We had a friend who said she was sad when we moved from New Jersey because “now we will gradually lose touch and never hear from each other again.” It became a self-fulfilling prophecy because, although we tried to stay in touch, she never did.
On the other hand, we also knew Linda and Neville in New Jersey shortly before they moved to California. And we stayed in touch, if only by Christmas card at times, even after Neville passed on. Linda married Dave, a fellow who had an interesting career as a fireman fighting forest fires including a stint as a smokejumper. Linda and Dave had visited us several times, and now we returned the favor (perhaps a dubious favor for them) by visiting them in Paradise. Dave drove us by several defunct gold boom towns like Oregon City, across Table Mountain, and into Oroville (oro is gold in Spanish) for dinner.
We drove from Paradise (don’t ask) back across the Sacramento Valley. Once again we saw the huge rice fields, some yet to be planted, some flooded, some with new shoots and some golden and ready for harvest. This time, someone explained to us that the groves we were seeing were mostly walnut, almond, and olives with a few fruit orchards like peaches.
The next night, we had dinner with Hershey classmate Bob and his wife Jan at their exceptionally beautiful home in Windsor. As is often the case, when seeing Dee earlier in the trip and Bob this time, I’d wished we had known each other better when we were younger. Bob has had an interesting career and now has a company that provides packaging solutions to the wine, seafood, poultry and agriculture industries.
On the next day, we did maintenance chores such as laundry and fueling the car. While still planning this long cross country trip, people warned us gasoline would soon reach five dollars a gallon. Rule four: choose to be unafraid; as friend Qua Quo (his real name) quotes, “worry does not solve tomorrow’s problems, it just steals today’s peace of mind.” For the most part, as we crossed the country, prices were much lower than the $3.94 at home. It hit $4.19 in Carson City and has generally been that or higher in California. So far, the highest we have paid is $4.39 although we have passed stations advertising $4.79. Recent newspapers say we can expect prices to come down.
We picked up Michelle at San Francisco International Airport and plan to head up the coast to see their cousins in Portland. My old Uncle Paul (“old” although probably younger at the time when he said it than I am now) said towards the end of his life, “in the end, it all comes down to family.” I suppose that is true. But you have to work to stay in touch with family too.