Tag Archive | Bay Area

Chapter 11—Door

Welcome to chapter 11! If you need to, you can start at chapter 1 by clicking here. Remember this is a free write, so no heavy editing has been done. If you find mistakes, feel free to leave a comment. If you’re enjoying the story, share it with others and leave me a comment. If you have a critique, leave me a comment!

Chapter 11



It had been six years since Erin had started working at the bagel shop owned by her Uncle Harry. She started at the counter when she was a sophomore in high school. Harry had made her manager before she graduated from Cal with her business degree with the intention of giving the store to her upon his demise. Which didn’t look like it would be anytime soon. For which Erin was eternally grateful.

As she walked in the door with just seconds to spare before the clock chimed 10, Erin breathed deeply, enjoying the yeasty smell of the baked goodies and the 60s vibe Harry carried out so well.

There were several people in line at the counter, so Erin hurried to drop her bag off in her office and then washed her hands at the small sink behind the counter before moving to help Gretchen, the middle-aged grandma who worked 15 hours a week supplementing her husband’s income so she could feed her crafting addiction. Erin was pretty sure Gretchen alone kept the local hobby store in business. She was a sweet woman who loved on everyone who came in and was completely trustworthy. Erin loved her like an aunt.

After the line died down, Erin grabbed herself a cup of coffee and went in search of Harry and found him in the kitchen, sitting on a stool, squinting at the computer screen in front of him. She reached around to give him a one-armed hug. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Hey, girlie!” her uncle greeted her heartily. “Did you know that we’re coming up on our 30th anniversary? I’m looking on Pinterest for ideas of what to do to celebrate.”

Erin chuckled and pulled up another stool to sit beside her gray-haired uncle. “It makes me incredibly happy to see you searching Pinterest,” she quipped. “It just does so much for your persona.”

Harry gave her a sidelong glance. “Don’t get sassy with me, you.” Harry had never married and had no children, so Erin, Sarah and Tyler were his surrogates. He loved them immensely and was as heart-broken as Gordon was about the choices Sarah was making now that she was on her own at college. And he lavished gifts on Tyler’s baby boy, Blake, like any enamored grandpa.

Erin sat watching for a minute before she ventured, “Did you see Hazel this morning, Uncle Harry?”

“No,” he answered distractedly, “But I haven’t been up front much, so she could have come in without me seeing her.”

“I’ll go ask Gretchen,” Erin said, getting up from her chair and taking her mug to the big industrial sink and rinsing it out. “Can I get you anything?”

“Nah, I’m good, girl. See if you can get those invoices from Hiller Foods figured out for me. I think there’s something wrong with last week’s total.” Harry hadn’t taken his eyes off the screen as he answered.

Erin had one hand on the swinging door when the business card in her pocket came to her mind. “Hey, Harry,” she said. “You ever heard of Green Glass Vineyard and Winery?”

“Sure, it’s been around forever,” Harry responded, taking off his glasses to glance at Erin across the room. “Gordy and I used to go up there every now and then before he and your mom got married. Nice place. Why you ask? Looking for a nice getaway for you and Cory?” He grinned and waggled his eyebrows.

Not wanting Harry to know that she had been snooping around Hazel’s house on her own, Erin simply said, “Just curious. Don’t stare at that computer too long. It’s bad for your brain.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Harry said as Erin pushed through the door.

Gretchen was refilling the clear glass case with fresh bagels when Erin went back behind the counter. “Hey, Gretch. Seen any sign of Hazel this morning?”

Straightening up and pushing her light brown hair behind her ear, Gretchen thought for a minute before replying. “I don’t think so, kiddo. Why?”

Erin felt her stomach knot in concern. Missing one day in the Village was one thing, but to miss two? Something was definitely wrong. “This is the second day in a row she hasn’t been in,” Erin answered. “She left me a very strange voicemail overnight two days ago, and then hasn’t been around since. I’m worried about her.”

“That is unusual,” Gretchen agreed. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. What does Scott think?”

“He went to her house after he got off yesterday. Said it didn’t appear her car was there. He figured she just went somewhere. “ Erin moved to the dining area and picked up the dishes people had piled by the trash cans. “Have you ever known Hazel to take a trip anywhere in the 20 years since Bernie and Bryan died?”

Gretchen shrugged. “Can’t say that I have, but there’s a first time for everything.”

Ugh, thought Erin. Why is nobody taking this seriously?

After taking the dishes to the kitchen sink, Erin headed to her office. Charlie, the young college student they hired to help with keeping the kitchen clean would be in before noon to wash up and then tend to keeping the dining area clean through the rest of the day. Whenever needed, Harry would see to baking fresh bagels from the trays prepared by Barry and Bonnie that morning and kept in the walk-in refrigerator.

As she sat, she pulled out the Green Glass Winery business card and studied it. The white card stock was only barely discolored, telling her that it hadn’t been out in the elements very long. It was a little water damaged, which would stand to reason for something outside in the Bay Area fog. Setting it down on her desk, she turned on her desktop computer and waited for it to boot up. She didn’t exactly know what she was looking for, but greenglasswinery.com seemed a good place to start.



Chapter 10—How

Are you as curious as I am yet about how this is all going to turn out? Thanks for coming back for more. Remember that I’m still just free writing, not editing for anything major, and welcome your critique and comments! If you’re new to the story, click here to start at the beginning. Enjoy the next couple of chapters!

Chapter 10


Waking up late was a luxury Erin didn’t usually have. But Uncle Harry had wanted to open the shop today because he had some ideas he wanted to run by Barry and Bonnie before customers started showing up. So she pulled on her trusty turquoise sweats and running shoes and headed out the door for a much-needed run to try to clear her head. She hadn’t slept well after initially falling asleep quickly, her dreams filled with visions of Hazel lying injured in a ditch somewhere and car crashes caused by unknown assailants. She really needed to get her act together.

Running in the hills was always an adventure. Sometimes the fog could be so thick you could barely see in front of you. Today, the mist was light as the sun, already gaining altitude in the sky, burned off the wispy tendrils. She was due in the shop by 10, so she chose her longer route, enjoying the quiet the hills and canyons brought.

Her feet automatically lead her to Canyon Rd., the site of the fateful accident involving Hazel’s husband, Bernie, and their 5-year-old son, Bryan. Hazel and Bernie had been married 15 years before they were able to have Bryan, and they adored the curly headed boy. The night they died, Bernie and Bryan were headed home from a T-ball practice at the Canyon Park.

Into the rhythm of her run now, Erin didn’t even have to think about where she was going, so she just let her mind continue down the path it was taking on its own. If she remembered what her parents had told her when she asked about Hazel when she would see her alone in the Village, Bernie had worked for the Federal Government. Systems analyst or something like that. Pretty low key, but a good job. Nothing nefarious that she knew of. Of course, she was only two when the accident happened. Hard to believe it had been twenty years.

Which brought her back to the question, how is it possible that Hazel had turned up something proving the accident wasn’t all that it seemed? Like a dog gnawing on a bone, Erin could not let go of this mystery. Turning toward home, she determined to head back to Hazel’s house now that it was light, and do a bit more thorough of a search.


After a warm shower and a quick cup of coffee—she’d grab a bagel at the shop when she got there—Erin filled Einstein’s bowls, gave him a kiss on the head, and headed to her Bug. It would take her just a few minutes to get to Hazel’s, but she knew she didn’t have much time before she needed to show up at work or Harry would have Scott putting out an APB on her. Leftover hippy that he was, he was still over protective of both his nieces. Erin’s sister, Sarah, was at school in San Diego, and her older brother, Tyler, was married with a baby and seemed to be doing well taking care of his family, so Erin usually got the brunt of his watchfulness.

As she again pulled into Hazel’s driveway, Erin was struck by the rundown look of the place. It hadn’t seemed so pitiful in the dark. But to see it in full daylight brought a lump to Erin’s throat. Why did Hazel refuse all offers of help? This house could be beautiful if it was taken care of. The view of the Bay would be stunning if the trees were trimmed. Even with the city ordinance requiring views to be conserved, Hazel had somehow slipped under the radar.

She slowly got out of the Bug and headed toward the garage that was straight in front of her. Most people used their garages around the hills, because it was almost impossible for emergency vehicles to get by if there were cars on the edges of the road. Hazel’s garage was typical for the neighborhood: two-car, heavy wooden door drawn up manually with the aid of a large spring, door out back, windows on both sides. Erin approached the door but hesitated to try to open it. She really didn’t have a right to enter Hazel’s property.

But how was she going to be able to check thoroughly if she couldn’t go in? She went around the side window, but it was so covered in grime that she couldn’t see a thing in the dark interior. She tried rubbing her hand through the dirt, but it only made it worse. She climbed through the weeds and overgrown bushes to the other side, scaring a pair of rabbits in the process, but encountered the same grime on that side as well.

Heaving a deep sigh, Erin stood with her hands on her hips, trying to decide what she should do. She glanced at her watch and saw that she only had 15 minutes to get to work, so she decided to head back to her car. Looking down to make sure she didn’t encounter those rabbits again, Erin slowed as something on the ground caught her eye. As she got closer, she saw that it was a small business card, dirty and a little damp, but clearly legible. It said, “Green Glass Vineyard and Winery. Serving Napa Valley’s Finest Wines for more than 150 years. Grant Frasier, manager. 707-555-3487.”

Obviously the card hadn’t been there a long time, but by now Erin was pushing the window on getting to the shop on time, so she tucked the card in the pocket of her jeans, and hurried to her car to start the short trip down the hill to the Village and Be My Bagel.



Saying Goodbye

Day 17 of our trip finds us in one of our main destinations: Kirkland, Washington. It’s here that my niece Hannah will be getting married in two days. We stayed overnight with friends in Medford, Ore., and saw another old friend the next morning. Whereas seeing friends and family has been fun, fact is, I may not ever see some of these people again. My 94-year-old aunt; my 92-year-old prayer warrior friend. The fleetness of life has hit me more in the past couple of weeks than it has in a long time.

When my mom died 5 years ago, and we sold the house where we had grown up (my dad had preceded her in death 16 months before), I

I keep this close to me as it is the image on my Discover card.

knew going back to the Bay Area would never be the same. But when we drove through the other night without stopping to see the place, I felt sad. I really can’t go home again; my home is no longer there. My home was with me in the car that night in the form of my husband and my three kids. The place doesn’t matter. As we drove on, I said goodbye. I won’t refer to California as my home anymore.

Driving up to the Pacific Northwest is a joy. As we drove through lush green valleys in Oregon, I thought to myself, I could live here. Horse farms, flowing rivers, mountains on every side. It was so peaceful. If it was 78 degrees year round, I’d seriously consider a move.

We’ve passed the halfway point mileage-wise and time-wise. After the big wedding on Saturday, we will relax on Sunday and then have fun rooting against the Yankees at Safeco Field on Monday. Then, we hit the road again, this time to Idaho to visit more friends. After that, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.

We are blessed.

Thankful today for:

471. open doors on a summer day

472. safe travels

473. the smell of coffee

474. the ability to help

475. hot tubs

476. varying terrain

477. birthday celebrations

478. wedding preparations

479. technology that allows far-away people to stay in touch