I met Jim at a small store near Lee's Camp off of Oregon Highway 6 as it weaves over the Coast Range, connecting outer suburban Portland and the Oregon coast. I planned to interview him for a forest history story, and what was meant to be a quick meet-and-greet turned into a four hour conversation about life, love and Oregon grit. Before paved roads took tourists to the coast, Jim's dad would walk 20 miles to the town of Tillamook almost weekly. He told me that he'll never understand why newlyweds shove cake in each other's faces or why anyone would spend $30,000 on a wedding. I agreed with him. I think he was initially skeptical of me, as a young-ish Portlander driving a truck.
"Tony," he said, pausing, very serious. "Promise me that you'll never shove cake in your bride's face. And know that it's not about the cake. It's about respect. And if you choose to have someone in your life, you have to respect them. If you don't respect them, don't have them in your life. Simple as that." Wise words from Jim Reeher on his rural property 45 miles west of Portland.