What Jess Walton (Y&R’s Jill Foster Abbot Fenmore) and I have in common

Y_and_RI have to confess to being a soap opera addict. I’ve been “clean” for decades (kids and a job can really help you kick the habit), but I’m still drawn to them.  If I pay attention to the covers of the soap opera magazines while waiting in the grocery check out line, I can pretty much stay updated on the story lines and characters. So, even though I’m not a regular viewer of The Young & The Restless, it wasn’t surprising that I immediately noticed a photo of Jess Walton hanging in a restaurant we visited recently.

Cowboy_Dinner_Tree_LRWe were enjoying our annual fall vacation at Eagle Crest Resort in Central Oregon and had made reservations for dinner one evening at The Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant. To describe the restaurant’s location as out in the middle of nowhere is no exaggeration. It’s located about two hours from our resort, and a couple miles outside the extremely small town of Silver Lake. This is not a restaurant one stumbles across. It’s off the main highway, the signage is poor and the building looks like it’s been abandoned.

Cowboy_Dinner_Tree_food_LRI read a review of the restaurant in The Oregonian newspaper’s travel section years ago, and we finally found the time to visit a couple of years ago. The husband wanted to go back this year, so we made our reservations (required!) and placed our order (also required) a month in advance.  They offer two dinner options: a 26-30 ounce Top Sirloin or a full roasted chicken (yep, a WHOLE chicken!). We order one of each and share (thankfully, they offer doggie bags to take the leftovers home). Dinner includes soup, salad, really delicious rolls, dessert and assorted beverages.

Jess_Walton_crop_LRAs we walked in the door, I noticed the photo of Jess and a group of people at the restaurant. The gentleman in the photo was labeled as her husband, John (her Y & R character Jill was married to a gentleman named John, too). I had to wonder what would bring a soap opera star from Los Angeles to a tiny, off the beaten path restaurant, in an incredibly remote area of Central Oregon.

A little research revealed that Jess and her husband John have recently moved to Central Oregon. I completely understand that decision!  I LOVE Central Oregon, and the husband and I plan to move there someday. The central and eastern portions of Oregon are so much drier than where we live (about 30 minutes southeast of Portland). For now, jobs and family obligations keep us west of the Cascades, so we have to be content with visiting several times a year.

Jess and I not only love Central Oregon enough to want to live there, but we are wives,  married to our spouses for more than 30 years, mothers of a boy and a girl, grandmothers, and apparently we both enjoy good food in large quantities, as well. O.K, those things don’t make us two peas in a pod, but I can’t help but feel a tiny connection to this actor who has discovered the wonders of my little corner of the world. Welcome to the neighborhood, Jess!