Book Simple: The Hobbit Attends a Wedding and Misses Out on Pea Soup Anderson’s
a blogumn by Amy Brown
In general, when confronted with a long car trip, I tend to react much like Bilbo Baggins at the beginning of The Hobbit. “‘Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them,’ said our Mr. Baggins” to his unexpected wizard visitor, Gandalf. Of course, Gandalf, it turns out, was proposing a road trip to raid a dragon’s lair. My boyfriend was merely suggesting that we drive up to Ashland, OR for his friend’s wedding.
But any proper road trip is an adventure, so I brought along Tolkien’s beloved adventure story, written in 1937. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, opens in Bilbo’s cozy “hole in the ground,” where the hobbit stays nestled and well-fed behind a perfectly round green door. Gandalf’s unexpected return to The Hill and the election of Bilbo Baggins as “burglar” for a crew of dwarves uproots Bilbo from his comfortable life. “I don’t want any adventures, thank you,” he protests. But when adventure calls, Bilbo “found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out…running as fast as his furry feet could carry him….”
That was rather how the boyfriend and I left Burbank, although stuffed into his clown car with us were hundreds of dollars of booze, seven morning suits and a crate of red bull (the boyfriend is the best man at said wedding and in charge of planning the bachelor party.) Along the drive, I discovered that, like Bilbo, I was without a few essential items. Any shoes without four inch heels. Any pants besides the sweats I brought to jog in. Cash. My phone charger.
As Bilbo’s merry band begin their adventures, they must troop over the Misty Mountains. “It was a hard path and a dangerous path, a crooked way and a lonely and a long [one]” as we drove over Mt. Shasta into Oregon, through a fog quite reminiscent of the pea soup I could have had for lunch, at Pea Soup Andersen’s, had I but been allowed to stop. I felt a kinship with the hobbit and dwarves, struggling hungry through the goblin-infested mountains. At least our worst enemies were only the sixteen-wheelers roaring along Rte. 5.
That gets us there. In fact, we’re now at the Ashland Springs Hotel, awaiting the wedding on the morrow. Now readers, I have not finished reading The Hobbit, so I must tell you about the result of our adventure and our “back again” next week. I’ll leave you with a riddle, from Gollum, who crawled out of the dark to ask “What has roots as nobody see, Is taller than trees Up, up it goes, And yet never grows?” Answer next week (or in the comments, if you can guess. Bilbo thought it was easy.)