Saying Goodbye in Portland

by admin | May 2, 2024 3:04 pm

PORTLAND, OREGON — Without overtly meaning to do so, we retraced much of the steps of a trip we took here in March 2023 to visit our beloved friend Glenn McCutchen and his family here in the Rose City. Glenn[1] passed away on April 5. We came here for the memorial service, held on a misty Saturday morning in the stately Westminster Presbyterian Church. It was a lovely service.

We booked a day before the service to explore downtown Portland, where we stayed in the historic Hotel Lucia. This nine-story hotel, built in 1909 and housed in what is an extension of the original Imperial Hotel, captivated us like few hotels have ever done. Its lobby, hallways and even our room were filled with photographs by David Hume Kennerly, a Pulitzer-Prize winning photojournalist and Oregon native. Kennerly became one of the leading political photographers in the country, serving as President Gerald Ford’s official photographer, documenting his administration.

There is also a nice collection of antique cameras displayed on a lobby wall next to the fireplace. For a lifetime lover of photography, this hotel’s décor is hard to beat. My Beautiful Mystery Companion and I visited all nine floors during our three-night stay, admiring the photos. While there was a fair share of repeats from floor to floor, as each elevator opened on a new floor a unique photo awaited — Betty Ford dancing on the Cabinet table in the White House; Fidel Castro, enveloped in a cloud of cigar smoke; Olympic skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, photographed before her ex-husband orchestrated an ill-conceived attack on Kerrigan in hopes of increasing Harding’s chances. Harding ended up pleading guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution. Who knew ice skating could be so cutthroat?

We could largely walk anywhere we wished to go from the Hotel Lucia, with the first stop being Powell’s Books. The world’s largest bookstore is a must-stop. On this Friday morning, the store is fairly quiet. My BMC and I visited the coffee shop to get fortified with lattes and breakfast fare before tackling the stacks. Aware that our luggage was already over the weight limit, we each limited ourselves to two books apiece. Such restraint is not easy when visiting such an amazing store.

As we walked along downtown’s sidewalks, the weather changed from minute to minute, from clouds to sun, to rain and back again. There was a stiff wind, and temperatures were in the 50s. Unless we escape East Texas this summer, this likely was our last gasp of cool weather until late October. Sigh.

As noted, we end up visiting, or at least walking by, the same landmarks we saw a year earlier with Glenn, which was both sad and sweet. Glenn would have insisted we go out and enjoy our


selves in his absence. I can hear his Georgia-accented voice: “Y’all go out and have fun. Don’t worry about me.” Easier said than done.

So, we dined at Jake’s Grill, visited the Portland Saturday Market, Pioneer Place Mall (a convenient restroom stop), passed but did not stop at Voodoo Donuts, strolled the Willamette River walk. Glenn taught us the river’s name rhymes with “damnit,” as in Willamette, damnit!

We even ended up at a Sierra Outpost in a shopping center on the border of Oregon and Vancouver, Washington, the Columbia River dividing the states. We had exceeded the weight limit on our shared suitcases and had to hurriedly repack as well as rely on the kindness of the ticket agent before leaving DFW for Portland. Since we bought four books and other items upon arriving, we headed to the store to buy a carry-on suitcase.

On our previous visit to Portland, daughter Abbie and my BMC took a shopping day, while Glenn and I first visited an aviation museum and then wandered highways along the Columbia. Nature called, and we began looking for a restroom to no avail. We even crossed into Washington and still found nothing. Finally, I spied a McDonald’s in a shopping center back on the Oregon side. After that, I checked my “Find Friends” to see where my peeps were hanging out. As it turned out, they were in the Sierra Outpost, in essentially the same parking lot. We picked them up to save a Lyft charge, a happy coincidence.


I was scheduled to deliver about five minutes’ worth of remarks at Glenn’s memorial service and was honored to do so. The night before, I took a shower, dressed for bed, and grabbed my glasses, which promptly disintegrated. The lens flew out, a protective band around the lens broke in two. These glasses were toast.

I did not bring a spare, save my prescription sunglasses. My BMC did her best to find somewhere to either fix or replace my glasses, but it was 7 p.m. on Friday night. The service was at 11 a.m. Saturday. I shrugged and said I would just wear my sunglasses, hoping the attendees might mistake me for a member of Men in Black. Reading my notes without glasses was not an option.

It went fine. I hope Glenn looked on with great amusement as I squinted behind my dark sunglasses to make out the words on the page. Nobody asked why I wore dark glasses in a dimly[4] lit sanctuary.

Glenn’s passing still feels unreal to both us and to all those folks [5] who loved him. His legacy lies on with those folks whose lives he touched. That includes our family. We are deeply grateful for having known him and to be able to visit his adopted city once more.

  1. Glenn:
  2. [Image]:
  3. [Image]:
  4. [Image]:
  5. [Image]:

Source URL: