Gene's Note: Life's Simplest Pleasures

As the credit union has grown and my life has gotten busier and busier, I have found it difficult to stop and take time to appreciate the natural beauty of living in rural Oregon. One of the silver linings of our current situation is that I’ve had to reevaluate how I spend my spare time. I have been taken back to those days in my youth when the sounds of a small creek would put me at ease and grant me the opportunity to think about the most important things in my life. The days of enjoying life’s simplest pleasures by spending a quiet day on the lake or hiking a secluded trail have eluded me for several years. The hustle and bustle of our everyday lives leave little time to take stop and think about all that we have done and what we have left to do.  

Just a few weekends ago, my wife and I decided it was time to slow down and think about how we would have spent a day early in our marriage, when all we had was each other, and a lot of time on our hands. We thought back to those times, where a day by the river with some sandwiches and a cold drink was all that was needed for a great date. So, without a plan or destination, we stopped at local grocery store deli for some hand-crafted sandwiches and headed to the Applegate Valley.  

We both remembered spending time at Cantrall Buckley Park when we were much younger and set that as our destination. It was a beautiful warm summer day and the meandering drive along the Applegate River set the tone for the peaceful day ahead of us. In the park, we found a nice shaded section of grass with a clear view to the river and settled into our lawn chairs. I felt an immediate release of stress as my attention was drawn to the sounds of the birds, the wind rustling through the trees and the laughter coming from those enjoying the cool water of the river. 
Usually, I am in a rush -- off to the next meeting or the next thing on my list, but those things all faded away into a peaceful afternoon on the river. For some reason, the sandwich I enjoyed that day was the best sandwich I have had in years, the drinks were colder and more refreshing, and for the first in a long time I wasn’t in a hurry. For less than $30, we spent a day together that gave us the most valuable experience we could possible enjoy…the company of each of other.  

During these unprecedented times, taking time to be thankful for days and moments like these is an incredible way to reset. Even though we may not have planned to spend our summer this way, we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful area to explore. Some of my fondest memories growing up here in Southern Oregon involve taking a slow drive down a country road and splurging on a soft-serve ice cream cone from the local hamburger stand or a piece of huckleberry pie from a roadside café. My recent river side picnic was a great reminder of how even in those times when we had little from a financial perspective…we were wealthy from the experiences we enjoyed together. 

I truly enjoy the messages I receive from our members in response to these posts and suggestions for future topics. So, please share your favorite story of slowing down to reconnect with those that you love and the natural beauty of where we live at