The week before Christmas, I visited my sister Julia out where she lives -- where we grew up -- in Horton, Oregon. Nobody calls it that anymore, but it still is on Google Maps as such. Horton is essentially a country road, aptly named Horton Road, with one little market at the end called the Horton Market. Our good family friends own the market, and they live in the attached house. My sister works there a couple days a week, just as my mom worked there when I was little.

I remember when both of my sisters were in school, but I wasn't old enough yet, I would go with my mom to work and just sit on the stool behind the counter at the store. I can't remember what I would do to occupy my time -- probably eat penny candies and color or something -- but I always liked to watch everything that would happen there. During the fall months men would come from all around to go mushroom hunting in the mountains around the little valley. The store bought the mushrooms, and presumably sold them to a distributor or a bigger store.

At the end of every year, our friends Sandy and Marilyn, the shopkeepers, need to take inventory of their stock and would invite their friends and family to help. It was a big event -- and still is -- that people of all ages would partake in. The kids were assigned the candy to count, and the adults tallied other higher up things. Once everything was counted, we could eat whatever we wanted from the shelves of the store. Or at least that's how I remember it. We always ended the night with a homemade pizza feast and plenty of long stories and board games.

When I was in elementary school I would have the school bus drop me off at the store so I could get a snack after school. I would then walk the two or more miles home, usually alone, because that was my excitement for the day!

So when I was just back in Horton, I had to go visit Sandy at the market. Walking into the store, and behind the counter into their home, always brings back such vivid memories of watching my mom and Marilyn can pickled beets, late night summer bonfires, the best salads in wooden bowls, playing horseshoes, petting rabbits, and so much more.

When I was there, Sandy reminded me about a little rendez-vous we had when I lived in New York, and he and Marilyn were visiting. He was born in the Bronx and spent the first 10 or so years of his life there, so he was back to explore his old neighborhood. It was a funny thing for both of us -- for him to see me, the little girl he knew in Horton, as an adult in the city; and for me to see the shopkeeper of the little market where I lived in the country in New York City, where he grew up.


I have a lot more to share about this short visit to Horton, so consider this just scratching the surface. It felt so good to get out in the fresh air, trudge in my rain boots, and sit in front of the wood stove.

____________________ All photos were taken with my iPhone.