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Wrapping Up a Great Visit With Alums

Portland, Ore. - Anyone who travels in their work knows how wonderful heading home feels. It's also a time to reflect, share, and "empty the notebook" - an old newspaper term.

The ten Wabash men I visited in Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver D.C. come first. I wrote about this several times in my blog from California two years ago but the sense of gratitude is really special.

At each visit I would always thank the Wabash man for his time, fitting me into his busy schedule, and sharing his story. Every time I was told "no, no, no" - 'thank you for coming all the way out here to see me.'

Wabash Magazine has a special place in many alums' hearts. They read it soon as it hits their mailboxes and most said they considered it a privilege to be featured. Well, on this trip the privilege was all mine.

Upon returning  Monday morning Steve Charles will ask me  about my best story. I haven't a clue. And normally I'm not shy about suggesting one over the other. I've never listened to so many great stories in my writing career.

There stories will largely comprise a special Winter 2009 issue of the magazine. Some of the stories will be featured off the website. We probably will occasionally publish some information between now and then teasing the eventual release.

I'm always asked how we select who we visit. First, we always miss some people. Second, it's very difficult to schedule these very successful men on back to back days in the short time period we visit. We look for interesting careers (not difficult), some geographic diversity, and some age diversity.

I was sharing a story via e-mail with Steve Charles this week. I shared a particularly poignant moment with one alum who was reflecting on his career. Steve wrote back and reminded me "we have a pretty good gig."

Steve was wrong - we have a really great gig!

Emptying the notebook:

 - I drove the Columbia River Gorge yesterday with my free time. I took the big loop going down the gorge and then around Mt. Hood. I wish I was the type of writer who could go on and on about the nuance of mother nature, the incredible beauty of the fir trees, the shaping of the gorge by glaciers and water movement thousands of years ago. Then there is the stunning majesty of Mt. Hood, constantly popping out of the surrounding mountains and trees.

I'm a storyteller - not a poet. I found myself fumbling for words talking to myself yesterday.

These few photos will have to do.

 - When Steve and I left California after the magazine release party in March 2007, he wrote asking where California keeps its fat people. Steve, I couldn't find them here either!

The healthy lifestyle is so evident everywhere you go. I don't think I've ever seen as many bicyclists in a major city as I saw in Portland and Seattle.

 - Saturday (this) morning did not start well. There was a power outage at my airport motel. No hot water. Well, you get the idea. Should be a great day for a five-hour plane ride.

 More later or Monday perhaps!

In photos: On home page and lower right, two different shots of Mt. Hood. Top right, the spectacular Multnomah Falls - more than 500 feet tall. Center left, the Columbia River Gorge - this shot was actually near Hood River which means the peaks along the river were smaller than the first 20 miles I drove!