January Newsletter, 2021 Rick McPherson
We have received toys from the TV12, Les Schwab Toy Drive for a number of years. There are over ninety charitable, non-profit groups that benefit from this annual event. We’re blessed to be a part and be able to deliver toys to Native children at Christmas on Reservations throughout the Pacific Northwest.
This year we got the call to retrieve the toys and could we come in the morning?
I was up early to use our old, Ford E350 one-ton box truck and head over to Portland for the pickup. Because of the pandemic the location had been changed and all the Covid19 protocols would be in place. Read, “wear a mask!” Okay, no problem!
I made a quick stop at Costco for fuel and was sitting behind the wheel checking my phone and waiting my turn. Glancing up, I noticed steam covering the windshield. “Oh, oh,” I thought, “Somebody’s got a problem!” To my chagrin, “somebody,” was me. What I didn’t need was a busted radiator hose, disabled vehicle and major delay. Murphy’s Law was in full effect.
Plan “B” went into motion as I called, Charlote. “Help,” I cried, “the Mule is dead, you’ve got to pick me up with the Suburban and drive me to the Tri-Met Bus Barn on Columbia Blvd., so we can pick up the toys!”
“Please hurry,” I added.
“What?” she said.
“I can’t do that, I’m still in my ‘jammies, I haven’t showered, I’m not dressed, I have no make-up on, my hair is not combed,” she continued.
About thirty minutes later, she arrived. Wearing a baseball cap, dark glasses, a parka, Pendleton scarf and a mask, she was ready. I jumped in on the passenger side and away we went. When we drove through the gates, the TV cameras and reporters approached our vehicle. “Good morning,” the reporter began, “Can you tell us about your charity and where the toys will be going?”
Charlote not only opened her window, she opened her door, stood up, smiled and answered the questions with clarity, poise and warmth. Her hat, glasses, parka, scarf and mask, not withstanding, she was unflappable. Later, we discovered she was one of two that actually made it to the evening news broadcast. Needless to say we were pleased that Pacific NW Outreach, Inc. was presented so beautifully by the most beautiful person on staff!
Even though the day started with steam and frustration, it ended with a bounty of toys for Native children, free media coverage for our Mission and a great story to tell about a remarkable lady who happens to be my wife.
Now, I’m heading to the NAPA store to buy a radiator hose.