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!