There’s something haunting about the name Farewell Bend. It conjures up a forlorn sadness and wistful longing. I imagine standing and watching and waving good-bye until there’s no one left to wave to.

Farewell Bend is about 25 miles north of Ontario, Oregon. It was the last stop on the Oregon Trail beside the Snake River. Travelers rested, watered and fed their animals, then turned northwestward through the Blue Mountains heading for the Columbia River.

I stopped there a couple weeks ago and was immediately surrounded by an almost palpable sense of emptiness. I thought about the thousands who had paused there, on that very spot, on their way to who-knew-what ahead of them. Such courage! Such strength! And such sacrifice.

I had relatives among those who passed through Farewell Bend on their way to the Pacific Northwest. I know some of the hopes and dreams they brought with them, and I know at least some of them were met. (After all, I’m living proof!)

And I hope many of the others who passed through there did, indeed, fare well.