Day 4 – Portland, OR
Day #4 The first DRIVE
Peace and Blessings to All,
This is Hamza Abdullah checking in for the Abdullah Brothers Ramadan Tour. Today has been a long but short day. A long day, because we drove from Northern California to Portland. But a short day, because we spent most of the day in the car. I’m not sure how many people have driven up the Coast of California, and into Oregon; but I suggest you do it. It truly is a beautiful drive. The first thing you notice when you enter Oregon, is the Greenery. All praises are due to God. I remember driving this route, heading to college. I almost chose Oregon State over Washington State, for one reason. Do you know what it is?
Once while passing through Oregon, we stopped at a gas station, and my buddy wanted to play a game with me, and the gas station attendant. My buddy, quickly jumped out the car and pretended to pump his gas. The attendant quickly ran over to my buddy, and began to reprimand him. I didn’t know what all the commotion was about, so I hopped out the car. And as I sprinted around the car, the attendant and my buddy, joined in a good hardy chuckle. And I’m not talking about an ordinary chuckle. I’m talking a sweaty forehead, lean back, mouth wide open, fat man grip on both sides of your belly, chuckle. The joke was on me.
In the state of Oregon, it is ILLEGAL, to pump your own gas. Every station is a full service station. Pardon my ignorance, but the only full service station I knew of was in the movie “Urban Legend”. All these years of pumping gas for my parents, I had realized I had been duped. All we had to do, was move to Oregon. I love California, but this is an amenity, we need to adopt. This and no sales tax on food. Which is also another perk of living in the state of Oregon….Yeah, it just keeps getting better and better.
Oregon has a special place in our heart, because it’s part of the great Northwest. Home to beautiful views, and beautiful people. You will be hard pressed to find people as friendly, as the people of the Northwest. They take pride in their kindness, and they make sure you hear their hello. It is a very welcoming site, when you’ve been on the road all day. So when we pulled up to our destination, we should have expected to do more than, just pray and leave. Muslims aren’t going to let that happen, and especially Muslims in the Northwest.
We arrived at Masjid As-Saber, near sunset, so it was almost time to break Fast. So we took the opportunity to call home, and speak with our families. As sunset approached, we started seeing the masses file into the Mosque. And as we began to enter the building, the brothers began to gravitate to us like magnets. And of course we started getting the smiles and handshakes, Nick Saban gives to his prize recruit. It was a combination of the Muslim custom, to treat your guests well. And the Northwest custom, to show exactly how much caffeine you’ve had that day. But there was one brother there, that brought it all full circle. In our welcoming package was a gift. He knew the Street Sheikh.
Brother Idris was a big brother. A commanding presence, who stood an easy 6 feet 5 inches. And weighed approximately 270 pounds. An African American brother, from Southern California. Who reverted to Islam in 1990. Muslims prefer the term “Reverted” as opposed to “Converted”. Still at the age of 52, he was a very athletically built brother. He could tell by the way we stood, that we weren’t from around the area, and we may have had athletics in our background, as well. After exchanging the normal Who, What, When, Where’s, the bomb was dropped. “Do you know the Street Sheikh?” But I quickly, countered with “I just saw him in Blog Post #2″. This massive brother, who was hard as a clam shell, had a soft inside, with a heart of pearl. His eyes began to water. He said he picked up The Street Sheikh for Fajr prayer (the pre dawn prayer), everyday for a year and a half straight. He explained that of the few memorable souls, God has blessed him to encounter, the Street Sheikh was one of them. SubhanAllah (Glory be to God).
After we broke our Fast, as we were preparing to leave, Brother Idris was right there. He wanted to see us off. He wanted to spend all the time he could, with his brothers from around his way. We were just passing through Portland, as we had to make it to Seattle before Fajr. Brother Idris was one of those people that you know, God placed on your path for a reason. What that reason is, only God knows. But we are thankful for the meeting. And of course as we were leaving, the brothers came with meals fit for kings. This was our going away present. We explained to them, that we were on a tight schedule, but of course they insisted, and we took the plates to-go. May God bless those brothers and sisters who put those plates together, cooked the food, and fed all the Fasting individuals.
On our way out of Rip City, we had to hit the gas station, and of course Husain was as fascinated as I was, with their law. We were also fascinated that the one attendant on duty, had so many hats. He was pumping gas, cleaning windows, giving oil changes, as well as renting U-Hauls, if you needed. I guess multi-tasking is found under “specialties” on his LinkedIn page. Well now we must multi-task. We have to get up to Seattle, and we have a bunch of things to get done. We’re planning on breaking our Fast at MAC in Seattle. And then having a short talk later that night, at MAPS in Redmond. Thank you Portland for the memories, and now we’re heading home. My home for the last 5 years. Seattle, WA.
I love Seattle. It is the birthplace of my beautiful wife, and son. It’s also the birthplace of CostCo. So the next time you’re eating free samples on Sunday afternoon, thank Seattle. I know it rains a lot up here, but when you catch it on a sunny day…there’s not a better place to be. Thank you for coming along on our journey, if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about let us know. Peace and Be Blessed