My wife Jan and I made a trip to California mid-December to see Lisa and Lil, our daughter and granddaughter. It was an early, wonderful Christmas for us. Lisa planned our whole week to perfection, a gift she has, understanding the most interesting and fun things for a family or a group and making it happen.
We spent the first few days in Sacramento for a perfect Christmas. Lisa had helped Lil write a letter for Santa and posted it into a tiny mailbox on the TV stand. Santa came while we were there and took it one night. “He’s sneaky!” Lil said. We had gifts around the Christmas tree and lots of playtime with Lil. She received a camping set from her Aunt Sara and “Gunckle” and we spent a lot of time pretend camping with visits from her stuffed animals, cooking meals in the plastic campfire, flicking plastic bugs, the camp set had everything! Jan read Lil some new books including one about a crayons revolt that had them both laughing – belly laughs! Lil received lots of gifts including a baby doll with lots of clothes and a basket that Great Grandma Phillips, my mom, gave Lisa when she was a child. A family heirloom.
Lisa helping Lil with the pajamas on her baby doll.
For part two of our trip we spent three nights at an airbnb in Glen Ellen, a small burg just north of Sonoma, and took day trips to the Jack London Museum and a Railroad fun park. The museum was really something. I knew a little about Jack London and have read a couple of his books, Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, famous books, but didn’t know anything about his life. He wrote over a hundred books and they had first editions behind a glass case. And his whole life story from childhood to his death. There’s a grave marker on the site along with a home he built (which is now in ruins). I felt like I knew him by the time I reached his gravesite. Quite a remarkable man.
Thank you Lisa, for thinking of this! You knew I’d find it fascinating.
The Railroad fun park was a blast. We all took the train ride around the park which included a stop at a kid-size town with a chapel, a jail, a store and other basically kid-size buildings with fun things inside. On the spot Lil joined in play with the kids from another family running from building to building. She’s so well adjusted and social for a three year old. Good job mom! Lisa and Lil went on other rides including a carousel, a small Ferris wheel, an airplane ride, and finally some whirly thing with a strange name.
Back at the airbnb the girls used the hot tub (not my cup of tea) which gave me a chance to catch up on some reading. Lisa and Lil gave me an amazing book about the Rolling Stones for Christmas. There’s an analysis of every song starting back in the blues years up through rock and roll. It says who played what instrument and even points out wrong notes in songs. As a musician I am not alone! This should be it’s own post.
I knew the week trip would go by in a fast blur and sure enough suddenly we were at the airport and heading back to Michigan. I would have loved to stay out in California with them.
Coming soon: Trout fishing stories even if I have to make them up.