Day 10 of our journey finds us on the family ranch in Bakersfield, Calif. This is the place where my mother grew up, and I spent many happy summers as a child. It’s right down the road from Pumpkin Center. It’s the boonies. But I love it. We are staying at the house of my aunt and uncle, whom we haven’t seen in more than 20 years. My kids have never met them. My aunt was my mom’s only sister.
We’re having a fun time catching up and chatting. My great aunt, known as Zizi, is here also. She lives on the same property in her own little house. She’s 94. We haven’t seen her since Morgan was a baby. Seeing this family was the impetus for this trip that has now morphed into this incredible journey. It’s possible to go home again. But “home” is definitely not the same. We’re grateful for this chance.
We are also grateful for the chance to stay with friends in Arizona and Southern California, visit the San Diego Zoo and show our kids what So. Cal beaches are like. We visited Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and we saw more fancy sports cars in two days than we have in our entire experience in Florida. (At last count, I think it was 3 Lamborghinis, 3 Ferraris and at least a half dozen Porsches. The boys were highly impressed.) In Huntington Beach, we had breakfast with my friend Steve, with whom I went through grade school, junior high school and high school. We got to meet his wife and one of his kids. They took us to Ruby’s Diner on the pier. It was a fun time. This pelican was just standing around on the pier. It was odd behavior. Then we saw a woman throw him some fish. He’s not so dumb after all.
So, just as much fun for me as seeing the sites of the States has been seeing friends we very rarely, if ever, get to see. And there’s still more to come! The big wedding is in just 9 days, and we’ll be making our way up to Washington in about 5 more days. Meanwhile, we enjoy the company of my aunt, who reminds me so much of my mom, and my uncle, who now has a new audience in my kids for all his bad puns.
Thankful today for:
447. building relationships
448. the smell of pies in the oven
449. more than 2 nights in the same bed
450. the smoothness of the journey so far
451. being able to show my kids stuff that was important to me in the past
452. my kids being able to know their California relatives
453. a cooler day in a hot place
454. beautiful cotton plants growing in the fields outside the house
455. lots of fun things to look at in my aunt’s house
456. finding more statehood quarters that we need for our collection
457. rocking chairs
458. our tax refund