Thursday, July 19, 2007

Camp Sherman: A Token Gift, Left Behind


My all-time favorite 'token' gift for others...a little kitchen quilt, otherwise known as the potholder. This one from my July patriotic stash, left behind for our hosts as a little thank-you for putting us up, and putting up with us, during our visit to Sisters.

Our hosts, friends from college days, had us build them a home just outside of Sisters in Camp Sherman last year. We built the house long distance...they lived in Alaska, we live in Salem. But somehow they ended up with a very nice (and of course, very nicely built ;) house. Itwas really nice seeing it all completed, but even nicer getting to spend the weekend in Camp Sherman.

Camp Sherman was, as its name implies a campground at one time, located in the Cascade Mountains, near Sisters, and not too far from Bend and Redmond. It is located at the head springs of the beautful Metolius River, a little river that seems to come up out of nowhere, just a bubble from the ground at first, then into a nice sized river. Camp Sherman now boasts about 140 homes, as well as camp grounds, of course, and a lodge. There is a tiny one room school house with 17 students, a general store aka fly fishing shop, and beautiful mountains surrounding you....Mt. Washington, Jefferson and the Three Sisters. A charming little neighborhood with families that may or may not live there full time. Some of the homes get rented out summers, others are lucky to be lived in full time.

It's so quiet in Camp Sherman, that you can actually hear yourself breathe as you walk through the forests and meadows of wild flowers. And if you're out of shape, your breathe may or may not be audible to others, as well! We walked it, explored it a bit, saw a doe and her fawn, met lots of nice dogs and their owners. It was lovely and very relaxing.

We had arrived on a Friday evening, after only a two hour or so drive from Salem, but it was a hot day and our air conditioning in the car was out. Hot and tired, I had just missed the 85 quilts that the quilters of Camp Sherman had made and showed during their own quilt show. The requirement is that each member of their little guild must 'show' three of her quilts. Since the average quilter there produces one a year, the quilters have been known to beg, borrow or steal their quilts back from those they gave them to...just to be able to come up with the required minimum for the show. I felt badly to have missed it.... especially when I heard all about it later.

The quilting ladies there call themselves the 'Pinecone Quilters' and they're famous for their $3 potholders which apparently sell out fast during the opening minutes of their Friday show. The husbands of the quilters call themselves the "Pine Nuts" (if you aren't nuts before you marry a quilter, you will be afterwards! )and they help bake the cinnamon rolls and other goodies which are sold and served during the small quilt show....which is usually held the day before the big one in town. Since I didn't make it to their quilt show, I brought along a little 'kitchen quilt' of my own to give as a gift and I did manage to collect a few pinecones for myself as I walked around. My theory for travel is to take a memento as a keepsake, and leave one behind in gratitude.

My little potholder was a tiny gift but the thank you that went with it still continues. They always say that a good friend comes through during times of need. When you need a place to stay in a town of 1,460 that has to host 15,000 to 20,000 quilters...well, those kind of friends are hard to beat! My thanks to them continue...and I do believe I heard at least one of them say "So, will we probably seeing you again next year?......" :)

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your quilt show adventures with us. It was nice to be able to go without actually dealing with the heat and the crowds! I hope you "booked" the room for the next few decades!

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  2. Hi, loved that story and loved the potholder. I've been making them as well, but not adding the applique, now that really sets it off, cheers, Tracey

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.