My visit was packed with special times and, like any other successful vacation, there simply wasn’t enough time to fit everything in. I reluctantly bid my fond farewells and pointed the car northward. Along the way I was able to find an apricot orchard and packed my car full of cases of sun ripened ‘cots. Canning season has now officially arrived, so stop by the Hoquiam Farmers Market to get started with apricots- only $28.00 for 24 lbs., no shipping charges included. A contented smile is all I ask.
With all of those roadside produce stands beckoning, I was hard pressed to make the long drive to Ashland Oregon in time for an evening performance. No, I did not speed- would have been impossible anyway, loaded as the car was with fruit and the engine straining to huff and puff over the long mountain pass road. I reached Ashland in time, but had not been successful in scoring a ticket before my departure. That meant it was time to hit the bricks with a ‘ticket wanted’ sign. My pleading looks and winsome smile were having no effect, discouragement was beginning to settle in. Then, mere moments before curtain time, a lovely lady arrived, glanced at my sign and offered me her husbands ticket. No, no, she didn’t sell it out from under him, he’d had to stay home with a bad back. My fellow ticketless comrades congratulated and hugged me, I gave them the thumbs-up signal to as I scampered into the theater. The production of Pirates of Penzance was over the top- the pirate hero bore a distinct resemblance to Johnny Depp, and the 1879 era music has been updated to include some rap, hip-hop, and gospel!
My first theater experience in Ashland was at the tender age of eight. When my mother announced that our summer vacation would be to the Oregon Shakespearean Festival, I was supremely unimpressed. I felt that other opportunities existed, things that any self-respecting kid would find much more appealing. However, my opinion had not been asked, so it was off to Ashland that we went. I was captivated the moment we drove into town- the Elizabethan banners and our rustic cabin in Lithia Park gave me hope that this would not be such a dismal trip after all. My mother was a very clever woman. Knowing that young children might reasonably object to a solemn historical play, she started our Shakespearean experience with A Midsummer Nights Dream. I was totally captivated! Walking back to the cabin through the park, flickering fairies seemed to cavort and dance in the moonlight.
Grays Harbor College offers a trip to Ashland each summer, and they actually have a few vacancies available. It’s a great price ($915) and includes tickets to six plays, meals and accommodations. Call 538-4016 for more information. With college vans rollicking down the highway, you get road trip time with great folks, and maybe you can convince them to pull over for produce stands. Call me for recommendations.
Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market and Deidra’s Deli. 538-9747