It was 1924. I had just turned nine. We were living in Porterville, California and father was working for a timber company in the forested hills south of Astoria, Oregon. Father had asked mother to bring us up to spend the summer in a cabin not far from his work station.
Mother, who did not drive, bought a 1919 model T Ford, and Jack, then 14, built at his school workshop a wooden cabinet which he bolted to the back of the car to hold dishes and cookware. He also installed a rack along the left side running board so that suitcases could be carried end on end. Blankets and pillows were stacked on the back seat for Bob, Clifford, David and me to sit on. Mother, Jeane and driver, Jack, filled the front seat.
Off we went on our drive of 1,000 plus mile to Astoria.
Roads were rather ancient, unpaved over mountain stretches, and motels had not yet been invented. In late afternoon, mother would find a suitable place, close to water where we could make our beds on the ground, make a rock fireplace, fix a meal and get some sleep. Then breakfast in the morning, repack the car and off again. Top speed about 25 miles per hour, but much slower over mountain areas.
As we were passing through mountains within view of massive, majestic Mt. Shasta, Mother spotted a place to make camp. It was among evergreen trees, near a brook with a large pond. Green grass, wild flowers in bloom and snow-capped mountains turning orange in the evening light. I had never seen nature in such splendid attire.
As the older boys were making a fireplace and helping mother with supper, I strolled down toward the pond, smelled every wild flower, touché the fir bows and took in their aroma, along with the pines and spruces. Knelt at waters edge and watched fishes swim by. I was fascinated, enthralled by the by the unspoiled beauty of God’s nature. I wanted never to forget this beauty—this feast to my senses. I never have—and never will. The scene has become a treasured Celestial Vision, forever embedded in my memory—and with it a deep, abiding appreciation of God’s handiwork.