view, and Steve the news reporter had even come back to do a follow up piece that included Roger and Jerrod along with Kaiser and Chloe. This time, though, they'd arranged for Andrea as well as Suzanne and Rufus to be part of the interview, and Steve had followed them around as they visited patients who were well on their way to recovery. The coverage ended up being a huge PR win for the hospital.

The end of the quarter with final exams arrived with what seemed like no real additional stress, and the week after school ended Nate left for Pendleton to spend the summer with Michael working on the ranch. Matt was working again at Behlen Construction and Jessica was doing a summer program and coaching at PSU, but they made clear they'd be down for the reunion both days in the afternoon and evening.

As plans worked out, the week at the beach staying with Dieter and Robert happened in late June. Roger and Jerrod were full time in the therapy dog program so they only were able to come down for a long weekend, having taken an early shift on Friday so they could start the drive to the coast before the end of week traffic rush. It wasn't quite the same trip as the year before when Will and Sam along with Eric and Kim had come down, but it was still fun and a great get away.

Then the planning began in earnest for the family reunion in July. Between Will and Sam and David and Jackson there was plenty of camping gear, but most of it hadn't been used in a long time. Since they weren't tent camping it became a lot simpler with a focus on how to cook, what to cook, and how to manage the practical realities like water for dishwashing. To everyone's great relief, the yurts and cabins shared a restroom with sinks, toilets and showers, so it would actually be rather upscale camping.

With four adjacent yurts they decided a key ingredient would be to have four pop up canopies so they could arrange the four picnic tables in a row beneath them and have a covered area. That would consolidate cooking and eating. Between them they had three cook stoves of various types, so the central part of each day, meals and time together could be handled.

Jackson had been right, and Gary and Lois wouldn't be staying overnight. Summer was the height of landscaping season for them, but they said they'd plan on spending part of the afternoon and evening of both days at the event, along with their two youngest who were home for the summer from college.

Roger let everyone know that the only camping he'd done before was in a shared tent with Jerrod, Eric and Kim in the backyard the summer before, and that his parents had done even less than that. Still, they wanted to be part of it and volunteered to help in the food and drinks department. JC put them completely at ease, having been on enough trips that it was second nature for him, and they took over all the menu planning and food purchasing duties.

The week before the trip to Champoeg proved the value of JC's purchase of a pickup truck beyond hauling the Super Bee down to Portland. They all realized that without it they would have been hard pressed to get all the gear, equipment and coolers packed and comfortably transported in just the SUVs.

For the event David drove JC's pickup, Roger's parents rode with Nate's mom in the Volvo station wagon. The three muscle cars caravanned down, Sam riding with Will in the Nova, Jerrod and Roger with Jackson in the Challenger and Eric and Kim with JC in the Super Bee. It was quite the scene when the three old muscle cars stopped at the park entrance to check in and then all eyes followed them as they motored through the park to the campground.

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