Boring, Not Boring, Rein, Not Raindeer


We never made it to see the reindeer last year. I made an email inquiry about the reindeer’s touring schedule but sent it to an outdated address. Months later I received a kind response from the folks at Timberview Farms, home of the reindeer. I have to admit I neglected to respond but this made me all the more determined to put “look at reindeer”on my 2022 Christmas season celebration list keeping their appearance schedule on my radar, a totally different radar than the one that tracks Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. 

This determination to make one seasonal/traditional effort this year meant getting up and getting out while convincing my better half, Ronna, to come along. Luckily, the overcast gloom of this Saturday was not including rain. The promise of a coffee drink was an enticement enough, not that it overshadowed seeing live reindeer up close. Reindeer are the holiday’s unsung heroes. They do the heavy lifting. They never ask Santa to diet or whine about the weight of the billions of presents they help deliver. So, after taking a right at Gresham, we found ourselves on the road to Boring for the reindeer appearance. 

Boring, a place that’s a straight line for joke opportunities, seems to be a patch work of farm fields with a quaint, yet brief downtown. It’s a place that rolls with its name, not taking itself too seriously. In fact, the joke went international when Boring became the sister city of Dull, Scotland. On the outskirts of town, we pulled into the landscaping materials store, Boring Bark, for the reindeer display. I was surprised to see the parking lot hopping with cars. A family with six kids headed out while a couple of people wrangled puppies. This was encouraging. We had arrived at THE place for a reindeer watching.  

To avoid the people, Ronna led me around the back of the store. There in a pen were the two reindeer from the team, Vixen and another reindeer. I couldn’t see the name on the collar but I spotted the letters J and O. Our research department is desperately trying to remember the names of the reindeer from the Night Before Christmas poem. The two were laying down either resting or nesting. This may be typical reindeer behavior. The pen was filled with sawdust and tree boughs. Later Jo stood up to eat an apple half. This was a more animated version of these real life reindeer. 

My bud tender mentioned the phrase “tourist trap” but it wasn’t quite like that. I needed to see a reindeer to compare it to every other reindeer like creature, the moose, deer and elk of this world. It was good to compare these reindeer to the animated version, Sven, that I had just seen in the movie Frozen. Note: real reindeer don’t talk. This was yet another of many possible events to get kids excited, as if they needed more holiday excitement and yes, they do. We can never forget that Christmas is for kids. They will grow to dislike it in time. Live reindeer viewings, meetings with Santa and looking at pretty lights provide the delight that will someday turn into cynicism. Choice overheard quotes jumped out, “Please, look happy for just one second,” a woman said to the reindeer while taking photos. Someone else said, “Reindeers don’t typically like carrots and that’s what people leave out.” This year we’ll leave out apple halves and pine boughs for the reindeer when they stop by our house.

Expectations and imaginations will get you in the end but it wouldn’t be life without them. Who needs a low expectation imagination? I expected to see a herd of reindeer frolicking in a field, maybe playing reindeer games. Free admission was a fair price to pay for dashed expectations. It was really about an opportunity to see real life reindeer. We took the long way home where numerous signs begged us to turn right to Gresham, a metropolis in these parts. We continued on our little highway heading towards Oregon City basking in our visit and enjoying the rural, small town vibe knowing the reindeer have a busy December with their appearance schedule and the big night but they’d have most of the following year to rest and relax.

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Post Script: I got a gentle chiding from Willard Simmons of the Pittsburgh Orbit for working on Christmas Eve. Then I made a threat against Tiny Tim and ran out to run a few more errands in the slush. There was a huge technical fiasco–unsaved drafts. Thanks WordPress!! This may result in more typos or misplaced commas than usual. Happy Holidays everyone!!

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