I had noticed some work down the other day on a house owned by the woman who was probably the oldest and longest resident on SE Alder. When I walked past it this morning on my way to work, however, I noticed that it wasn’t renovation going on, they’re deconstructing one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood, built in 1889 (most of the other houses on the street were built in the first couple decades of the 1900s).
Anna, the woman who lived there, died a couple of years back. She had a big garden in the side yard and grew much of her food, including—it was rumored—a couple of small coffee bushes. She also owned a couple of other houses on the block as rentals.
The garden and the house are soon to be no more, however. The big lot’s too valuable for city farming.
I first encountered the music of Roky Erickson during my short stint as a volunteer DJ at KRVM, when his album “Don’t Slander Me” came out in the mid-80s. While DSM is less grungy than Roky purists probably approve of, it’s remained one of my favorite albums for more than three decades, with the title track, “Bermuda”, and his vampire epic “Burn the Flames” near perfect encapsulation of his vocals and lyrics. Only got to see him one time—just a few years back—but it was a lifelong musical goal realized.
One of the first places Barbara and I ever went out to when we started dating was a little hole-in-the-wall at SE 32nd Place and Hawthorne. It was a former hot dog stand with four or five tables, but it had been taken over by a Vietnamese family and in the transition they’d named it Saigon Café and Doggie Delight. They changed the name relatively quickly.
The first time we went there, we ate Five Spice Chicken, which became a staple of our (well, Barbara’s) home cooking menu.
As it happens, some 15 years later, when I moved my freelance office out of downtown, I ended up across Hawthorne from the restaurant, and —along with At the Hop (30th & Hawthorne) and Fu Jin (35th & Hawthorne)—they were the triumvirate of my lunchtimes. All long gone now.
The woman who ran Saigon Café sold the business when she grew ill, and it was an Italian restaurant for some years, before it became Chiang Mai—a Thai restaurant—about a decade ago. Walking past on my way home from work yesterday, I noticed it had closed; I’m assuming it and the attached house are going to be ground up in the Portland apartment boom.
That effort didn’t exactly pay off—I spent most of the intervening years un- or underemployed—it didn’t make me a PHP/SQL savant, and by 2010 I was using WordPress to run my other blog, Mutant Poker. In the meantime, I posted a lot of political and general interest stuff here that I thought was interesting, but the system I wrote made more investment of time in it just seem counterproductive.
I’ve finally taken the time (not so much as I thought it would take) to convert the hand-built system to WordPress, figure out how to redirect all (well most) of the URLs, and get my act together, so: ta-dah! Welcome to darrelplant.com 2.0.
The Hunan, which Barbara and I have considered “our” place for more than a quarter of a century, is closing on December 29th. We’ve celebrated many anniversaries and birthdays there. We went there the first anniversary of the day I survived my pulmonary embolism. Really, it’s been the go-to place when we wanted a meal out. We were already planning to go Saturday for our 26th anniversary, but after we heard the news, I decided to squeeze out every last bit of Hunan that I can from life, so Barbara and Dad and I headed there yesterday.