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Recently, I found myself chanting this phrase to friend, Vicki, as we tried to view the Ansel Adams exhibit.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

This familiar proverb was written by Thomas H. Palmer (1782-1861) in his "Teacher's Manual." Its original purpose was to inspire students to complete their homework; yet it has always resonated with me on many levels. Parochial school nuns may have recited this but it was my parents who ensured that it was a mantra for all endeavors. Memories surface of repeating these words to little me as I struggled to extract myself from a Timberline snow drift or a Metolius River beaver dam. Later, I was wont to whisper it while struggling with a canoe, pulling on Willamette River reeds to go upstream, or when attempting to sail a small Sunfish on Lake Washington. In these latter cases, making it home to the dock counted as a final success.

Recently, I found myself chanting this phrase to friend, Vicki, as we tried to view the Ansel Adams exhibit. With pre-paid tickets for a 1 p.m. viewing, we easily drove to downtown Portland and the Art Museum. Street parking was taken by the Park Blocks Wednesday Farmers' Market. An adjacent parking lot held some available spots. Parked, Vicki went to the ticket box while I slowly extracted my injured leg and cane from the car and hobbled to join her. Surprise! There was a new payment system. The instructions specified that one needed to download the parking lot app on one's phone to access payment. Vicki grabbed her phone and attempted to do so. Her phone said she needed to turn on data; yet it was already on. Vicki then took a photo of the app code from the kiosk. Again, she was told to turn on data. In desperation, she attempted to upload the app on my phone. Bingo! It uploaded but we needed my Apple password which was at home. A crowd gathered with other patrons having similar issues, everyone muttering and fingers flying. Vicki and I returned to the car, intending to find street parking. It was now 1:30 p.m. Hopefully, the Museum would honor our tickets. With key in ignition, a flashing yellow light appeared, alerting us that tire pressure was very low. Had we driven over a nail in the parking lot or street? The Volvo dealership was only a few blocks away. Anxiety mounting, we arrived at the service center. Quickly, a technician assured that he would address our concern and ushered us to the waiting room. While seated Vicki decided to try to download the app again. Voila! She was successful, thus ensuring a lifetime of parking in that lot (unless they change their app.)

Tire pressure adjusted, we decided to try once again to view the Ansel Adams exhibit. We were now almost two hours late for our scheduled ticket time. A parking spot directly across from the Museum opened as we approached. While I parked Vicki jumped out and ran up the many marble steps to see if they would honor our tickets given the late time. She re-appeared with a "thumbs up."

Yes, if at first you don't succeed, do try, try again … and, yes, the Ansel Adams exhibit was indeed worth all that effort!

Josie Seymour is a member of Jottings Group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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