Friday, April 15, 2016


Topanga Beach offered gifts from the sea. I brushed off the sand and jammed them in my pockets.
Being in California was a gift in itself. So, imagine my delight in hearing stories told by my own mother, who will be 90 years young this August, and my father, Guitar Whitey, who turns 95 in May.
True tales of long ago.
It would be impossible to repeat the full account, but some of these stories took place in Liverpool, England. My grandfather was a wheelwright. He had horses and a donkey. One morning while everyone was in church, the donkey in the neighborhood made so much racket hee-hawing, disrupting the sermon, all heads turned and looked at my mother.
I heard about how a carton of cigarettes was a luxury during the war. Everybody smoked.
Then there was a ship named The America sailing to NYC. All of the officers wanted to dance with this sweet girl from Liverpool. Nobody could jitterbug like Joyce!
As newlyweds, my parents drove cross country from NYC to Aspen, Colorado in a '40's Roadster. When they arrived, my father joined the first-ever summer Mintrelsy school. A Folksinger's school! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It was intended to train students in the ancient tradition of being a Minstrel. A man named Richard Dyer-Bennet taught students Spanish guitar, voice and performance techniques.
So, they spent the summer of '48 in Aspen, Colorado.

They rode the old rickety chair lift to the top for a BBQ.

My dad bought my mother a pair of red cowboy boots. She hated them!

The English tea pot he surprised her with one day, she adored!

It was a sunny afternoon. My parents, along with another couple, squeezed into the Roadster. Driving along a dirt road that followed the river, they unexpectedly veered off and went crashing into the river landing upside down. The four of them, crammed like sardines in the front seat (the only seat), walked away unscathed. Nobody was hurt at all.

The worst thing that happened was the Roadster no longer had a windshield.
At the end of the summer, my mother drove with some friends up to San Francisco, while my father followed them in his windowless automobile. (See picture above)
My dad made it to San Francisco, got a terrific sunburn and covered in dust along the way, and as he drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, he was pulled over and issued a ticket for driving without a windshield.
My parents stayed in the city by the bay for a few years. They found a little apartment in Haight-Ashbury.
At that time, it wasn't yet the home base of the hippie subculture, but I would bet that it embraced a beatnik or two. Most certainly a Folksinger or minstrel, singing stories of distant places.
Ha! Haight-Ashbury. Now you know why I am the way I am.
My dad and Chad on the Port San Luis Pier. Walking and talking about everything under the sun.
Playful otters at Morro Bay.
My dear mother knitting me another pair of fingerless mitts.
She knits like she dances.
This lovely beach was just a short drive from the Return To Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc, California.
We visited Return To Freedom Wild Horse Santuary where we got to see some fortunate wild horses. They were rescued from the BLM holding pens after a roundup, They must feel like they're in paradise. Or Ireland.
As you know, I cannot stay away from Topanga Canyon.
We spent the night in this very funky cabin. I felt the vibes of Joni Mitchell there.
Waking up and having coffee in The Canyon is something I've always wanted to do.
This big boy is Eclipse. I ride him once a week, learning the forward riding system, that is the basis of hunter/jumper riding. I am learning true horsemanship from my new instructor, Stephanie. Just the other day Eclipse and I did a Flying Lead Change! It's beyond amazing what a rider and her horse can do together.
It's better than yoga.
For obvious reasons, I thought I'd like to read this novel. She's written some wonderful books.
However, in the first chapter of Riding Lessons, the woman jumps her horse, they crash, she breaks her neck and the horse dies. In the very first chapter!!! I seldom read fiction, but I thought I'd give it a go. I never finished it.
I returned the book to the library.
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Lucinda Williams. And this is her best CD.
I've not listened to anything else for a week now.
I discovered all kinds of animal tracks and scat last time I was at Red Feather.
I'm going to find out who's been visiting this spring!
Besides the usual Moose.
I often like to take a moment or two and remind myself of how valuable the agreements can be.
A certain sweet kitty wrapped herself up in that blanket.

And that, my friends, is what I've been up to lately.



  1. What a soul-filling trip to California! I love the stories from your mom and dad! Love the old photos and the sea treasures!

    And, by the way, I would have returned the book too.

    1. It was a special time. It always is. I'm so fortunate to have my folks.
      No wonder I mainly read nonfiction...gimme true stories and real adventures!
      I'm glad you liked the old photos.

  2. i love EVERYTHING about this post :: the trip photos, that lazy sea creature lying in the sun, the stones and shells....but most of all, i love the photo of your mum, knitting for you, smiling that smile of wisdom.


    1. You're right! She does have that wise glimmer in her eyes, doesn't she!
      She's amazing...her knitting, so effortlessly, so perfectly. You know.
      Thanks Bernard.

  3. Those are amazing photos of your folks, and amazing stories of their adventures. You are so much like them, Lynn. Love the new photos of Cali and your kitty burrito! My kitty, Spook, is pushing pressed leaves under the printer on my desk as I type.

    1. Diana, it was so fun to hear them tell the stories! What a memorable and sweet time we had.
      I'm like my mother in so many ways and very much like my dad! It's a blend of both I'm happy to be!
      Oh, those cats... :)

  4. Wonderful stories!!! Lovely Topanga Canyon! :)

    1. Thanks S!
      You'd love Topanga... Sigh...

  5. i love all of it!! your trip home to the coast sounds like everything you could have hoped for! your photos are beautiful, rich color and bright sunshine explode in each one. how wonderful for you that your parents told you stories that will live in your heart forever! aspen and haight-ashbury, minstrels, and roadsters without windshields-- you were certainly destined to be a free spirit! and what a lovely spirit you are! the night in Topanga Canyon sounds like paradise-- i just oohed and ahhed over those photos, that "pinch me!" feeling you must have had. the start of that book sounds like the start of the horse whisperer movie-- i could have used therapy after that. and eclipse!! a flying lead change! yes, yes, yes! i'll have to check out the lucinda williams cd-- i have most of them and especially love car wheels on a gravel road and essence. no moose scat around here, but lots of llama beans on the other side of the fence! and when my youngest sister asked me to speak at her wedding i spoke about the four agreements. i have pulled it out to read again. i do that with very few books. gosh-- this whole post was soul food for me!
    i'm back from california now, too, and i'll have to tell you about my whale watching adventure. we saw whales, alright, but i know now without a doubt that i am not seafaring material. i knew that from my childhood but thought i'd gotten over it. haha. in fairness, it was a choppy sea that day and by the end passengers were dropping like flies. i just beat them to it!
    we have a new (old) horse coming this week to live out her days on the fuzzy slippers farm. our friends are selling their farm in fort collins, and the herd remaining herd will be dispersed. dear muireann is probably 21 and they just want her to be able to live peacefully amongst her former herdmates. so be it. as soon as our current storm moves out and we dry a bit she will arrive. i'll have to tell you about how i will need to "cook" for her! ha!!
    love you, and look forward to seeing you sooon!!!

    1. Oh, I can't believe they're selling their farm! Where are they moving to?
      Good for you, taking muireann. Is she a finicky eater?! What, does she like her apples cut in fourths? Heehee.
      I love whales and I know you must have wanted to see one very badly to go out on the boat...but, if you got seasick, well, I know all too well what that feels like! I'm so sorry!
      Hearing both parents take turns telling these stories from long ago just filled my heart up. It was everything to me.
      We need to get together soon. Chad was just talking about that the other day. Now that it's almost summer, we will!
      Thanks so much Janet, for your enthusiasm. :)

  6. It's so good to see your folks doing well. Blessings upon them. Horse heaven at the sanctuary for sure. :) I too love Lucinda - it's been a while since I've listened to her. The funky cabin is a hoot! Sweet times dear Prairie Sister.

    1. I knew you'd be happy to hear about my folks. They are the best! I know how lucky I am.
      Lucindas cd is good. But, in all honesty, nothing compares to Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.
      This particular cd is very different from her other stuff. Jazzy, bluesy...haunting like.
      That cabin! Oh lord, that cabin! You would not have believed the decor! Gypsy, crystals, chiffon-scarves as curtains...odd...but good funky! :)