Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

On the Road Again

     Remember the old story about Little Red Riding Hood?  Little Red walked through the forest to visit her grandmother.  Gayle and I emerge from the forest to visit our grandkids.  Seems a little backward, but all of our kids work and even a couple of grandkids work, and our mountain retreat is 6 or 7 hours away.  Consequently, it’s too far for a weekend visit for our kids.

            So Gayle and I pack the car and brace our nervous system for our entrance into the frenetic Bay Area.  Classical music and the drive through the Feather River canyon is the lull before the storm.  There’s a lot to do and many folks to visit within a few days.  Prep time.

            We hit the checkered flag and the dog-friendly hotel in Los Gatos in the afternoon, after the NASCAR  race track on Highway 17, where you evidently save fuel by staying in the draft of the BMW ahead of you.

            Gayle went off to her daughter Carrie’s for dinner and I went for Chinese food with my old friend Al Borges.  Al is one of the most gifted musicians I’ve known.  He and I played in clubs up and down northern California, back in the day. 

            Normally, a visit to Los Gatos wouldn’t be complete without visiting my life-long pal Dick Whitaker, but his recent death leaves a sad space in my schedule.

            The next day was taken up by the graduation of our grandson Luke Brunner from Los Gatos High School - the same school Gayle and I graduated from back when land first appeared after Noah’s flood.  He’s the third grandkid to graduate from L.G. High.

            It was a record-breaking turnout on a record-breaking heat wave and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in the sun and listen to speeches. I planned my escape.

            Gayle went to the ceremony and I took Dakota and visited my friend and former coach, Pietro (Pete) Denevi.  Pete is the author of the book, “Pietro,” in addition to being the best athlete to ever attend Los Gatos High. He’s now 86 years old and looks 60.

            At 8:30 we had dinner for Luke and our family of eleven at Palacio Restaurant in Los Gatos.  New comers to Los Gatos don’t know that the restaurant where they enjoy their steak was originally a mortuary. 

            The next morning we visited Frank and Ruth Nelson, old friends and classmates, but left at noon to meet with my two daughters and their families for a barbeque.  We had the “maturity” to sit while our grandkids never stopped moving.  My daughters are great cooks and it was good to let their husbands do all the work.  It’s part of the senior discount program.

            We headed to San Mateo after dinner to meet with Gayle’s son, who was celebrating his 50th birthday.  We couldn’t find a parking place at the restaurant, so Gayle could only run into the restaurant to greet Greg and the group while I drove around and hid in “no parking” zones until she came out.  Very sad for Gayle and her son, but we had too much packed into one day and got there late.  Greg and Teri came out to the car, I congratulated him, and we drove off.

            We escaped the congestion in San Mateo and headed for Discovery Bay, where several friends awaited our miraculous appearance.  Obviously drained, we spent the evening with our good friends Jay and Carla Cross (no relation to Gayle).  Jay anticipated our arrival and had a gin and tonic ready for me.  He knew I’d need it.

            The next day we had lunch with Dwight and Lynnette Klassen, life-long friends and I met Dwight later that day for a beer. Then came the finale. 

            Four old friends had a fantastic dinner hosted by Jay and Carla, with Gene and Dannette Kreps and two tired mountain people.  This was a stimulating experience with great conversations among the six of us.  Jay is a retired steel company executive, Carla is convention speaker and member of Mensa, Gene is a brain surgeon and is on the Executive Committee of the Republican Party.  His wife, Dannette, is a brainy woman and a nurse and when you toss in my intelligent wife, the conversations were fun and enlightening. 

            Fortunately we were all on the same team in terms of religion and politics, although Gene is a solid Republican and I’m more of a “Conservative/Libertarian” combination.  But there wasn’t a single issue that he and I didn’t agree on, which was interesting.

            The next morning was involved in moving furniture, hanging pictures, and other “decorative” stuff, engineered by Gayle and Carla.  Finally we packed the car and drove the many hours back to Greenhorn Ranch. 

            All of the above is just typical of every trip we make to see our kids and friends. I guess I wonder if we’re nuts.  Is this type of behavior normal for grandparents in today’s world?  Are there too many cars and too many people back in “civilization” or have I lived in the mountains too long?  Today is my first morning back.  I just took my dog Dakota for a hike in the mountains and it felt reeeeeal good.  


  1. It just depends on which world you believe is closer to reality. It's all in the mind, anyway -- isn't it?

    1. I guess if it's all in the mind, that nullifies "reality."

      But it was a hectic, but very rewarding trip...at least it seems to be "reality" in my mind.

  2. I'm not sure there's a "normal" for grandparents anymore. My grandson asked me... "Are you a Princess?" Anyway, glad you survived it, and hoping to see you this weekend when we come up!

    1. Your grandson may be right with that question to you. I just hope none of my grandkids ask me that question. Look forward to seeing you guys this weekend.

  3. Well Ralph The best quote is still the one from Will Rogers, “Always drink upstream from the herd.”

    If you use this wisdom all will be well!

    1. Malcolm -
      Having visited us in the Sierra, you know that we actually live upstream from the herd.