Monday, September 2, 2013

Sojourn To SLO

You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you,

but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach,

because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.
~ Frederick Buechner

Sunday morning phone calls weren't enough. I wanted to see my father's face as he tells me stories about the animal encounters he had when he was a boy. About the time when he tried to save a river otter from being run over by a speeding automobile on the highway. Or the story about the dog who met the three o'clock train every day, waiting for his master to return.

I wanted to hear my mother's laughter in person. You should hear it. It sounds like music. I like to hear about all the places she visited when she sang with a women's chorus group, performing at competitions around the nation. She was fascinated with the history of the old southern towns she saw. My mother is savvy and witty and energetic and British. And I was missing her.

I'm forever picturing my father out on his porch, playing guitar in the sun. Every Sunday morning, the first thing he tells me over the telly, is if the sun is out yet, or when the fog will burn off, and yes, it's going to be a lovely day today. Always.

I wanted to be there in person, to listen to him play his guitar on that sunny porch, to watch his hands make all the chords, to hear "Yo-Yo Man" and the Willie Nelson version of "Drinking Champagne". I love the part when he strums the strings strong and short and a little louder at the verse:
"Guilty conscience *STRUM* I guess
Though I must *STRUM* confess
I never loved you much when you were mine..."

Every day my mother swims. When I hear her tell me, over the phone, how wonderful the water is, I smile. I wanted to swim around the pool with her, to bob up and down and chat like a couple of magpies, like we've done before.

Have you seen the turkeys? I ask the same question every Sunday. Just before sundown my mom and dad walk to the creek near their house to watch wild turkeys fly from the creek bed up to the branches of the Monterey Pines. One by one they plume and fan their feathers then find their spot in the grove of trees to rest for the night. It's really quite a sight, every single time, and one they never miss out on.

And so...I went to see my parents.

California in August is lovely. When I drove up the coast from L.A., I pulled over to an ocean access in Zuma Beach, jumped out of my car and dove into the sea with all my clothes on! It was the best idea I've ever had. That set the stage for what was to come, seeing my family again.

I swam with my mother. I heard her sing. We laughed together. My dad played me a concert on his sunny porch. We went to see the turkeys. I heard stories that were new to me. I picked lemons from their tree, made lemonade and watched the baseball game with my dad. My mom and I went out to lunch. It's our thing, to go have tacos at Jack In The Box. One day we all went to Port San Luis and ate our lunch on our favorite picnic table. Over apples and carrots and celery sticks, we talked about the pelican with fishing line and hook tangled in it's wings and that we should report it to the harbor master. We watched a man sanding his beloved wooden sailboat, getting her ready for her maiden voyage out to sea.

We talked every night until it was time for bed, and I got to kiss my mama and pappy goodnight.

Now, I know you're wondering, is that my brother Glenn in those pictures? Was he on the pier too? How's he doing, you ask? Why yes! That is him! He was on the pier with us. He and his darling girlfriend Tami came to visit too. We call her little cutie. She's a professional photographer, and responsible for most of the photos in this post. And she and I are great pals.

Now, I'd love to tell you all about Glenn and how he's doing and what he's doing and everything. But, that's Part 2 of my visit. It deserves a story all its own. And I can't wait to share it with you.
Hold yer horses!



  1. i love your little family.
    i wanna sing with your dad.
    i wanna dip my toes with your mom.
    i wanna see that seal jump up onto the eleanor marie. [now THAT's got to be a SIGN, eh?]

    hurry!....second installment of the story!

    loving you, red dirt. absolutely. and indeed.

    1. Well Bernard, you KNOW I thought about you when I saw that boat with your name on it!!!
      Maybe someday you can tap your toes to the beat of guitar whitey and splash around with me mum.
      You are welcome anytime. Any ol' time sweet Marie. xoxo

  2. What a wonderful visit this looks like! It warms the heart. I love the picture of your father playing the guitar :)

    1. Hey Keith. I'm glad you felt it too. It warmed my heart as well, being around them again. I know, my dad playing guitar is always a special treat. Always.
      Thank you.

  3. Oh Miss Praire....this makes my heart smile so big it hurts
    I have missed you!
    Happy to come to back here to such love and joy
    of course
    I have been wondering....
    I am with Miss Pencilfox
    I want to do all those things too!!!!
    This post reminds me of the joys that aging brings...
    the contentment of a settled life and committed relationships
    the steady rhythm that flows through a life time of experiences
    the knowing that is built along the way

    Thank you for sharing this my friend
    it was lovely to see your shining face
    you are beautiful!

    Love and Light

    1. The steady rhythm that flows through a lifetime of experiences...
      Leave it to you to put it in perfect perspective. SO good to see you again.
      I'm glad I get to peek into your world again. Welcome back, baby! X

  4. Those pics are Great! Also, do you know it's been 20 LONG years since I've had a Jack-in-the Box taco? Oooh for deep fried delicious.

    This trip sounds like "the best trip ever," I feel it would give
    VH-1's "best ever" shows a run for their money!

    Glenn looks great too! I hope he's feeling as well as he looks, for that matter, you all look great! THat pool water with your mom looks fake. Is it fake? :)

    Love yous!

    1. Next time I find a JITB taco, I'll send one to you overnight delivery!
      Yeah. The water was fake. But, it's so fun to dog paddle in fake water! Ha!
      Glenn is awesome. You'll see...
      Love you Jessie

  5. Replies
    1. So true! Just call us the smilin' symmians! ( that's what C calls us. Hee hee)
      I can't wait to spend a day with you at HITW!!!

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  7. A beautiful family, just like you!

    1. Jenny!! I was so excited to see you here!
      Your kind words...thank you for taking time to say hi. Hugs to you & Brandon & Zavier. XO

  8. Oh wow! Such a great time you had! The pictures and words are full of love and just darn lovely. I can't wait to hear about Glen. My horse is ready to jump! And, I can't shake the image of you diving into the ocean with all your clothes on! That is just too awesome!

    Love and blessings to you and your beautiful family....

  9. It sounds like you had a lovely time and these photos are so nice. I love family outings. The sealions and the pelican look so relaxed and chill! - Tasha xxx