Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Once upon a time in Ben Lomond

Good day, and once upon a time, long, long, ago there was a house in the mountains..........

Summertime in the late 50's and early 60's, and Steve and I would be driven by Papa. He picked us up at 1499 San Jose Ave., and from 741 Cottonwood, and we would be whisked away to Ben Lomond, Ca., and then head up Alba Road. It was a magic place that is still there but I am not the same, and someone else owns the land, and I am sure the old house is gone and a modern house has taken it's place. It's more comfortable now, and the furniture is newer, and the appliances work, all the time!

It was Nana, back in the 60's she was only about seventy years old, and she talked a lot and she cooked a lot, and we visited. She'd talk about New York City, and she talked about Baden Street in San Francisco where they lived in a three story house on a hill that overlooked the city. Her children lived there as did her retired husband, formerly a Sergeant with the New York PD, and formerly a postal employee in San Francisco. My father grew up there, and he'd spend the summers at the property in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Steve and I swam in the old pool, and we hiked up the hill, and up to the first, and the second spring. There were pipes that went from both springs to the house, and the pool, and we drank and swam in that clear, fresh, cold water. We'd play catch with the baseball, and throw the football around. Dad would cook hamburgers, and Nana would make spaghetti at night, and there were afternoon naps, during the heat of the day. At night there was TV, and the reception was terrible, and it was still wonderful to watch the same shows we saw at home in the "big city". Going to bed on the porch, that faced down the mountain, and had worn out screens that kept no bug outside but welcomed them in-but the air was so fresh! I remember waking up in the morning and watching the fog recede down the hill; it seemed to walk slowly, and then the morning light would shine on the redwoods, and the bushes, and we'd hear the dogs that lived up and down that hill. It got so dark, when we slept in Dad's room, the house would be so incredibly black and putting one's hand in front of your face was a useless practice; we did it to prove to ourselves that it was the blackest place on earth (it really wasn't; once I was in the Oregon Caves, and when they turned out those lights now that was black). It was magic, it was our land, and it was our woods, and it was our grandmother and father that made the magic, and of course that old pool. The rocks would cut into your feet if you weren't careful of the loose pieces, and if you dragged your foot it would happen only once, and the lesson was learned.

We stayed up very late one night, or it seemed that way to me. We laid down on the roof, and looked up at the sky. There was no light from neighbors, and the ranch house lights were off, and there were uncountable stars that hung in the air and as I'd stare into one area for a long time there would come the occasional "shooting star", and the night had become so unique, and we had a telescope. Dad got it for Steve, my brother, the budding scientist. I looked through it at the moon, and the stars, and thought I was very blessed to take part in the discovery, and of course, I was. We played "hearts" a card game and we would fight to be the winner, and most of the time the older and perhaps luckier, or maybe more skilled Steve and dad would treat me like the black sheep and destroy me! Perhaps there is still a little hurt feelings going on, and yet, yes I think they actually cheated me, and laughed full throated at my discomfort.

Today I watched baseball, golf, did dishes, and spent time with my family. We, Lynnette and Jennifer and Liz, all went to the ranch many years ago, and Lynnette remembers the ranch and Nana, and we occasionally discuss the old days. Today I spend time with this woman and these people and I am happy. Yesterday was remarkable and today seems like a dream. Walking hand in hand through life with people that only make you happy, not a bad thing to happen to somebody who has walked a "fer piece" and seen a few things. I'm having more fun today then back then. But some memories only cause me to smile. The bruises, and scratches and hurt feelings aren't remembered. Just the magic remains, and the memory of a younger man who loved his Dad, and his brother, and still does today.

Have fun, and always remember tomorrow is a bright thing, and there can be magic even in the future.

Love, and hugs,

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