Commonwealth Lake Park, or “the Duck Pond” as my sister and I used to refer to it, called to me about a week ago. While it did not actually call to me, one morning I decided to stop there for a walk before work.
When I was young, my family lived within bike riding distance of this charming neighborhood park. At the time it seemed like a sprawling wildlife preserve. With gaggles of geese, droves of ducks, a grand play area with an extremely tall slide and a large lake, exploring the park thrilled my child-soul. Walking briskly, stopping to snap a few photos, pausing to swing and then pausing again to read some signs, this visit took me all of 22 minutes to go once around. Now, it seems fitting to see it called a “small suburban refuge” on one of the information signs.
Despite the adult realizations, the sparkling pond, sleepy waterfowl and other pleasant visitors I encountered that morning made for a nice visit. The Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District has done a nice job of creating the suburban refuge.
“Grandma’s house is just blocks from Win’s,” my dad’s cousin explained earlier this summer as she described the house they are prepping to be a rental.
“Uh, I’m not sure I know where that is,” says my dad as his brow furrows a bit, listening intently.
“Win’s? It’s on the corner of 12th and McKenzie in Fairhaven. They’ve got the best milkshakes! We’re so close to Win’s that friends will just walk up to the house after getting milkshakes there,” she replies with a big grin.
“Really? They’ve got good milkshakes?” My dad’s interest is piqued. Just mention a good milkshake or pie and you’ve got his attention.
“Oh yeah! I can’t believe you haven’t heard of them,” she says.
The next day we were out and about. It’d been hot. It was late July after all. We had packed up another corner of my Grandpa’s office. Yard maintenance had been done until we were too sweaty to pull another weed. We’d gone to Lowe’s. We’d stopped by the church. We had phoned the glass repairman. We needed, yes needed, a treat.
So, we picked up Grandma from her assisted living place, punched in the address for Win’s to my dad’s smart phone and followed the directions. Arriving, we understood exactly how we’d missed the place all these years. A stone’s throw from the Fairhaven Hagen’s (a landmark we actually knew) was a short flat building sitting at the back of a flat parking lot, in the shadow of a tall stately older building. The 60’s brown and yellow sign proclaimed:
Call In for Take Out 734-5226
We drove in. We unloaded Grandma’s walker. With eagerness energizing every step, my dad assisted my Grandma to the dinner. The inside was just as brown and 60’s as the sign outside. There we each ordered a medium chocolate milkshake, along with a couple orders of fries.
While we waited for the shakes and then ate them, a good number of people walked up and ordered or picked up brown sacks of food. It was hoppin’ place.
The chocolate milkshake was good, and I wished I had gotten a large. The best part was how super thick it was. I don’t like milky-milkshakes that quickly melt to just slightly thicker than milk consistency. I prefer them to be almost as thick as soft serve ice cream, and this one was. It took a great amount of suck to get any of it up the straw. As it had a slightly Wendy’s Frosty resemblance, I wouldn’t say it was the best milkshake I’d ever had, but it was a good one!
Oh! By the way, the area code is (360).