Sunday, November 30, 2008
Fog, Family and Farmstands
I took a break this past week – from work, from blogging and from San Diego. I basically took time off from everything except running, which I managed to do as scheduled on all but one day. Some mornings felt forced, and one run at 9 on a really hot Monday just felt plain wrong. I must be back, though, because this morning's 8-miler through Santaluz was sublime.
Midweek we drove for hours (and hours and hours...) over a few rivers and through scorched woods to spend Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house. She’s a longtime resident of a place called Paradise and, after taking the scenic route for a change, I had to admit the area might live up to its moniker. The vistas along the gorges on Neal Road were brilliant after driving all morning through fog, and the colorful foliage hugging the twisty two-lane roads once we hit town made me pine for New England again. This really felt like a classic Thanksgiving.
My grandmother, 94, lives alone in a tidy three-room house that’s perfect for one but a bit cramped for five. Still, we ate and drank and ate some more, washing dishes and watching television in between. In less than 2 years, my grandmother will fail her driver’s license renewal test and have to leave this lovingly tended home for an assisted living facility where residents don’t need cars to maintain their lifestyle.
Family tradition says we spend Black Friday taking a hike, only this year was a little different in that (a) we had grandma, who can’t walk far; (b) the girls suspiciously packed only their expensive Ugg boots; and (c) we were in a strange land. So I selected Oroville Recreational State Park (featured in the lead photo), home to the nation’s tallest earthen dam. It was foggy that morning too, but we still managed to have a great time climbing the observation deck, driving over the dam and taking a lot of pictures – especially of a buck that met us in the parking lot.
On the way back home, we stopped at a farmstand in some sleepy community for some of the most perfectly shaped, robust fruit I’ve seen in years. They had different varieties of persimmons and some of the funkiest kiwi I’d ever seen. The Asian pears were the size of small pumpkins.
It’s now time to return to my regularly scheduled life. Before I do, I’ll leave you with some more photos from the week that was and a promise to catch up soon.