One afternoon when I was living in Salem, working and going to school, a shaggy-haired young man climbed through the window of my studio apartment as I was working on a term paper. Though I was alarmed, something inside told me not to grab a baseball bat. Instead, my inclination was to offer a welcome.

I learned this chap was a neighbor, was locked out of his place and accidentally entered the wrong window. The poor fellow was embarrassed and apologized profusely. I told him not to worry and offered a cup of coffee.

He said his name was Pat Moore, and he seemed like a nice enough guy. I ended up making cheese on toast, a popular delicacy among college students in those days. We then headed down to the Thriftway store, bought some Old Milwaukie and came back to my place. Like a couple simple-minded caricatures in any Warner’s Brothers cartoon, we became buddies.

Pat grew up in the small Willamette Valley town of Amity in the 1960s and 70s. To him, McMinnville was a bustling metropolis. He felt absolutely smitten in Salem, especially with the beer flowing.

Pat first visited downtown Portland when he was 16 and was overwhelmed. He did notice that the women seemed friendly, but in a peculiar way. For instance, he recalled one approaching him along an avenue and asking if he wanted to go on a date. Pat was elated at the offer and replied, “Sure! I don’t have a lot of money, but if you’d like to go see a movie and get a hamburger afterwards, that would be great! What time do you think you’ll be ready to go?” To this the young woman stared, smacked her chewing gum, swung her purse over her shoulder and strutted away.

Not long after I moved back to Portland, Pat relocated to the rural Clackamas County community of Barton. There he worked for a farmer who let him build a treehouse on the property and live in it.

On the weekends, Pat would blow into town and hang out with all of us, and then head back to the treehouse on Sunday night. He got into the habit of not taking a bath. I remember one time Pat came over and my French girlfriend Catrien had just finished giving the two boys she was babysitting a bath. She took Pat by the hand and walked him to the bathroom. There, she grabbed a towel, washcloth and a bar of soap and turned on the bathwater and told him, “Now it is your turn.”

Pat eventually moved into Portland and was hired as a groundskeeper at The Grotto, The Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother. It was a job he truly loved.

At The Grotto, Pat worked with Brother Mark and an older Vietnamese man who pronounced Pat’s name “Fot.” The three became good friends, often dining at Jim Dandy hamburger restaurant on Sandy Boulevard.

One afternoon as they were having lunch, Brother Mark asked Pat if he knew anything about a band called the Doors, who had been mentioned by Brother Mark’s younger relative. Pat told Brother Mark that yes, he was very familiar with the Doors, and lent the good monk a cassette tape of their music. The next time they had lunch, Brother Mark repeated a stanza from the Door’s catchy song “Roadhouse Blues.” He sang, “I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer.”

Pat told me happy and lighthearted stories of his adventures at The Grotto and all the friends he made there. He mentioned a hermit who lived in the woods behind the sanctuary, a man the monks looked after and looked out for. One morning at Mass, the hermit drank most of the Precious Blood. For this offense, he was barred from Communion until he promised he wouldn’t do it again. The brothers forgave him.

Each year during Advent, I recall Pat telling Catrien and me of a big project they were undertaking at the Grotto for the Christmas season. Sometimes, they had to work late, in the dark, to see their completed work more clearly. Pat and Brother Mark and their Vietnamese friend were among those behind The Grotto’s first Festival of Lights in 1988.

Van der Hout attends Mass at St. Pius X Church and Mount Angel Abbey.