January 16, 2008

Surprise Visit Home

It was a great idea, a perfect idea. My mom, I was thinking, was convinced I was a terrible son because I didn't go to visit her during Christmas. The reasons were valid - Megan was heading to El Salvador and we had just gotten back from my defense in New Orleans, our credit card bill was piling up, and a myriad of other reasons. My mom was understanding, but you could hear the disappointment dripping out of her voice each time we talked. Then, I saw a deal come up at Southwest Airlines for mid-January. I could take the trip while Megan was in El Salvador, and spend time with her. So I booked the ticket and planned to surprise her. My sister, who lives with my mom, was in on the plan.

Last Tuesday, January 8th, I flew out. I told my mom that I was going to be working and otherwise unavailable the whole day until later and that I would call her in the evening. In reality, I flew into Sacramento, rented a car (they gave me a Prius - how about that?) and drove the four hours to my hometown. I arrived at around 8:30 p.m. I silently drove the car up the driveway (and because Priuses are really completely silent on electric power at slow speeds, it was a bonus!), and parked by the garage. I called my mom on the phone, standing just outside her door, and she thought I was in Albuquerque. She happily chatted for a minute or two, while my sister ushered me in. I got inside where she was sitting in her chair watching television with her back to me while talking to the son she thought was in New Mexico. At an opportune point in the conversation, I interjected a "is that so?" She turned her head to the side, telling me "just a minute, someone's here." She looked but by that time, I had moved around to the other side. "Pauline, is someone here?" she asked my sister. Pauline said, "you're hearing things, woman." Or something to that effect. When she turned back around, I was standing in front of her.

My mom's eyes looked at me uncomprehendingly, then got a little bit of an annoyed wrinkle around her eyes, as if to say "I'm talking to you on the phone, you are not in front of me." Perhaps she thought she was having an hallucination. I think she stayed in shock the rest of the evening, as she didn't look at me much, mumbled something about giving her a heart attack, and instead of conversing with me much read the supermarket ads. But, I have to say, the visit was probably one of the best home I've had in a long time...very relaxing and my mom was more than happy after her initial shock wore off to make me feel welcome, fed and rested. My sister was filled with an endless amount of things to do, and we took our cameras and went traipsing about. You can see more pictures of our adventures that she has posted on her MySpace blog by clicking here. About the only downside of the trip was that the whole time I was there the weather was foggy, cloudy, or rainy, except for the glorious blue sky that greeted me on the day I had to leave. And I didn't get much sleep the last night because the dog had a glorious fit of diarrhea that made him need to get up and get outside every two hours because he ate some bad thing outside. But, we've all had that happen at one time or another, haven't we?

The above photo was taken at Camp 20. My mom was literally raised in the woods. Her father was a logger, and she grew up in lumber camps far from civilization. We made a trip out to where she lived until moving into town when she started high school. We were really seeking sun because we hadn't seen it for days at the coast.

This is the school she attended. It really is a little red schoolhouse! She was in charge of getting up, opening the building and starting the fire in the winter. They actually moved the building on skids when they moved the logging camp using a "donkey" machine to pull it.

An enormous wave rolls in on a cloudy day in Fort Bragg.

A harbor seal pokes its head out of the frothy surf to see what I'm up to. In Irish legend, some seals are Selkies, and can take human female form, actually, beautiful human female form, and seduce men. I can see why...on land they are pretty bloblike, but in water they are sleek, gorgeous, and curious. Once, one made a soft, womanly sounding "hoo" at me. A friend of mine told me that one should feel honored when an animal chooses to acknowledge them and communicate. I have felt very touched by these seemingly gentle creatures since, and make sure I go to see them and honor them in turn whenever I go to my hometown.

This tree on the property adjoining ours looks like a gnarly hand waiting snatch at whatever comes within its clutching reach.

The trees did trap this old car, which I discovered while out "boondoggling," as my sister Pauline colorfully puts it, which is, to say, I was traipsing about the woods and trespassing on people's property. I can't think of a more beautiful graveyard. Just cover me with leaves and let me decay!

My youngest sister, Pauline, up the trail on the edge of the bluff, "boondoggling."

Pauline serenely looks out over the Pacific ocean bluffs at Little River, California, quietly emulating the heron sitting on the rock in the distance. See how Buddha-like she is.


Blogger typingelbow said...

what a wonderful visit! i'm so glad you got to go, dr. mike!

11:45 AM  
Blogger franswazz said...

Your pictures are stunning......but I must add you had good material to start with.....
Just breathtaking.
And Mom is sweet!
My favorite picture is the little red schoolhouse...or the neighbor's tree, can't make up my mind..
Keep on shooting!

4:01 PM  
Blogger TV Geek Girl said...

I can't believe you didn't post your best and my favorite of your pictures!!! "Pinching Pt. Cabrillo".

7:30 PM  
Blogger franswazz said...

Mike, I forgot...I just adore the almost buried car! It feels mysterious, a bit eerie. A story could be started here ....or ended?

9:26 AM  

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