Living here at Spring Lake Village often reminds me of what it must be like in Shangdi La. It’s a serene life. Residents stroll around smiling and greeting one another. The 10 days I was away reminded me of the contrasts between life in the main stream and life in our quiet back water.
I could have stayed here at SLV for the lavish 4th of July Barbecue. I could have met friends in The Dell, a picnic spot down by the creek, to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday. But I didn’t. On Thursday, June 26, I gassed up the car and headed south toward Aptos to spend a few days with son Matt, Joan, and their James.
The car ran a little rough, but after all, it’s 15 years old. I puttered along as it continued to lose power so by the time I was at Park Presidio and Geary, in San Francisco, I pulled over and called AAA. The tow truck driver hoisted the car onto a flatbed truck and I climbed up into the cab to ride to son John and Holly’s in Los Altos, an hour south.
How often do you get an opportunity to ride up high in a truck? I loved it up there! I could see forever. I liked to talk with the driver: we solved the immigration problem, we talked about his cousin who knows Carlos Santana, we talked about his taking a class to earn a certificate to drive an oil truck. I told him about my brother who left a University job because all he really wanted to do was to drive an oil truck.
In Los Altos, Holly lent me her car and John said he’d take mine to a mechanic. I launched out into four o’clock traffic and arrived in Aptos in time for dinner. At the table I learned that the trip to England to stay with a “face-book friend” had, much to my relief, been canceled. James’ car had blown up and the money saved for the trip bought a replacement. A trip to Bend, Oregon, to visit school friends, was in the planning stages. Whew!
Each time I return to Santa Cruz County, I go to lunch with friends, stop in at Crawford’s Antiques to find a treasure, and walk down to Marianne’s Ice Cream for a cone. Also this time Matt, Joan, and I drove out to Gizdich’s Farm for frozen raspberries so we could make jam. And we brought home a marionberry pie. Yum!
After a few days, I returned to Los Altos to spend time with John and Holly. Two of their 20-something daughters were there. One had broken up with her beloved and was crying. John and Holly were camping in their house, using the laundry room as a kitchen, since their real kitchen was populated with workmen finishing an extensive remodel. The other daughter, at dinner one night, took my hand and asked, “Gran, what are you doing February first?” I answered, “I don’t even have a calendar that goes that far! What are you doing February first?” She lit up and announced, “I’m having a baby!” Tears squirted out all around the table.
The fetus is named Sparky. We all toasted Sparky.
And just then the telephone rang and it was Sparky’s father, calling from Tanzania where he is on rotation from UCSF Medical Center. He reported on the state of surgery there and we reported on the progress of life without a kitchen.
With all that excitement and drama whirling around me, I, on July 7th, got in my car and drove north. Up a small hill not even six miles from Los Altos, the car slowed down and sputtered. I called John. He said, “Get in the right hand lane and come back.” I did.
I’d had it. When John asked what I wanted to do, I said, “I want to lie down here on your sofa and not even think about it. I’m going to think about Sparky.” He returned to his desk and in a little while came back to sit down with me. I didn’t know if I wanted to buy a new car, just hang a FREE sign on mine and leave it at the curb at their house and rent a car, or what. Finally we decided that I’d call AAA and ride up in the cab again (oh, boy!) for the 93-mile trip back to Santa Rosa.. Good thing I have 100-mile towing service.
We took the car to the A+ Automotive Service, the AAA truck left, and I sat down in the waiting room to read People magazine. After a while, Dave-the-Owner/Mechanic drove me home, at the same time road-testing the car. At Spring Lake Village, he carried in my luggage and the small piece of furniture I’d found at Crawford’s and promised to call me Monday.
I didn’t care. All I wanted was to be back in quiet, serene Spring Lake Village. It had been an eventful time with the families and it was good to be home.
PS. It was the catalytic converter that needed to be replaced. I thought of the huffing and puffing I do when walking up a hill and wondered if I could get a catalytic converter for my body.